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 ( no declining the gambit complexity, give me 19th century chess simplicity ! ).

All opinions welcomed...