16 February, 2019


Recognising patterns or tactic from your practice is very satisfying : it gives an indication that things are becoming embedded in my "Chess RAM".

That these memories are accessed in Blitz is even better...

In the below I saw the move to play almost immediately, and despite the limited time.

Black to Play
After the game, I saw that there was actually a better move than the one I made, although still using the same idea.

08 January, 2019


...it's always great to solve a tactic problem correctly, no matter the level it is at.

Even better to get it right and know that you recognised the pattern as well !

Black to play

Solution if you need it 

01 January, 2019

Blitz and Black to Play

I missed the tactic in this position, as I recall being focused on the b3 square, until I realised the knight covered it.

Having little time left I played the innocuous Kg8.

Black to play

Knowing a tactic is present it is relatively easy to find. 

If only there was a reliable way to signal a "tactic alert" in a game, rather than the playing through of thousands of problems to force patterns into your head !

Until that discovery, its back to ChessTempo !

19 December, 2018

Is this an Arabian Mate that I see before me ?

As well as the standard problem sets at Chesstempo, you can create sets based on themes or tags or other criteria, such as number of failures.

Naturally, this gives a clue to the solution when you pick a 'themed set', but since chess is about recognising and re-using themes and patterns, although you receive what it says on the tin, sometimes its not the way you expect.

A case in point....the below turned up in my set of Arabian and Anastasia mates.

Black to play: Arabian Mate ?
This isn't, evidently, a real Arabian Mate, since there is no immediate way that Black can whip up that flavour of Mate in a short time, but you can use the idea !

I solved this in the average time ( 1m 31s ) but I had also put some thought into how a mate could be achieved.

For me, Nxe3 was something to be considered, removing the defence of the c1 square, but it doesn't reach a mate.

However, Nxe3, as a pre-cursor to the main idea, leads to a beautiful combination, with a sweet twist to it. Its the sort of combination that could leave Black worse off psychologically if he had over-looked it.

Have a try, its not that hard to find when you know.

12 December, 2018

This is an easy problem....

...but shows one of the issues I have.

White to move

At first, and subsequent glance, this seems to be about a checkmate on g8, so I wasted much time trying to prove it was the case.

However, its not about that at all.

Simply Nxe7 is the solution.

On Qxe7, Qxc8 and White is up material !

What I am lacking is the visualisation that the Knight move opens the diagonal to the Rook. 

As soon as that is revealed, attempts to mate disappear.

05 December, 2018

Is it safe ?

A break from blogging, and indeed from serious chess efforts, but I'm back with a question.

Is it safe ?  

No, I'm not switching obsessions to a discussion of "Marathon Man", instead, I'm asking the question in this position.

After 11. Be2, is Nxe4 a safe move ?
Following 11. Be2, is the capture Nxe4 a safe move for Black ?

This arose in a recent club game with me playing Black in a Queen's Gambit Accepted ( yes, no declining the gambit complexity, give me 19th century chess simplicity ! ).

All opinions welcomed...