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Welcome to my website, where you will find some of my better ("least bad") games along with my commentary, as well as advice on middlegame play and some of my monumental (some would say "bizarre") opening ideas.
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Selected Questions and Answers Modified 10/7/16
If you have a question about any of the content of this website, feel free to email me at email@example.com . I will attempt to personally reply to all email. However, I am best equipped to address questions about the content of this website. If you ask me some other question about opening theory, books, authors, or great players, my answer will probably be, "I don't know, but here's my guess..."
Glossary of Chess Terms Modified 2/4/14
Each of these chess terms appears in my books or articles. When a chess term or one of its forms (such as its plural) is part of a definition, it is in italics.
Just posted under Assorted Musings on this website: Selected Scenes in "The Longest Ride".
I've resumed accepting PayPal.
Just posted under Assorted Musings on this website: Charles Darwin's "Extraordinary Adaptation".
Just posted under Instruction on this website: Display Diagram-Pairs for Your Game Score.
Just posted under Instruction on this website: How to Play through a Game's Pawn Structures.
Audio of my song Lizard in My Living Room is now available.
Just posted under Instruction on this website: Part 3 of To Plan for the Middlegame, Read the Pawn Structure.
Audio of my "cover" song The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena) is now available at iTunes, amazon, and many other sources.
A review of my e-book Position and Pawn Tension in Chess has been posted at chesscafe.com .
Audio of my song Collapse Like a House of Cards is now available at iTunes, amazon, and many other sources.
David H. Levin
Personal Chess Milestones Updated 3/3/14
Some milestones in my chess career (using the term loosely, of course):
Professional Background Updated 3/3/14
I work primarily as a freelance editor/proofreader. My previous work experience was as a systems engineer in the telecommunications industry. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in computer science and mathematics from Rutgers College and a Master of Science in computer science / computer engineering from Stanford University.
Marchand-Levin, 1984 National Chess Congress
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Qa4+ Nc6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. e3 e6 6. Bxc4 Bd6 7. O-O O-O 8. Rd1
Black's upcoming ...e5 and the subsequent exchanges on that square will leave White with a kingside pawn majority. Hence this rook may belong at f1 to support the advance of White's e-pawn and f-pawn.
Erdai-Levin, 1992 National Chess Congress
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. a4 a6 8. Na3 Be6
8...Be7 is more accurate, to meet 9. Bg5 (intending to exchange Black's knight in order to gain hold of the d5-square) by 9...Nxe4! 10. Nxe4 (10. Bxe7 Nxc3 wins a pawn) 10...Bxg5 11. Nxd6+ Ke7 with equality.
Betaneli-Levin, 1993 U.S. Open
1. c4 e6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. O-O Nf6 6. d3 Be7 7. Na3 O-O 8. Nc2 e5 9. Ne3 d4 10. Nc2 Bf5
The game has transposed precisely into a Benoni with colors reversed, White having lost two moves with his Queen's knight and Black having expended an extra move with his e-pawn. My experience having indicated that the Benoni is difficult for Black to handle, I was happy to effectively have White in this opening.
Levin-Sztein, 1994 U.S. Amateur Team East
1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. Nc3 O-O 7. Qc2 d5 8. cxd5 exd5 9. O-O Ne4 10. Ne5 Nxc3
Supporting the knight by 10...f5 seems more logical. Though that move would be weakening, it's not clear how White could exploit it. 11. Bxe4 fxe4 (11...dxe4 12. Qb3+ Kh8 13. Nf7+ wins the exchange) 12. Qb3 leads nowhere after 12...Kh8, since after 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Nf7+ Rxf7 15. Qxf7, Black's two pieces outweigh White's rook and pawn.
Ivins-Levin, 1995 U.S. Amateur Team East
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. O-O Bg7 5. c3 Nf6 6. Re1 O-O 7. d4
I'd had this same position a couple months earlier in a game against Ron Burnett. There I had followed the standard line by playing 7...cxd4 8. cxd4 d5 9. e5 Ne4 10. Nc3 Nxc3 11. bxc3, but soon found trouble: 11...Na5 12. Ba3 a6 13. Bd3 Bd7 14. Ng5 Rc8 15. e6 Bxe6 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Rxe6 Rf7 (17...Rxc3 18. Bxe7 Qd7 19. Bxf8 Qxe6 20. Bb4 wins material) 18. Bc5 Qd7 19. Qe2 Rc6 20. Re1 Rxe6 21. Qxe6 Qxe6 22. Rxe6 Nc6 23. Be2 Rf6 24. Bg4 Kf7 25. Rxf6+ Bxf6 26. Bc8 Nd8 27. Bb6 e6 28. g3 Ke7 29. Bc7 Kf7 30. f4 Be7 31. Kf2 Bf6 32. Kf3 Be7 33. Ke3 Bf6 34. Kd3 Be7 35. Kc2 Ke8 36. Bxd8 Kxd8 37. Bxe6 Kc7 38. Bxd5 and White eventually won.
Levin-Koval, 1996 New Jersey Open
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. g3 c5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 cxd4 7. O-O
The d-pawn will not run away. White avoids the possibility of simplification by ...Bb4+. Not that this would have been bad for White, but it's one fewer thing to have to think about.
Levin-Della Sella, 1997 U.S. Amateur Team East
1. g3 g6 2. Bg2 Bg7 3. c4 d6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. d4 O-O 6. O-O Nc6 7. Nc3 Bd7 8. h3 Qc8 9. Kh2 e5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Nd5 Nxd5?
White's threat was 12. Nxe5 Nxd5 (12...Nxe5? 13. Ne7+ and 14. Nxc8) 13. Nxd7 winning a pawn. But 11...Rfe8 would have avoided the compromising of Black's queenside pawns which soon follows and has a lasting impact on the game.
Sevillano-Levin, 2000 Georgia Open Added 6/16/11
(In writing my comments on this game, I've assumed that the reader understands the ideas that are covered in my e-book Chess Strategy for Children.)
1. e4 c5 2. c3
King's Indian Defense, Classical
A line in the King's Indian Defense runs 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Nf3 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. Be3 Re8 9. d5 Nd4. (Note: this article actually analyzes 8. d5 Nd4.)
Alekhine Defense, 3.Nc3
1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. Nc3 e6 4. Nxd5 exd5 5. Qf3. Theory now gives the pedestrian 5...c6. Yet it may seem unjust for Black to be relegated to this move, given that his development has been no less rapid than White's. Indeed, Black has available a dynamic alternative. 5...Nc6
Alekhine Defense, Four Pawns Attack Updated 6/22/10
Note (added 6/22/10): Variation B has been extensively augmented to cover 11. cxb6, which soon leads to Black's sacrifice of a rook. (Note: this article concerns 1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. f4 g5.)
Alekhine Defense, Knight Chase Variation Added 9/25/10
Note: Some of the analysis presented here is adapted from a discussion at Pete Tamburro's "Openings for Amateurs" forum (which requires registration prior to one's initially viewing it). Here is the applicable thread.
Published Books, E-books, and Recorded Music
Bridge Puzzles for Children (paperback)
Bridge Puzzles for Children by David H. Levin, published in March 2004, is subtitled Simple Card Play Problems to Introduce Them to This Wonderful Game. Its intended audience is children ages 8 through 13 who have had little or no prior exposure to contract bridge. 128 pages, 5 3/8" x 8 1/2", list price of $14.95, ISBN 0-9638001-2-4.
Chess Puzzles for Children (paperback) No longer available
Chess Puzzles for Children by David H. Levin, published in 1994, is a book of simple chess teasers. Its intended audience is ages 8 through 13. 128 pages, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", list price of $11.95, ISBN 0-9638001-1-6.
Chess Strategy for Children (e-book)
Chess Strategy for Children by David H. Levin is an e-book in the form of a "pdf" file. It can be opened (read) using Adobe Reader or other freely available software. (Click here to display the cover page as a "jpg" image, or here to download a pdf file containing two sample pages from the text.)
Position and Pawn Tension in Chess (paperback)
Position and Pawn Tension in Chess by David H. Levin, published in 1993, is a middle game manual with a list price of $13.95. 128 pages, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", ISBN 0-9638001-0-8. (Note: there's a discounted price for "hurt" copies. For details, click on "Availability" under "Published Books Menu.")
Position and Pawn Tension in Chess (e-book)
This e-book is a faithful re-creation of my paperback Position and Pawn Tension in Chess (also given in the Published Books and E-books Menu). I have made changes only to correct spelling, grammar, diagrams, and a few other minor things.
I have made and released recordings of the following songs:
My e-books are available from the following:
How I Teach
My style of teaching is to very rarely give direct information to a student. Instead, I'll ask a series of impromptu questions which enables the student to make the discovery. This fosters a much greater depth of understanding than if the teacher were to simply recite a fact.
Cost: $25 per half-hour, with a half-hour minimum. Time beyond a half-hour would be charged in proportion, e.g., $37.50 for 45 minutes, $50 for one hour.
A Game with My Moves Explained Added 1/28/11
Most commentary on chess games (including my own commentary) seems to assume that the reader has considerable chess knowledge. This article, in contrast, attempts to provide explanations that might satisfy even readers who are fairly new to the game. I have assumed knowledge only of the rules, of each square's being designated by letter/number, of the relative value of the pieces, and of the need to generally not remain behind in material. Terms often found in chess writings are in italics and used in contexts that hopefully allow the reader to understand them.
One thing that helped me progress was to keep a running list of things I learned from my games. Rereading the list occasionally, helped these things sink in to where they'd start automatically popping into my head whenever they'd apply to a move or plan I was contemplating.
Display Diagram-Pairs for Your Game Score Added 10/24/14
I've created a tool that will take the input game score in portable game notation (PGN—a form of Algebraic Notation that omits the square where the chessman came from) and produce diagram-pairs as suggested in my article How to Play through a Game's Pawn Structures. It produces each diagram by deriving the associated Forsyth-Edwards notation (FEN) and then feeding it to Steve Eddins's Chess Imager.
To Plan for the Middlegame, Read the Pawn Structure
One of the most underappreciated yet vital aspects of chess is how to decide on a plan for the middlegame.
To Plan for the Middlegame, Read the Pawn Structure (Part 2)
This article further examines how to formulate a middle game plan according to where one possesses an advantage in space.
To Plan for the Middlegame, Read the Pawn Structure (Part 3) Added 2/4/14
Parts 1 and 2 of this series addressed how to formulate a middlegame plan by comparing how much space each player has along each file. (Italicized terms are defined in the "Glossary of Chess Terms," accessible from this website's "This Website" menu.)
How to Play through a Game's Pawn Structures Added 8/15/14
When playing over a published game in order to learn from it, it can be difficult to discern the players' long-term strategies or to realize how the result of the game might have been largely due to a move that was made in the opening or early middlegame.
How to Play when Ahead in Material Added 12/9/11
When a player has achieved a material advantage, the person may feel that he or she deserves to win. This often makes the player get careless and perhaps even lose.
"The Evans' Method" by Larry D. Evans
(Note: This piece first appeared in the (NJ) Castled King, Sept.-Oct. 1977. I was so impressed with it, I transcribed it! Many thanks to IM Evans for his support. - DHL)
Here you will find brief pieces I've written on subjects other than chess.
Charles Darwin's "Extraordinary Adaptation" Added 4/5/15
Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species (sixth edition) does not explain how systems in organisms (such as for reproduction) could have come about through evolution. However, an excellent model for exploring this matter is the genus coryanthes (bucket orchid), which Darwin characterizes as an "extraordinary adaptation."
Selected Scenes in "The Longest Ride" Added 10/4/18
I recently saw The Longest Ride with Britt Robertson and Scott
Eastwood. I thought it was one of the best films I've seen in quite
a while, and I found the ending to be richly satisfying. I especially
liked the dialog in some scenes near the end:
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