07 April, 2021

Crazy ? Illogical ?

 I spent 3 minutes or so looking at this ChessTempo problem.

At least the question to ask is obvious in this problem : can  the Rook on b6 be captured or not, since there is no direct mate, or mate threat to consider.

Simply put, the answer must be "Yes, I can capture " since there are very few other constructive moves available, but then you are stuck with how to meet the obvious Qa7 reply from White.

What do you do ? as now the knight is pinned to the undefended Queen and the attacked Rook can only be defended by a knight move to d5, where it will be captured by a pawn ?

Remarkably there have been 19 incorrect first moves played, with Ncd5 , Nce8 and even Nxb5 as the top failures.... there are also 29 failed moves on the second move ( after Rxb6 ).

Black to play

The solution is neither crazy nor illogical, its just that you have to see, or imagine it, and do a bit of thinking, and, if this was an OTB game , you have to play it as well !

26 March, 2021

Antenna Alert #1

 A lovely problem....

As one commentator at ChessTempo remarked, the tactic is so simple to see, but it doesn't work. 

The trick ( or perhaps more accurately, the skill ) is to find the moves that make it work !

A recent purchase ( Nieman - "Chess Tactics Antenna" ) would classify this as either "Unprotected Piece" or more likely "Alignment", two of the 'Seven Signals' that he uses to describe patterns/situations that should trigger your 'tactics antenna'.

White to play

24 March, 2021

Remember your thinking process : Reminder #271

The title says it all. 

Practising tactics ( or any element of chess ) is helpful and, usually, productive.

It improves your ability to see patterns, and hopefully to see them quicker or more accurately.

However, if you do not practise a thinking method or process when playing, then you can fail to obtain the maximum benefit from your training. 

I succeeded in gaining material in my solution, but I failed. Why so ? 


Top of the thinking process should be the King : the safety of your own, and the vulnerability of your opponent's.

I missed the mate.

I'm sure, reader, that you won't , but that's either because you are better at tactics than me ( highly likely ) but you also have a clue that material is not what is a stake here.

White to play and Mate

23 March, 2021

Missed this....

 Sad to say, but in the position below, I missed the winning move in this blitz game, even though I had registered and played a variation of it a few moves later.

Proof, not only that you should always be looking, but that however much you are practising, you can always do more.

Black to play and win