Eliminating defenders is a common theme in chess. One piece is holding up your progress or attack so you eliminate it even at the cost of material.
One easy example is from tonight's online rapid 15 10 event. Black, a 2050 player, is clearly losing. His own King is cut off by the rook and the bishop can't hold everything. Note White's active King. In endgames you must activate your King if you want to win.
White to move.
Level: easy. I saw the move even before Black played Bd5.
1. Rxd5! Of course! White eliminates the last defender and the a pawn Queens. 1-0
Remember to eliminate defenders.
1. Ba6!! and Black will get mated on b7. Yet another example of power imbalance where White's extra material makes it easy to find killer moves.
My chess training regimen includes puzzle/tactic training on sites like chess.com and lichess.org. Correct solutions give you points; mistakes take your rating down. I recommend puzzle training to all of my students.
Today I found out about the Woodpecker Method, developed by GM Hans Tikkanen. It consists of puzzles that you have to solve but it doesn't stop there. Once you go through the puzzle set, you do it again except faster! And then again, faster.
This approach has huge benefits:
better play when in time trouble
The Woodpecker Method by Axel Smith and Hans Tikkanen is published by Quality Chess.
Easy tactic: spot it in seconds.
WHITE TO PLAY
1. Bxd5! Eventually Black got roasted on f7. Another example of being down a piece without any compensation.
OK, so it wasn't exactly a championship final. It was a no-name 2 1 bullet 60-minute arena session and pressure was on. Sitting in second place my opponent was the highest rated player out of 60 and we were tied.
There isn't much value in analyzing bullet games but the final position is worth seeing. Black resigned here because his h pawn will fall and white's will run for promotion to h8.
All of White's pieces are on light squares so Black's dark bishop can't molest them.
Smothered mate is something all beginners must learn. I almost got to deliver a smothered mate last weekend but, alas, my opponent wasn't a complete beginner. Still, if you're new to chess pay attention and practice it.
WHITE TO MOVE
The game finished with 1. Rxf2 Qe1+ 2.Rf1 Qxf1 # mate.
If 1.Kg1 then we get a smothered mate after Nh3++ 2. Kh1 Qg1!+ 3. Rxg1 Nf2 # mate.
Training games against chess coach NCM Vas are bound to produce some lessons. In this blog I feature two positions from my training games against a bright 7-year-old who is doing really well in grade 2.
Key lesson: don't rush your recaptures. There might be something better. For example, you delay the recapture with a forcing move or you can ignore it completely.
White to play.
47. hxg5 f5! 48. Rg3 e4# mate 0-1.
White to play.
41. e4! (There's no rush to recapture. First comes a forcing move.) Be6 42. d5 Bc8 43. Bh5 Kd7? 44. Bg4+ +- and White won the endgame easily thanks to his extra pawns.
Remember: don't recapture automatically, there might be something better available.
Some blitz games work out perfectly. One example is my recent 3 0 blitz game against a French FM (FIDE Master). I normally recommend longer games to my students but blitz games against FIDE-titled players are a lot of fun. You have to move fast against tough opponents; opponents you know have reached 2300 FIDE at least once in their career.
Black to play. (Level: easy!)
The position below is from a rapid game I played on lichess.org against a lower-rated player. And look how he escaped with a draw thanks to opposite colour bishops. So remember, you can save a difficult position by achieving opposite colour bishops.
Black has no way of forcing the White King to move so the passed pawn is stalled; and there is no way to attack the White pawns. So White simply shuffles his bishop between c4 and g8. No progress means draw. Remember this "rule".
Examine the position below. Black's Knight on d4 is pinned and he has two moves to break the pin. It's always a good policy to break pins before it leads to trouble.
What does Black play here?
1. ....Nf3+!! (1. ...Qc6 is also acceptable) 2. Qxf3 (2.Kg2 Qxb2+ +-) Rxd1+ and White resigned. If 3.Qxd1 then Qxe3+ followed by Qxe4 +-.
White has just played 1. Re2 and you should be able to see some tactical moves in seconds.
1. ...Qxe2! (1. ..Ng3+ 2. Kh2 Nxe2 +- is also good but I prefer to get the Queens off.) If 2. Qxe2 then Ng3+ followed by Nxe2 and Black is up a rook +-)
NCM Vas Sladek
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