01 July, 2020

Two Knights and a Queen

Technically, it would be difficult to fail this mate problem, as there were 4 or 5 alternatives given in Chess Tempo.

However, I was please to solve it correctly, so only discovered the "alts" afterwards.

This was something that just had to be mate, given the position, but I don't think I have ever seen a mate quite like this, with a Queen and two knights giving a sort of epaulette mate.

White to play and mate

17 June, 2020

Not the three-minute mile

The difference between training with apps and websites compared to books, is that what you do is stored and available for checking, even if you don't remember that you can.

For whatever reason, I decided to check my previous attempts at the below problem, since it was a good problem to solve and took me some time to work out

White to move
I was amazed to find this was my second attempt, and that I had solved it correctly both times, but surprisingly, the second attempt took 2+ minutes compared to the initial 4+.

Conclusions can't be drawn from 1 problem, but certainly, I sense that progress is being made, albeit slowly.  

More importantly, I also seem to gain greater satisfaction and enjoyment during games as well.

11 June, 2020

Is just keeps happening !

This is ,of course, a completely random tactic appearing in ChessTempo, but sometimes you do wonder...

White to play : mate in 3

A very satisfying mate.

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.