01 June, 2020

A recurring theme

I've posted many times about my 'favourite' mate pattern, that of the Arabian and Anastasia's Mate.

I'm not sure why this particular pattern of Knight/Rook or Knight/Queen appeals, but there is no denying that it does.

The below problem turned up in ChessTempo a while ago and although its not a difficult one ( the blitz rating is 1472, the standard is 1170) when the last move dawned on me, it brought a smile to my face :)


Here is is below, with the solution if required, although you know the pattern to aim for.

White to play : Mate in 3

One of the comments to it was "I want to do this in a game" : don't we all !

But I came close in a recent blitz game.

Here was a position where I had repeated the Knight checks (Ne7+, Kg8, Kf8, Ng6) , mainly to gain time as I had about 3 seconds on the clock, but also because my old brain didn't see a quick win easily enough.



But its blitz, you can try anything, crazy or not, and you may not have a perfectly measured responsefrom your opponent

I played the very wrong Rxe6+ ??  

I wouldn't do this in a standard game, since clearly the Black Queen capturing the Rook is a win for Black...



..but Black obliged me with fxe, allowing a nice finish !



 A "lucky" blitz win , but there again, you have to see a pattern to aim for.




30 May, 2020

Pinning for Mate

I mentioned how powerful the pin is in so many situations, but I think this is the first time is has occurred with mate following in one of my games.

Its a blitz/10-minute game, but still a first for me.

Not so strangely, the initial reaction was Qxg5, since the bishop is hidden on a2, but the practise of suppressing the automatic reaction pays off, and the winning move of Qxg6 was played. 

Luckily my opponent made it easy with a reply of Kf8.

White to play, Mate 

26 April, 2020

Same difference...?

This is a position where you can believe that there are two moves that end up with the same result, at least if you only view it from your own perspective, and without great thought.

In fact one of them loses, the other doesn't.


Which capture ?

My initial view was that Kf8 was no good : the White pawn promotes and the game is over.

That leaves Nxd7 or Qxd7.

If you think only in terms of immediate captures and exchanges, Black wins a pawn after either capture : Qxd7, Qxd7, Nxd7. 

If exchanges are the intention it doesn't matter whether the Queen or knight captures : "same difference", so-to-speak.

However, look a little deeper than the focus of the pawn on d7, at more than just captures, and the difference between the two becomes more clear.

What does Nxd7 achieve ? What does it give up or stop doing ?

What does Qxd7 do ?

What response does White have to each of these moves ?

What are White's lines-of-attack ? Especially with the Rooks ?

Chess is so much more than an 'I take this, and he re-captures, and I take that, and he moves there' sort of game. Even simple positions will repay thought and should accumulate experience that can be re-used in different circumstances.

I made the correct move in this position, and for broadly, the correct theoretical reasons, but without seeing all the implications.


19 April, 2020

Triangulation ?

Problems with many pieces on the board, can sometimes seem overwhelming.

However, using a thought process that looks for Lines of Attack, and for motifs such as pins, skewers and forks, can direct your attention to the correct areas.




White to play


Part of the thought process should also include asking : what did their last move do ?


12 April, 2020

Pin Power

Tactics involving the pin motif are among the most common simple tactics that I see during my chesstempo practice.

From these, the Bishop+Queen duo seems one of the most regularly occuring pins leading to mate, either directly, or in a 2 or 3 move combination with the pinned pawn or piece providing the shield for a check, followed by mate


Once you have this fixed in your tactic toolbox, it can be easier to see other types in pin-mates.


Here's the two-move Queen and Bishop combination...


Black to Play

Followed by a related pin-mate"": don't be distracted by the material on offer, as Nigel Short is often quoted "Mate ends the game ! "


Black to play

Another example below...a first glance suggest Black's defence is more than adequate, but the power of the pin ( maybe Pin Squared ?) overcomes this to deliver mate.


White to Play

The deceptive pin is more powerful than you think....First thoughts give Qh8 as the move, but then you see the Bishop guarding the vital square, and supported by the Rook. 

Is there a Pin coming to your rescue ? 

White to Play 

Another example, and yes, there is a winning pin, if you resist the Rook capture.



White to play

A further example of a pin, but careful how you take advantage of it....

Black to Play

Finally, another example where a pin overcomes the defence of two Queens and a Rook.

White to play



10 April, 2020

A nice Candidate !

A very cute mate.  

Simple, but if you are not careful it could slip away from you...

Also made more interesting in that the game it came from was Maxime Vachier_lagrave - Tiemour Radjabov !

White to play