Chess + 2nd Language

Have you ever thought about studying a 2nd language?
Perhaps you’ve heard that Bobby Fischer learnt the Russian language in order to be able to read and study Russian chess tutorials.
I will share with you something interesting that I’ve noticed over the years. When I learn materials in English (which is my 2nd language), I usually digest them very well, maybe even better than materials in my native language!
Sound strange? Well, there is actually a simple explanation. While viewing materials (books, videos, articles, etc.) in your native language, you naturally move through the materials rather quickly.

On the other hand, if you study material in a foreign language, you will have to do it more slowly and more seriously. Maybe you will even need to go through some material several times before you begin to fully understand it.
This “enforced serious attitude” brings tremendous results!
Here’s another interesting and perhaps related observation. Some people that I know have translated my courses into their own languages. It seems like purely technical work, however, their chess understanding suddenly went up quite significantly!
The reason is still the same: they had to go through the material slowly, to think about it, to find suitable translations, and then read it again…
So how can you make use of this idea? Very simply: study chess tutorials in a foreign language.
As a bonus, you’ll hit 2 targets simultaneously: improving your chess skills + learning another language. Both of these things will surely be useful to you.
Incidentally, these 2 things are also excellent ways for you to improve your memory and your overall mental power.
At times my friends have asked me how I studied the English language. Well, my English is far from being perfect, but there’s 1 funny thing here. I have never really studied it. :)
At the same time, however, I’ve learnt a lot of materials in English that were interesting for me.
I guess that is how Fischer learnt Russian. :)
Pretty often I receive e-mails with a question like: “I’d like to study your chess course, but I’m from … (paste any non-English country). Will I be able to understand it? Or should I wait until you translate the course to my language?
I should tell you first of all that waiting “for a better time” is a bad idea nearly always.
Secondly, I would really suggest that you study “foreign” materials. It can bring unexpected great results!
Now, let’s test your skills with some cool examples from recent tournaments.
Finegold – Shabalov
Black’s turn
White is a pawn up and has an active position. This means Black is losing; is that correct?
Morozevich – Topalov
White’s turn
Because of White’s hanging pawns a5 and d4 it’s difficult for him to rearrange his pieces. Black’s position looks all very solid, however, there’s 1 sudden flaw. Can you find it?
Ponomariov – Kasimdzhanov
Black’s turn
In this tense situation it’s important to calculate variations accurately. Can you detect the Black’s best move and evaluate its consequences?
After you find the variations for all 3 positions, please, download the SOLUTION and check yourself: LINK
Note: if you can’t open chess games in *.pgn format – please, read this: LINK