Henry Bird vs Wilhelm Steinitz

This position occurred in the game Bird -Steinitz (1866) and Steinitz played the winning move 66…b5+.

 

 

Bird reacted with 67.Kc3 and now we get an even more interesting position.

Should you also have played 66…b5+ or would you have tried something like 66…a3?

Are you able to win this won game?

What are Black’s next moves?

Be careful. Some moves will result in a draw.

More chess lessons? The next lesson in this series is about the King’s Gambit.

 

 

Why didn’t Bird react with 67.Kb5x and take the black pawn?

Because after 66…b5+ 67.Kxb5 it is clear that the other pawn can not be stopped; 67…a3 68.Ka4 a2 69.Kb3 a1=Q
Bird tries to prevent the promotion of the pawn.

black-Ke4-d5, gameover, right?black: 67. …Ke3 68 Kc2 Kd4 and black wins the white pawn. Correct?Yes, then white can’t defend the pawn anymore

Bobby (Robert) James Fischer vs Mark Taimanov

One of the most famous games showing the Bishop versus Knight endgame is game number four in the quarterfinals of the candidates match between Robert James Fischer and Mark Taimanov.

Fischer – Taimanov 1971

8/3k4/1pn2rp1/p1p2p1p/P1B2P1P/2P1RKP1/1P6/8 w – – 0 41

 

 

 

 

The next lesson in this series is about Zugzwang.

  1. Have you thought about writing about this amazing chess prodigy – Hou Yifan.Hou Yifan (born February 27, 1994, in Xinghua, Taizhou, Jiangsu, China) is a Chinese chess prodigy, who in 2008, became the youngest ever female in history to qualify for the title of Grandmaster, the highest a chess player can attain. In 2007, she became China’s youngest ever National Women’s Champion. In the July 2008 FIDE rating list, she is ranked the strongest girl player and the fourth strongest female player in the world. On September 12, 2008 she became the youngest ever finalist for the Women’s World Championship title.I may use one of her games in the future, but it has to fit within one of the chess lessons that I am preparing.

    Maybe you have a suggestion (?)

    You have a great and informative website here. I’m also trying to setup a blog dedicated to chess only at http://chesshive.deuts.net.

    I’m not yet sure what should I really write about it, but if i find time and subject and audience, maybe I’ll register a separate domain for it.

    By the way, I see that you are hosted at 110mb. So far, how was your experience with this free host?

    Success with your blog.

    I am very satisfied with 110mb. Whenever something was wrong they managed to solve it within a very reasonable time, which is better than what can be said of most paid hosting services.

    It’s wordpress you are using here, right? So you paid for the mysql addon? I wonder, why don’t you register your own domain name? It’s supported here in 100mb, right?

    Yes, this site is running on WordPress. To enabe the MySQL Database support costs about $10. The .htaccess is $9 which makes it possible to use the friendly links.

    An own domain name is supported ar 110mb, but I haven’t done this (yet). It was not needed to make this site up and running and I am thinking more about chess and chess lessons than about sites.

Make a plan

It sounds a little bit obvious, but the lack of a plan is the main reason for a lot of losses in chess. Planning is essential in chess. After you have learned the general ideas for the opening, the middle game and the endgame, you have to create plans in order to win the game.

We can distinguish several kind of plans. Jeremy Silman starts by looking for the imbalances in the position and then the plan is to use and enlarge (one of) the positive imbalances.
Other plans are more related to finding the right squares for your pieces and then the plan is to find a way to get your pieces on these squares.

The most important thing is that you have a plan. Without a plan your moves will be incoherent and you will be just moving your pieces. Having a plan will result in more wins.

When playing chess you should always have a plan, but don’t stick to rigid to it. Your opponent also has a plan and you have to take his moves into account. Some players tend to play their moves but neglect the moves of their opponent and when the threat becomes visible it is often too late to do something about it.

More chess lessons (in the right order to study) can be found by means of the chess lessons index page and an example of looking ahead can be found in the game Kasparov – Topalov (1999).

 

 

 

My chessblog, Chessgambiter, has listed this site on my blog as:
Chess sites I read…

 

as long as you make sure that it is not a blunder
If a move is rarely played, there may be a reason!!

Strategy/Strategical planning is just as important as tactics or studying a chess opening.

This becomes more and more clear as you progress in chess. This is what that makes the difference between a master and an amateur.

Opera Game: Paul Morphy vs Duke Karl and Count Isouard 1858

The game of this lesson between Paul Morphy and Carl Isouard that has been played in Paris 1858 is one of the most famous chess games.

Morphy – Isouard (1858)

It’s a very interesting short game and it contains at least five important chess lessons:
  1. Develop you chess pieces quickly
  2. Castling into safety
  3. The strategic outpost at d5
  4. Attacking a pinned piece
  5. The use of an open file
Liked this game?
You will probably also like Bird – Steinitz (1866) or you can have a look at the complete overview of chess lessons.

Minor promotion (underpromotion) Secret Tactic

Minor promotion or underpromotion is the promotion of a pawn to a knight, bishop or rook. The player that has moved the pawn to the promotion square has to decide which piece to select: a queen, a rook, a bishop or a knight. It can not remain a pawn and according to the FIDE rules of chess the choice becomes final as soon as the selected piece touches the promotion square.

In almost all games a pawn is promoted to a queen. Sometimes another piece is used, but most of the time this is done without a real need. The player just likes to win with a rook instead of a queen.
But in some cases a minor promotion is needed in order to win the game, most of the time to avoid a stalemate.

The following two diagrams show some easy examples. In the diagram on the left promotion of the pawn to a queen will result in a stalemate, but White can win the game by promoting to a rook (or by playing Kd6). In the diagram on the right promotion to a queen or a rook will result in a draw (stalemate), but promoting to a bishop will result in an easy win. In this case White may also win by playing Ke7.

8/k1P5/p7/P3K3/8/8/8/8 w – – 0 53

8/5P1k/5K1p/7P/8/8/8/8 w – – 0 51

Another interesting example is shown in the next diagram. Now White is forced to promote. He has to capture the rook. Promoting to a queen or a rook will result in stalemate, so the pawn has to be promoted to a bishop or a knight.

2r5/kP6/P7/K7/8/8/8/8 w – – 0 49

I should go for the bishop, but promotion to a knight will be ok.

49. bxc8=B will probably be followed by something like 49… Kb8 50. Bh3 Kc7 51. Kb5 Kd6 52. a7 Ke5 53. a8=Q Kf6 54. Qf8+ Kg5 55. Be6 Kg6 56. Qe7 Kh6 57. Qf6+ Kh5 58. Qg7 Kh4 59. Qg4#

A rather complicated example can be found in the next diagram taken from the game Sokolsky – Ravinsky. This example has been discussed by Tim Krabbé in his article about Practical Underpromotion.

4b1k1/P4pPp/1R3P1P/2r5/8/1P6/1K6/8 w – – 0 1

In this article he describes 47 examples of underpromotion in actual games. In the diagram on the left 66.a8=B is winning and it is White’s only winning move. The alternative moves are discussed in Tim Krabbé’s article.

Another interesting position that can be found in a number of actual games is the position given in the following example.

k6r/8/PP6/1KR5/8/8/8/8 w – – 0 49

49.Rc8+ Rxc8 50.b7+ Ka7 will result in a position that should be familiar by now.In this case 49.a7 is also winning
49…Kb7 50.Rc7+ Ka8 51.Ka6 1-0

The Lasker Trap is the next lesson in this series of chess lessons.

Chess Queen Fork

Queen Fork Targets

As we have seen in the previous lesson the Queen is one of the pieces that is often involved in these double attacks. Most of the time it is relatively easy to find a square from which the Queen attacks two other pieces. But a double attack isn’t limited to an attack on pieces.

In this tutorial the following targets are distinguished:

  • King: Checking the King is different from all other moves, because the King has to be moved out of check
  • Piece: One or both of the targets can be a Piece.
  • Square: Even a square can be attacked.
  • pawn: Winning a pawn may be enough to win the game.

Let’s look at two examples:

 








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

It is White’s turn to move. In such an endgame the Queen is almost always able to capture the Knight by means of a double attack at the King and the Knight. The move 1.Qe4 looks like a double attack but fails, because of 1…Nf5.

 

Do you see the right move for White?
After 1.Qg1 White will win the Knight.

 








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

The diagram on the left is an example of a double attack on a square and a Piece. The involved square is h8 and the attacked Piece is the Knight on a7. White attacks both targets with 1.Qd4.

 

Even in the situation that Black has an additional Rook on h8 this is called an attack on a square and a piece, because only the most important targets are mentioned. And in this case it doesn’t matter that White is attacking a Rook.

Why is this square so important that Black has to give his Knight?

White threatens mate at h8.

So in order to find all the possible Queen forks you have to search for all the undefended Pieces (or pawns), all the possibilities to place the King in check and all the squares that can be used to mate the King.
If you manage to find a fork attacking both the King as well as such a square you have found a mate in two.

 

 

Caro-Kann Defense Opening

ok

 

 

7 Traps in the Caro-Kann

 

Some time ago I promised in the comments to write something about the Caro-Kann. This post shows seven traps in the Caro-Kann with 4.Nxe4. When looking at these traps you’ll probably recognize some of the same themes. Some of the mating patterns are very similar.

 

 

Did you like these traps? Then you will probably also enjoy the other traps on this site. Or you may prefer to read some of the other chess lessons.

The Italian Game

This article will first summarize the most important ideas of the Italian Game after which the diagram will be used to replay the main variations of this opening.

The Italian game is a very popular opening, especially with kids. The opening is played very strict by the Rules for the opening. In this opening both players are trying to gain control over the centre. White tries to accomplish this goal by means of moves like 4.c3 and 5.d4. Black will also try to get his share of the centre or to break up White’s pawns by means of a move like …d5.

For both White and Black it is important to develop the pieces as soon as possible. In addition White will try to aim his Bishop at the weak f7, but in most games White will not be able to start the attack soon enough to catch the Black King in the middle. Both players are going to castle to safety before the attack starts.

Try to place a Rook on the central lines, especially when these lines are open. Eventually this may turn out to be the decisive advantage in the endgame.

Because of the symmetry almost all ideas are also applicable for Black.

 

 

If you want to learn more about this opening I can recommend the articles of The Exeter Chess Club. The index for this opening may be a good place to start.

The lessons on this site continue with some lessons on pawn endgames: the Knight pawnthe Rook pawn and Key squares. After these lessons we will revisit the Italian Game with a Trap in the Italian Game: the Blackburne Shilling Gambit.

 

 

 

5 Responses to “The Italian game”

  1. A key version of the Italian Game is 4. b4!? the Evans Gambit. Called God’s gift to chess, because it makes the Italian game exciting again.

  2. You’re right.
    I am planning to tell something about gambits later.

  3. The Exeter Chess club link is broken.

    Should now be:

    http://www.exeterchessclub.org…..l_ToC.html

  4. @Simon
    I have updated the link. It seemed that the old link was still working, but redirected to the new one.

A trap in the Italian game

 

The Blackburne Shilling Gambit is the name of the chess opening (or in fact a trap in the Italian game) that begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nd4?!
It is also referred to as the Kosti? Gambit after the Serbian grandmaster Borislav Kosti?, who played it in the early 20th century. According to our rules for the opening Black’s third move has to be a bad move.

 

The checkmate is rather nice.

The next chess lesson is about the opposition.

 

I love it! Aah, Queen and Knight working together is just gold. Give us more traps!

 

So my opponent are trying to mate me with this trick!

  1. I notice a lot more players have been trying this against me. For fun I’ve been playing the Bxf7+ line, very fun. Get the 2 pawns for steamrolling and an exposed enemy king. Tournaments I just take N.FYI, for fun I’ve been playing the Nxf7 line of the Petroff for the same reasons.
  2. What about5.Bxf7+ Ke7
    6. Bd5and this prevent Black’s queen from taking the e4 pawn?
  3. After 5.Bxf7+ Ke7
    6.Bd5
    Black first takes the g-pawn
    6…Qxg2
    White has to move the Rook to f1 and Black will play d6 so that Black has to move the Knight from e5.
    7.Rf1 d6 8.Nc4
    Then
    8…Nf3+ followed by something like 9.Ke2 Nxh2 10.Ne3

Fork Tactic

Fork

 

Queen Fork

As we have seen in the previous lesson the Queen is one of the pieces that is often involved in these double attacks. Most of the time it is relatively easy to find a square from which the Queen attacks two other pieces. But a double attack isn’t limited to an attack on pieces.

In this tutorial the following targets are distinguished:

  • King: Checking the King is different from all other moves, because the King has to be moved out of check
  • Piece: One or both of the targets can be a Piece.
  • Square: Even a square can be attacked.
  • pawn: Winning a pawn may be enough to win the game.

Let’s look at two examples:

 








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

It is White’s turn to move.

In such an endgame the Queen is almost always able to capture the Knight by means of a double attack at the King and the Knight. The move 1.Qe4 looks like a double attack but fails, because of 1…Nf5.Do you see the right move for White?
After 1.Qg1 White will win the Knight.








White to move Position after move 0 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

The diagram on the left is an example of a double attack on a square and a Piece. The involved square is h8 and the attacked Piece is the Knight on a7. White attacks both targets with 1.Qd4.Even in the situation that Black has an additional Rook on h8 this is called an attack on a square and a piece, because only the most important targets are mentioned. And in this case it doesn’t matter that White is attacking a Rook.

Why is this square so important that Black has to give his Knight?

White threatens mate at h8.

So in order to find all the possible Queen forks you have to search for all the undefended Pieces (or pawns), all the possibilities to place the King in check and all the squares that can be used to mate the King.

If you manage to find a fork attacking both the King as well as such a square you have found a mate in two.

This series of chess lessons continues with the Elimination of the Defender.

 

Knight Fork

The power of the Knight increases.

As we have seen in the general lesson about forks any piece can create a fork. The Knight fork however is the most common reason for losing material. The unusual way the Knight moves means that knight forks are often overlooked.

If a Knight attacks a Queen, the Queen doesn't attack the Knight.The figure on the left is another way to show the moves of the Knight. The Knight can move to all the squares within the indicated area that can not be reached by a Queen from the position of the Knight. Within this area the Knight and the Queen are complementary pieces.
But this also means that if a Knight is attacking a piece the same piece is always unable to capture the Knight.

Knight forkIn the next figure the Knight is able to check the King on e7 and f6. This means that Black’s Queen can’t be placed on all the indicated squares, because it can immediately be captured or the resulting Knight fork will assure that Black loses his Queen. The same is true for a Rook or an unprotected Bishop.
It is very clear that the influence of the Knight isn’t limited to the original 8 squares.

But if Black places the Queen on a square like a6 or c2 the number of unsave squares for the Rooks is increased again.

For Knight forks the same targets exist as mentioned with the Queen fork.
Do you remember all the targets?
Then try to find the Knight fork in the following diagram.

White to move: Find the Knight forkYou will probably find the Knight fork 1.Nd7 almost immediately, but that is not the right solution, because we can find a much better Knight fork.
You can make the solution visible by selecting the text between the two square brackets.
[ 1.Ng4 attacks the Queen but also threatens the mate in one 2.Nh6. Therefor Black has to defend against the mate 1…h5 after which White can capture the Queen 2.Nxf2 ]

This seems to be a good time for some exercises. Do you want to do some Knight fork exercises or do you prefer the mate in two puzzles.

Knight fork exercises

As we have seen in our lesson about the fork any piece can create a fork, even a pawn or a King. However the most common fork is the Knight fork. The way the Knight moves makes it more likely that the threat is overlooked.

I have created some knight fork exercises, but before trying to solve these it may be a good idea to re-read the lessons mentioned above.

Chess puzzle pieces

If you like some more exercises you may also be interested in the mate in one or mate in two problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pawn Endgame

 

 

The Knight Pawn

 

Endgame with Knight pawn

In the King on the sixth rank we have seen that this kind of endgame with a central or Bishop pawn ahead was won. now we will look at the Knight pawn and later on we will look at the Rook pawn.

[Event “?”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “????.??.??”]
[Round “?”]
[White “?”]
[Black “?”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “6k1/8/6K1/6P1/8/8/8/8 w – – 0 1”]

1. Kh6 Kh8 2. g6 Kg8 3. g7 Kf7 4. Kh7 Kf6 5. g8=Q 1/2-1/2

If the pawn is a b- or g-pawn (a Knight pawn) we have to pay special attention to avoid Stalemate.

 

1.Kh6 is the right move.

( After 1.Kf6 nothing is lost yet, but we have to pay attention because the number of attempts may be limited and a wrong move will result in a Stalemate. 1…Kh7 2.Kf7

( 2.g6+? results in a Stalemate: 2…Kh8 3.g7+ ( 3.Kf7 Stalemate ) 3… Kg8 4.Kg6 Stalemate )

2… Kh8 3.Kg6 Kg8 4.Kh6 Kh8 5.g6 Kg8 6.g7 Nothing can stop the pawn now and White will win the game. )

1… Kh8 2.g6 Kg8 3.g7 Kf7 4.Kh7 Kf6 5.g8=Q 1-0

 

 

Remember that the white King has to move to the edge of the board to help the Knight pawn.

This series of chess lessons continues with the Rook pawn.

 

 

 

The Rook Pawn

Endgame with Rook pawn

We have seen that we had to be careful in the endgame with the Knight game, but the endgame in itself was almost the same. For the Rook pawn, which means a Pawn on the a-file or the h-file, however the endgame is very different. The side of the board provides a natural barrier which nearly always results in exceptional endgame positions.

 

 

 

Note that this endgame was in fact about which King was able to reach the important squares b7 of b8. This kind of squares are called key squares. More about them in one of the next lessons.

I assume that you already have seen the lesson about the Knight pawn. The next chess lesson will probably make it easier to understand this kind of endgames by teaching something about Key squares.

 

2 Responses to “The Rook pawn”

  1. I wrote a tutorial and exercises for this endgame, very useful for anyone trying to master it.

    http://blog.chess.com/likesforests/final-moves-2

    White’s king is 3 tempi from b7, while Black’s king is 3 tempi from c8. So whoever moves first wins. To solve complex endings, one must first learn to solve simple ones near-instantly.

  2. By “wins” I meant “gets the best result”.