Sunday, 2 March 2014

Northern Star Chess Squad

This week in the Northern Star Chess squad, the focus was on mating patterns. As a result, we looked at a number of positions with a variety of checkmate themes. Let's see how you go with them (as with last week, the solutions are below the puzzles in white):

White to move:
Here white has a forced win: 1. Rd8+ Kg7 (or Kf7; Kh7 leads to a quicker checkmate) 2. R1d7+ Kf6 (2...Kh6 3. Rh8#) 3. Rf8+ Ke5 4. Re8+ Kf4 (4...Kf6 5.Re6#) 5. Rd4+ Kg3 6. Re3#

White to move:
The key move is 1. Re5, threatening 2. Rg5+ & 3. Qg7#. Black has a few defensive tries, which all fail: 1... Rd7 2. Rg5+ Kh7 3. Rh5+ Kg8 4. Rh8#; 1... Rf8 2. Qg6+ Kh8 3. Rh5#; 1... Qc7 2. Rg5+ Kh7 3. Rh5+ Kg8 4. Rh8#;
 
Black to move:
1. Ne2+ Kh1 2. Qxh2+ Kxh2 3. Rh4#
 
Black to move:
1... Rxf3 gxf3 2. Nd4+ 3. Kh1 (3. Rg2 Nxf3+ 4. Kh1 Rd1+ 5. Rg1 Rxg1#) Nxf3 with unstoppable mate, either by Rh2# or if white plays Rg2 to defend, then Rd1+ followed by Rg1#

White to move:
1. Ne7+ Kh8 2. Qxh7+ Kxh7 3. Rh1#

White to move:
This puzzle features a clearance tactic to win ... 1. Rh8+ Kxh8 2. Qg8#
 
 White to move:
This is another example of the Arabian Mate ... 1. Qxf8+ Kxf8 2.Re8+ Kg7 3. Rg8#

Black to move (though there is also a win with white to move):
This combines multiple ideas of discovered attack & interference ... 1... Nh3+ 2. gxh3 (2. Kh1 Qxh2#; 2. Qxh3 Bxh3, with the threat of Qxh2# which leaves black with a huge material advantage)  Qxh2#
Of course if it is white's turn to move, then the win is 1. Bg6+ Kg8 (Black could delay for a move with 1... Nh5, but after 2. Qxh5+ the finish is the same) 2. Qh7#

 Black to move:
This position also combines multiple ideas: Discovered attack, Anastasia's Mate & Smothered Mate ... quite appropriately it is from a game by one of the greatest early attacking players in chess history, Paul Morphy!
The win is as follows: 1...Ng3! 2. Qxd4 (2. Qxh7 Nde2#) Ne2+ 3. Kh1 Qxh2 4. Kxh2 Rh8+ 5. Bh6 Rxh6+ 6. Qh4 Rxh4#

After a break & games (which will be analysed during the week), we looked at the following game which had a number of themes to it - tactics, particularly in the opening stage; the concept of compensation & what it means; use of the initiative; as well as prophylaxis & paralysing an opponent's position.
In some ways its amazing to think that the player on the black side who appears helpless at the end of the game is in fact a 2600+ GM!



There are a number of critical moments in the game:
8. Bg2! is a stunning idea, as is the follow-up 9. 0-0! with white temporarily sacrificing a piece to quickly develop all of their pieces.
11.Nb3 as a way to maintain the initiative, which is an important aspect of the opening phase of the game.
17. Rxc5! as an exchange sacrifice, again designed to maintain the initiative, but also allow for thoughts about the idea of compensation to be shared.
21. Bd6! to keep black's bishop from getting into the game, using the concept of prophylaxis.
24. c5! maintaining the bind on the black queenside pieces & not allowing them to get involved in the game
Also the final idea of trapping the black queen & being on the lookout for these tactical possibilities, was also a useful idea from the game.

If you wish to attend future sessions, please see the details on the Northern Star Chess website. They are running for most Sunday afternoons for the remainder of the school term.

1 comment:

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