24 August, 2022

Mate in 11

 I rarely channel my "Inner Tal", but somehow this position spoke out for an attack...

White to play

I chose 19.Bxg7 and there followed Kxg7 20. Qc3+ and then Kf8

White to play : Mate-in-12 !

To be honest, after Qh8+, I think losing with White would be a difficult thing to do, although there is the scary part after the forced response of Ke7 when the White Queen is attacked by two Rooks. 

However, resolving that is probably the only hard part, and you would have to do that before playing Qa8 anyway.

Play continued with 21.Qh8+ Ke7, and with perfect/engine play there is now a mate in 11 to find.

Naturally, my play was not perfect, but Black's was even more flawed and I managed the mate-in-3 that I had visualised with 22. Nf6+ Kd8 23. Rxe8+ Qxe8 24. Qxe8#.

However, Black had given almost no resistance, unlike in the engine variation. 

Enjoy finding it !

10 August, 2022

Know your mates addendum : Practice what you preach !

As an addition to my previous post, usually, I do this, but yes, it happens with me as well.

In blitz, the focus on time is very high, and it can be easy to miss things as time runs out.

Here, I had was planning for an obvious threat, with Bf5, however, I missed the mate-in-one : too much focus on a plan and not eating up move time.

Black to play and win
As its a variation on my favourite mating combination I can feel suitably ashamed.

However, all ended well. The Albin prevailed, although I could have saved myself 14 moves !

A similar focus ( or over-anticipation ?) occurred at the Chennai Olympiad when Sam Shankland touched his king, expecting a certain move, but his opponent played differently.

Its painful to watch his realisation that he had lost, as he was forced to move his King. Thirty seconds, when I probably know what is going on in his head.

03 August, 2022

Know your mates

 It really does help to know mate combinations and be alert to them appearing on the board.

Here, Black played the remarkable 20...f5 ??

..evidently not seeing the back-rank mate !

Same here. 

Black has the choice of Kh8 or Kh6.

Kh8 maybe feels like its bad as it puts the King into a corner, but if you don't know the mate, its not much calculation to see that Kh6 is a worse move and a slightly quicker mate.

After the poor Rf8, White has Nf5+, and Black cannot capture because of the pin so is forced to h5, where Qh4 is mate

Kh8 is , for me at least, a harder mate to see and calculate.


But if you see the end position, you should be able to work out the mate in 5