Do not panic – Tactics are present even if they are not visible – Part 3

Filed under Chess tactics

Now the position after 31 moves is as follows :

White to Move

Now, it is the turn of White to move. Black has initiated the attack and is in the mood of exchanging pieces and launch an all-out attack on White King. As has been reiterated in our series of articles on tactics, assessing the vulnerability of opponent attack and exploring the possibility of checks and captures gain prominence in an attack or counter attack.

We have already seen that the black King at g7 is vulnerable. The next option would be to explore the possibilities for checks. What are the options available for White to threaten the Black King with check?

Option #1

White can threaten the Black King with check by moving the rook at f4 to f7. The Black King will capture the rook. Then, the Queen at d2 can be moved to d7 to threaten the Black King. In response, the Black might move its Queen at g5 to f7.

a.Rf7+ Kxf7
b.Qd7+ Qf7

No more options are there for the White to continue exert pressure by threatening the Black King with checks. So, the option#1 does seem to be promising enough.

Option #2

We have already seen that the diagonal a1 to h8 can be exploited for threatening the Black King placed at g7.

a.Qc3+ Kf8

The Black Queen at d2 might be moved to c3 to threaten the Black King with a check. In response, the black King might move to the back rank at g8. Surprisingly, you find that there are no more opportunities for check on Black King as the squares c8 or d8 from where the checks might become possible are covered by the Black bishop at b7 and the Queen at g5.

This option is also not much encouraging enough.

Option #3

One of the essential aspects of tactics in attacks or counter-attacks is to explore all possible options and foresee the possible response from the opponent. One should always look for the best possible alternative, which will open up new horizons and make it easier for adequate and strong response to the Black’s move.

Having explored two options, one should not lose heart or leave the advantage to the opponent and wait for his counter moves,

a.Rd8+ Qxd8

This option is also not very promising enough.

Option #4

What are the other possible options for threatening the Black King with check?

a.Qd4+ Kf8
b.Qd8+ QxQ

This will result in exchange of queens and nothing concrete leading to checkmate will arise with this option.

What will happen if the Black King, instead of moving to the back rank, decides to move sideward to h7?

Option #4a

a.Qd4+ Kh7
b.Rf7+ (This seems to be promising as the King has no other
option but to move to h6 and then the Queen at d4
can move to h8 and say “checkmate”)

Option #4b

If, in response to Qd4+, the black King moves to h6, then, Qh8+ will be checkmate. As such the move by Queen from d2 to d4 seems to be very promising.

Having evaluated all possible options, the White finally decides to go with the option#4 discussed above which seems to be more promising than other three options.

32. Qd4+ …..
32. …… f6 The best possible option for Black is to move the pawn as any
move might become vulnerable as we have seen in option#4

The position after move 32 will be as follows:

White to Move

Contrary to White’s calculation that Black King, which is under threat, will be moved, the resilient black moved the pawn to defend its King and kept the King unchanged at g7. However, you might see that the 7th rank is opened up and the Black King is vulnerable for attack from the 7th rank. What would be the options for White to consider?

Option #1

a.Qd7+ Kh6

b.Qxb2 ….. As there is no possibility for enforcing check on Black king

Now, it is the turn of Black to move, and having given some leeway in that there is no threat of check on its King, the Black might continue to begin its attack.

….. Rg1+
a.Ke2 Rxd1
b.Kxd1 QxR

Now, you see that after a series of exchanges, White’s position will become weaker in that the Black has one extra pawn. As such, this option is not feasible.

Option#2

What might be the other option that will ultimately lead to checkmate and does not allow any leeway for the black pieces to continue its attack.

Again looking at the options for threatening the Black King with check, White might find that Qxf6+ will be an option, sacrificing the Queen in the process.

a.Qf6+ Qxf6

Despite losing the Queen, White turns out to be in an advantageous position. A check by moving rook at d1 to d7 will force the black King to move out of g7 and thus expose the Black Queen for capture by rook at f4. Sacrifices are also part of the tactics and have equal importance. The value of the piece is immaterial and it is the positional advantage that get first preference than the value of the pieces.

Having foreseen the various alternatives, White has decided to capture the pawn at f6 and threaten the Black King with check.

33. Qxf6+ Qxf6
34. Rd7+ Kh6
35. Rxf6 Black resigns

This is yet another example of how tactics can convert a literally losing position to a winning one.

The position of White King was precarious and Black was launching an all-out attack, probably out of desperation to win the game in the knock-out stage to remain in the contest. For White, a victory would be a passage for the next round.

Tactics, in this context, has been necessitated out of sporting behavior and the urge to move up in a knock out tournament.

This beautiful example will once again emphasize the importance of tactics. There is no reason for panic at any point of time. Counter attacks of these sort does require critical analysis of all possible alternatives. Not only should the counter attacks be strong and decisive, but it should also be timely and should not allow the opponent, who is launching an all-out attack, is allowed an opportunity to implement his attacking strategy.

Do not panic – Tactics are present even if they are not visible – Part 2

Filed under Chess tactics

In response, the black moved the rook from d5 to g5.

29. Rd4 …..
29. ….. Rg5

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

The move by White to safeguard his queen and rook, and the response by Black by moving the Black rook to g5 unveils the grand plan of Black to launch an attack on the White King.

The white pawn at g2 is vulnerable and it is this pawn that is targeted by the Black in a double threat – one from the rook at g5 and then from the bishop in b2. The Queen at f6 is also exerting pressure on f2, as can be seen in the diagram given below.

Fig. 3

The Black has launched an attack on the White and it is the turn of White pieces to counter this attack by defending his pieces or exploring possibilities to counter attack the Black King.

One important point worth bearing in mind is not to get panic when faced with an attack by the opponent as is the situation in the present case. The situation calls for a careful analysis of the position and various alternatives that might be employed by White to thwart the attack.

It is very important that before deciding on a particular move, an analysis of the possible counter moves or consequences should be assessed.

The White pawn at g2 is at threat. If white considers moving the pawn at g2 to g3, what might happen?

The black queen at f6 might be placed at f3 thus opening up the diagonal a8-h1 for checkmating the White King, placed precariously at g1.

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

Now, White has to consider other alternatives to come out of the precarious situation. The most important point worth considering is that there is no reason for panic, when faced with such an attack from the opponent.

If the Black rook captures g2 and threatens with check, White King can move to f1 and in turn, the black rook might capture the pawn at h2.

Fig. 7

Fig. 8

Fig. 9

There is no imminent threat of mate to the White King, and White has some time to develop its own pieces and try to force a counter-attack on the Black King.

In any case, there is absolutely no reason for panic. It is here that the need for counter attack and tactics arises.

What are the options available to White at this juncture – not only to defend his pieces but also counter-attack the Black King – as the saying says – Attack is the best form of defence – in this case counter attack on the part of White.

A closer look of the position makes it clear to the naked eye that the Black King is placed at g7 and the only option available to White to attack the Black King is through the diagonal a1-h8.

Fig. 10

Fig. 11

Realizing that point, white preferred to move the rook at d4 to f4. In response, Black, as anticipated, black rook at g5 captured the pawn at g2 and threatened the white king with a check. The white king at g1 promptly moved to f1. The Black Queen, further exerting pressure on the White pieces, moved the Queen from f6 to g5.

30. Rf4 Rxg2+
31. Kf1 Qg5 (with an idea of moving the rook to g1)

Fig. 12

Fig. 13

Fig. 14

Fig. 15

Do not panic – Tactics are present even if they are not visible – Part 1

Filed under Chess tactics

The game of chess is all about tactics and tactics alone. There is tactics in every aspect of the game and it is the understanding of the tactics and effective implementation of the tactics after careful analysis from all angles is that differentiates the grandmasters from ordinary players of chess.

In one of the games played in the FIDE Championship tournament, in the Knock out stage, one of the two grandmasters, playing White, by using the tactics to his advantage, converted a literally losing position to a winning one and went on to advance to the next round.

We shall now analyse the game and see how we can profit and learn from the games played by the Grandmasters in Chess.

Given below is the position after White completed his 27th move and it is the turn of the Black to make the move.

Black to Move

A cursory look at the position indicates that the White has an extra pawn. However, the black can capture that extra pawn. It has been exerting pressure on the white pawn at d5, as can be seen here.

It might also be found that there is nothing concrete in the form of positional factors to apply tactics on the part of Black. However, in this knockout game, having lost the first game to the White player, it becomes imperative on the part of Black to force a win.

One point worth considering is that the Black bishop placed at b7 can be used effectively to exploit the diagonal b7 – g2 as the White King is placed at g1 and the Black queen is placed at f6.

Now, Black takes the initiative and tries to exploit the b7-g2 diagonal.

27. …… Rxe4 Captures the bishop lying at e4
28. Rxe4 …… White captures the black rook
28. …… Rxd5 Black captures the pawn in d5

and the position now is given hereunder:

White to Move

Now, a closer look at the board reveals that the ploy of Black to exploit the diagonal seems to be working.

The White’s position seems to be vulnerable at this juncture, with the rook at e4, rook at d1 and the queen at d2 all hanging or vulnerable.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

White is in a precarious position and staring at the defeat, though it may have more pieces. Consider the following :

If Queen captures the Black rook at d5, Black bishop at f7 will capture the White Queen. The rook at d1 can capture back the Black bishop at d5.

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

White seems to be having two rooks as against only one Queen and no more powers for Black. But the position is not so good for White pieces.

Consider the following – The black queen placed at f6 might exploit the open diagonal f7-a1 and capture the pawn at b2. Given the weak first rank where the White King has three pawns in front of it in the front row, the pawn in a2 also being vulnerable and the rooks at d5 and e4 unable to assist, White stares at defeat, if nothing is done by White to avoid, or if White overlooks the impending threat.

Fig. 7

Fig. 8

Fig. 9

Fig. 10

Having realized the precarious position in which he is placed, White has no other option but to move the rook at e4 to d4, protect the Queen and the rook at d1 apart from saving itself from the threat of bishop at b7.

Increase Your Tactical Skills by Learning These Important Three Steps

Filed under Guest Posts

It is common knowledge in the game of chess that a “tactic” is a series of short term maneuvers which have specific goals in mind. All players, beginners to grand masters, need and use different types of tactics that will help them win the game. Typical tactics will fall into patterns you can recognize in many different varying positions. The three basic types of tactics you need to learn are the fork, pin, and skewer. These three tactics are for everyone to use, especially the beginning chess player, as these three prove to be the most useful. Once you learn and understand these three basic tactics, you will be able to easily see and anticipate them from your opponent—you will be able to use them to your advantage.

The “fork” tactic is when a single chess piece of yours is able to attack two chess pieces of your opponent at the same time. For example, one pawn piece of yours can either attack one of the two opponent’s pieces within the pawn’s attack range. Also, when an attack is against two enemy pieces at the same time by two of your pieces, it is called a “double attack”.

The next of the three tactics you need to learn is the “pin” tactic. The “pin” tactic is when you attack an opponent’s piece, and that targeted piece cannot move without revealing another piece behind it to capture. You essentially are “pinning” the first piece to the piece behind it. The only pieces that can pin other pieces are the rook, bishop, and queen. However, if you are ever a victim of a “pin” from your opponent, follow these four tips to escape the “pin”.

1.Block the pin by moving another piece of yours between the piece being pinned and the pinning piece.

2.Move the piece that is being pinned by your opponent’s pinning piece.

3.Capture the piece that is doing the pinning.

4.Attack the opponent’s piece to force your opponent to move it away.

The “skewer” is very similar to the “pin” tactic but this time, you attack your opponent by forcing the targeted opponent’s piece to move away in order for you to capture the more valuable piece behind the “skewered” piece. To some chess players, this is also known as the “bully move,” where you have your piece bully its way on the board to make your opponent decide which piece they will need to give up to you.

Continue to practice to recognize and memorize these tactics in order to win your opponents pieces that you target during the game and eventually the “checkmate”. The key to becoming a better chess player is to understand these aforementioned tactics. The beginning chess player should always remember that the back row of your pieces are critical in winning the game, so by moving them out at a first chance is critical. The quicker those pieces in the back row have been moved out, the quicker you can apply your own tactics and strategies that will help you gain a checkmate against your opponent.

Rules of Chess Strategy and Chess Tactics: how important are those?

Filed under Beginner Chess Tips

In earlier articles like winning chess strategies, eight attacking chess tactics and some others, we tried to explain to chess beginners how these would help them to raise their games. When you are an amateur, you will achieve quicker progress by following good principles. These will also help your chess games to be less prone to error.

Does it mean that you are bound to these principles as ironclad rules. Not at all. What I want to say is that only when you become thoroughly familiar with the rules (and expected results), you can afford to break the rules. In fact, that is where the difference comes between a good player and a great player. But no one becomes a chess master overnight. As an amateur, build your foundation by learning the basics of chess strategy and chess tactics. As you start progressing and winning more chess games, you will gain in confidence and from that confidence will come the ideas of bending the principles in certain positions.

In explaining chess strategies, particularly in the openings, we said that White gets a marginal advantage because of having the first move, and White’s strategy will be to carry that advantage, however minimal, into the middle game. So Black’s strategy is to deny White that advantage so as to gain an equal position at the end of the opening phase.

If you play through the following game, you will wonder if Black ever heard of those principles! It is of course held by certain experts that Black was not a great exponent of opening theories and had not contributed much to that area. But his combinatory skills were so astounding that all those chess theories did not matter, he could just floor most of his opponents by his astonishing and ever inventive chess tactics! No wonder that he is regarded by many as the greatest attacking player of all time!

Instead of trying to comment on Black’s moves or analyze the positions, I will presume that I am the White player and give vent to my thoughts as Mikhail Tal keeps spinning his magic!

 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 f3 0-0 6 Be3 e5 7 Nge2 c6

I think I should have placed my KB to d3 before the Knight move to e2.

 8 Qb3 ed4 9 Nd4 d5 10 cd5 cd5 11 ed5 Nc6

My God, he is at his ‘tricks’ (Smyslov’s comments about Tal’s moves) again! He wants to sacrifice his knight for a pawn! In any case, he has at least started it in reverse order!

(Tal once said that at any position, he thinks of sacrificing his Queen or Rook or Bishop or Knight or Pawn, in that order, to gain an attack!)

 12 dc6 Re8 13 Kf2 Re3

Position after Tal’s 13th move.

As I thought, he has started his sacrifices in reverse order! Now he wants to give up Rook for a Bishop. But is it safe to take that Rook and expose my King on the open e-file and c1-h6 diagonal of Black’s KB? Let me bring out my Rook to support the Knight on d-file first to put some pressure on Black Queen.

 14 Rd1 Ng4+

Won’t he ever stop? His Rook is en prise, and now he offers his knight also! Well, I have to take the Knight as otherwise my King will have very few places to hide.

 15 fg4 Bd4 16 Rd4 Qd4 17 Qd5 Re2+

Position after Tal’s 17th move.

Gawd! I was thinking of exchanging Queens to get some relief, but that double check puts paid to everything! Double check means King has to move as there is no other defense against two simultaneous checks! So I have to take the offensive Rook by my King only.

 18 Ke2 Bg4+ 19 Ke1 Re8+ 20 Be2 Re2+ 21 Resigns

Position after Tal’s 21st move.

Black took advantage of the ‘overloaded’ Knight, which has to guard e2 as well as d5 squares. The King is only one move away from checkmate, so the Knight has to take the Rook, allowing Black to capture the Queen! And White Knight and Rook (still blocked) are no match to Black’s Queen and Bishop! What is the point in extending the agony, better to resign.

What a lesson in Chess Tactics!