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Master Class with GM Swapnil Dhopade

by Sagar Shah - 14/11/2016

On 10th of November GM Swapnil Dhopade was in the ChessBase India studio in Mumbai. Along with IM Sagar Shah, the host of the show, he recorded a 34 minute video filled with instructional material of highest quality. The idea was to teach the viewers about how to handle initiative in chess. In this article we show you the best way in which you can use the video for your chess improvement and pose you with additional two positions which are sure to give you a hard time!

The annoying thing that every Indian chess player has to face every time he wishes to go outside India is the process of applying for the visa. Earlier you could just give your documents to your travel agents and they would do all of the work for you. However, recently in order to get your Schengen (European) Visa, you need to go to the Visa application centre and give your biometrics. This includes giving your fingerprints.


The sad news for the player travelling is that he has to spend time coming to Mumbai (or some other Metro city) for this work. The good news for chess fans is that he comes to the ChessBase India studio where he is able to record a video for all our viewers.


This is what happened on the 10th of November 2016. GM Swapnil Dhopade travelled down from Amravati to Mumbai for his work in the Spanish Embassy. He reached Mumbai at 7.30 a.m. and he had to leave for the Embassy at 9.30 a.m. This gave us two hours and we made sure to create some high quality content that would be of great use to all the readers.

The video teaser!

Initiative in chess

We discussed a lot of topics which Swapnil could make a video on. There was his humungous opening knowledge, especially with 1.d4 and the Caro Kann. There was also his excellent positional technique of converting advantages in the best possible manner. Finally we decided to go for a theme which is not at all easy for a student to understand - Initiative in chess. The main problem with Initiative is that it is ephemeral in nature. If you don't do something now, then it can just wither away. In such a situation you not only need an excellent feel of the dynamics in the position, but also an highly evolved intuition which tells you that this is the right moment to switch on the "high alert" mode.

How to work with this article?

We could have just put up the video here and you could have heard Swapnil speak. This in itself would be enough to give you some excellent knowledge of how to work with initiative in your games. However, the better way would definitely be to set up the positions given below and think on them for ten minutes each. Make sure you go in chronological order.

Ten minutes each

Position 1

Black is going to pay Be7 and 0-0 soon. It is White to play. How do you prevent this. Think deep.
Position 2

The stakes have risen tremendously. It's White to play. What would you do?

Position 3

How to finish Black off. Take five minutes for this one.
Now that you have worked so hard, you can sit back (don't lose your focus, though!) and enjoy the analysis and explanations of GM Swapnil Dhopade in the video below.
Make sure you maximize it to the full screen mode
For all those who would like to follow the game in PGN as well, here's the game to replay with all the colours and markings used in the video.

[Event "Abu Dhabi op 23rd"] [Site "Abu Dhabi"] [Date "2016.08.21"] [Round "1"] [White "Swapnil, S Dhopade"] [Black "Ashwath, R."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A07"] [WhiteElo "2500"] [BlackElo "2227"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "2016.08.21"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "UAE"] [SourceTitle "Mega2016 Update 48"] [Source "Chessbase"] [SourceDate "2016.09.02"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. c4 dxc4 (4... Bf5) (4... Bg4) 5. O-O (5. Qc2 b5) 5... b5 ({The main line is} 5... Nbd7 6. Qc2 Nb6 7. Na3 Be6 8. Ne5 Qd4 9. Nxc6 bxc6 10. Bxc6+) 6. a4 Bb7 7. d3 {[%csl Gc1][%cal Gc1f4,Gc4d3]} (7. b3) 7... cxd3 {[%csl Gc5][%cal Gb1d2,Gd2b3,Gb3a5]} (7... b4 8. dxc4 Qxd1 9. Rxd1 { [%cal Gb1d2,Gd2b3,Gb3a5,Gb3c5]}) 8. Ne5 {[%cal Ge5d3,Gd3c5,Ga4b5,Ge5f7]} Qc7 ( 8... dxe2 9. Qxe2 (9. Qxd8+ Kxd8 10. Re1 {[%cal Ga4b5,Ge5f7]})) (8... e6 9. Qxd3 Qxd3 10. Nxd3 {[%cal Gb1d2,Gd2b3,Gb3c5]} a6 11. Nd2 Nbd7 12. Nb3 {[%cal Gb3a5,Gc1e3,Gf1c1]}) 9. Nxd3 Nbd7 (9... e5 10. axb5 cxb5 11. Bxb7 Qxb7 12. Nxe5 ) 10. Nc3 {[%csl Gc3,Gd3,Gg1,Gg2][%cal Gc1e3]} (10. Bf4 e5) 10... e5 (10... b4 11. Nxb4) (10... a6 11. axb5 cxb5 12. Nxb5 axb5 13. Rxa8+ Bxa8 14. Bxa8 { [%csl Rb5,Re8]}) (10... bxa4 11. Qxa4 (11. Nxa4 {[%cal Ga4c5,Gd3c5,Gc1e3]})) 11. axb5 cxb5 12. Nxb5 Qb6 13. Bxb7 Qxb7 14. Qa4 e4 (14... Be7 15. Nxe5 Nxe5 16. Nd6+) 15. Ne5 (15. Bf4 exd3 16. Nc7+ Kd8 17. Nxa8 Qxa8) 15... Be7 16. Nxd7 Nxd7 17. Bg5 (17. Bf4 O-O 18. Nc7 Nc5) (17. Rd1 O-O {[%cal Ga4d7]}) 17... f6 ( 17... Bc5 18. b4) (17... Nc5 18. Nd6+ Kf8 19. Nxb7 Nxa4 20. Bxe7+ Kxe7 21. Rxa4 ) (17... Bxg5 18. Nd6+) 18. Rfc1 O-O (18... fxg5 19. Nc7+ Kd8 20. Nxa8 Qxa8 21. Rd1 Qb7 22. Qxa7 Qxa7 23. Rxa7) 19. Rc7 Qb6 20. Qc4+ (20. Be3 Qe6) (20. Rxd7 fxg5 21. Rxe7 Qxf2+ 22. Kh1 Qxe2 23. Qb3+ Kh8) 20... Kh8 21. Be3 {[%cal Gb6c6, Gc6d6,Gd6e6,Gb6a6,Gb6a5,Gb6c5,Gb6b8,Gc7d7]} Ne5 22. Qd5 Rad8 23. Qxe5 Qxe3 24. Qxe7 1-0

Swapnil went to the embassy at 9.30 a.m. However, the Spanish embassy has a new rule that the invitation from the organizers must be sent in Spanish and not in English (an important information for all of you applying for your schengen visa). It meant that Swapnil had to come back home and we began our chess session again. We solved two positions together and I ask you to have a crack at it.

White to play and mate in three

White to play and win. Believe me, this is going to give you sleepless nights!
Water, chocoloates and a never-say-die spirit -that's what you will require to crack the above position. Amruta and Swapnil are trying their best even at 1 a.m.!
The stories, solutions, and much more will follow in a separate article. Suffice it to say that you will miss out on all the fun if you don't have a sincere go at the above positions.

Interview with India's 40th GM (1/2)
Interview with India's 40th GM (2/2)
Three tips to improve your chess with GM Swapnil Dhopade
Malaysia: Swapnil Dhopade Champion, Aryan becomes GM no.45