27 November, 2022

Did I recognise the mate pattern ?

I played a short online blitz game yesterday, the first time in a few weeks that I have played online.

We reached this position after 11...a6 was played 

I think it was the below chesstempo problem that I had recalled, consciously or not

Start of problem : White to play

..since after 2.Qxc6 Bxd5 3.Bxb7+ Kb8 4.Ba7+ Kxa7 5.Qa6+ Kb8 6.Qa8#. 

It ends with a Queen and Bishop mate.

How did my game continue ? Obviously, I took the knight, and Black should have accepted the loss and played the Queen out of danger with Qe6. Instead he re-captured on c6 with the b-pawn

After 12...bxc

The rest was simple 13.Bxa6+ Kb8 14. Qb3+ Ka7 with 15. Qb7#

15. Qb7#

Evidently the mate was straightforward and may have nothing to do with solving problems with Queen and Bishop mate, but I'm sure there is some connection.

20 November, 2022

Mowing the lawn

 I can say with complete honesty, that none of my OTB games ( since I joined club in 2018 ) have ended in checkmate.

Every single game that ended in a win, has been the result of a resignation.

Why then should we study "standard" checkmates ?  

Simply put, because these are also patterns that are helpful to know, and the threat of them can produce a gain of material or other concession, which can improve a position or end a game.

I've taken the time to learn , or in some cases refresh my knowledge of, basic mates, such as Q+K, R+K, two Rooks, etc which has been both enjoyable and interesting, since in many cases, I've played them out against a friend.

I've also learned the theory behind some, and strived to mate in the shortest number of moves, rather than just mate. This could be thought of as irrelevant, since mate is mate, but as I learned from Chesstempo tactics, making the best move can sometimes be the difference between an easy win, and a win that you have to work hard for.

I've also begun to look at endgames in more detail, also by playing them out against a real opponent, making mistakes and talking through the exercises. This can really produce interesting results and is very educational, much more so than just studying by yourself.

Below is an example of what I now know is called a lawnmower mate. 

Simple, but an enjoyable combination to aim for. If only I was actually allowed to play it in a real game !

White to play and mate