Board Vision Drills by Michael de la Maza :: Part 1 (Pins & Skewers)

In this video I will show you how to do board vision drills recommended by Michael de la Maza in his famous article “400 Points in 400 Days” published in Chess Horizons, 2001.

The article was published in two parts:
Part 1:
Part 2:

De la Maza’s method is further explained in his book “Rapid Chess Improvement” published in 2002 by Everyman Chess:

You might want to checkout my review of de la Maza’s book:

I hope you’ll enjoy the video and make sure to check out Part 2 which I will publish two weeks from now.

Please be free to leave your comment in the comment box.

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  1. Sorry Sir, but I have to dislike this video.
    You explain the rule(s) as per Michael De La Maza but, you completely missed the point when you were demonstrating as to not letting your Queen get captured.
    While this is an exercise, you still must play it as if it were a game against your opponent.
    Example: King on d5 Rook on d4. If you were playing a real game of chess and placed your Queen on d7 placing the King in Check, the King would move one square (most likely close to the Rook), let’s say K-c4. Your next move would be to capture the rook Q xd4 and then the King captures the Queen K x d4..
    In the following positions for the King and Rook there is no fork or skewer you could safely make without your Queen being taken or blocked.
    K d5, R-c4, R-c5, R-c6, R-d4, R-d6, R-e4, R-e5, R-e6, R-f4, R-f5 and R-f6
    You also present a fork in which you have K- d5 and R-e6, you then place the Queen on d7 and then on f5. In both situations the rook would block the Queen.
    Please do not misunderstand me, I am not trying to be mean in anyway (I like your videos), just trying to point out a few mistakes.
    So, as long at the King and Rook are within one square of each other (directly next to each other or one square apart), you have no skewer or fork that is safe for the Queen to move to.
    Let’s take a look at another position:
    K d5, R g5. The only safe positions for your Queen are the following: a5, b5, d2 and d7. If you were to place the Queen on g8 or g2, your Queen would be taken by the rook.
    Let’s take a look at one more position.
    K d5, R g6. In this scenario the Queen can safely fork on. d3, f5, and h5.
    If you move the Queen to f7, the rook would naturally move to e6 to block.
    I don't believe the concentric square exercise is as easy as you make it look.I believe there is a little more thought that goes into it.

  2. you missed a couple of skewers..with the bishops for example

  3. you missed a couple of skewers…with the bishop for example

  4. I love the idea of a real chess board and pieces. I get tired of the computer screen.

  5. I think the drill is to put the queen only on places it can take the rook safely. so many of the forks and skewers you showed are incorrect.

  6. Luka – Thank you for making this video. I came across this book after your interview on Perpetual podcast ( congrats!) and im glad you made this video. Very helpful.

  7. You missed many. But good exercize anyway. Maybe it is better to do it a bit more slowly and more accurate?

  8. What if you added random peices to the board, or half way through one peices rotation, start a 2nd peice, is that part of the course or is there a better method

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