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

 

King on the sixth rank

In the Pawn’s square rule lesson you have learned that one pawn more may be enough to win the game. But if the pawn in itself can’t make it to the other side the king has to assist.

In this lesson you will see that if the assisting King is able to reach the sixth rank in front of it’s pawn the game will be won.

Let’s have a look at the next diagram.

 

 

The next lesson will be about the Italian Game.

 

 

 

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.

Howard Staunton vs Elijah Williams – Staunton – Williams (London 1851)

This game between Howard Staunton and Elijah Williams is very illustrative of the importance of the different kind of oppositions in chess. If you haven’t read the lesson about the opposition it is probably better to read this first.

As you will see Staunton has lost the game, but you have to know that the virtual opposition was something nobody was aware of in 1851. Without these kind of guidelines it is very difficult to play this kind of endgame the right way.
But with all the lessons you have learned in this series the endgame is rather easy to play.

 

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 The French exchange variation 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.O-O O-O 7.Bg5 Bg4 8.c3 c5 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.Nbd2 Nbd7 11.Qc2 Qc7 12.Bh4 Bd6 13.Bg3

( 13.h3 Bh5 is a better alternative for White, but let’s continue with the game, because we want to see the interesting endgame. )

13… Nc5 14.Nd4 Bxg3 15.fxg3 Nxd3 16.Qxd3 Rfe8 17.Rae1 Bh5 18.Qb5 a6 19.Qa4 b5 20.Rxe8+ Nxe8 21.Nxb5 Qc6 22.Qh4 axb5 23.Qxh5 Nf6 24.Qe5 Qb6+ 25.Kh1 Rxa2 26.Qf5 Qe6 27.Qb1 Ra8 28.Qd3 Qc6 29.Qf5 Qe6 30.Qd3 Qc6 31.Nf3 Qc4 32.Qd1 Re8 33.Nd4 b4 34.Nf5 Re6 35.Qf3 bxc3 36.bxc3 Qe4 37.h3 Qxf3 38.gxf3 Re2 39.Nd4 Rd2 40.g4 g6 41.Ra1 Nd7 42.Ra8+ Kg7 43.Rd8 Ne5 44.Rxd5?

( First the Knight has to be driven away 44.f4 Nd3 before capturing the pawn 45.Rxd5 )

44… Nxf3 45.Nxf3 Rxd5 46.Kg2 Rc5 47.Kg3 Rxc3 48.h4 h5 49.g5 f6 50.Kf4 Rxf3+ 51.Kxf3 fxg5

And now the most interesting part of the game starts.

52.hxg5 this is a draw, but White has to play the right moves 52…Kf7 53.Ke3 Ke6 54.Ke4! White has the opposition. 54…Kd6 55.Kd4! White has the opposition, but that is not the only thing he has to assure. White has to stay in the neighbourhood of the pawn on h5, according to the pawn square rule. 55…Kc6 56.Ke5??

Staunton decided to go after the g-pawn, which was a serious mistake. The only move resulting in a draw is 56.Ke4!! and now White has the diagonal opposition 56…Kb6 57.Kd4 Ka6

( 57… h4 will meet 58.Ke4 h3 59.Kf3 h2 60.Kg2 h1=Q+ 61.Kxh1 Kc5 and White’s King will move between g2 and h3 enabling him to occupy g3 as soon as Black captures the pawn 62.Kg2 Kd5 63.Kh3 Ke5 64.Kg2 Kf5 65.Kh3 Kxg5 66.Kg3 and White has the opposition. )

58.Ke4 Virtual opposition 58…Kb5 59.Kd5 Horizontal opposition 59…Ka4 60.Ke4 Distant opposition 60…Kb4 61.Kd4 Kb3 62.Kd3 Kb2 63.Kd2 Kb1 64.Kd1 and the game will result in a draw. 64…Kb2 65.Kd2 Kb3 66.Kd3 Ka4 67.Ke4 Kb5 68.Kd5 Kb6 69.Kd4 Kc6 70.Ke4 Kd6 71.Kd4 and we have seen a lot of oppositions preventing black to capture the pawn.

56… Kc5! 57.Kf6 h4! According to the pawn square rule Black will win the game. 58.Kxg6 h3 59.Kf7 h2 60.g6 h1=Q 61.g7 Qd5+ 62.Kf8 Qf5+ 63.Ke8 Qg6+ 64.Kf8 Qf6+ 65.Kg8 Kd6 66.Kh7 Qf7 67.Kh8 Qh5+ 68.Kg8 Ke6 0-1

 

The next lesson is about the Trébuchet.

The Square Rule

It happens now and then that the only pieces on the board that are left are a pawn and two kings. If you are the player with the king and pawn, you have to move the pawn to the other side of the board and promote it to a queen (or a rook). But in order to do so, you must take care that the pawn isn’t captured by the opponent’s king.

Sometimes the solution is to move the pawn as fast as possible to the opposite site, but you have to be sure that the pawn will not be intercepted. Working all the moves out in your head may be very difficult and time consuming.
There is a very simple rule to determine if the pawn is able to make it to the other side. It is called the Pawn’s square rule.

This lesson is about this Pawn’s square rule.

Starting from the pawn, draw an imaginary diagonal line to the other side of the board. This forms the diagonal line of the square we are looking for.
If the king can get inside the square, the pawn will be captured. If the king can not get inside this square the pawn will promote.

In the diagram above the game will be won by White if it’s White’s turn to move. If it’s Black’s turn than Black will place his King inside the square and the result of the game will be a draw.Starting from the diagram above with White to move:
1.b6 Ke5 2.b7 Kd6 3.b8=Q   1-0
You may want to look how to win this particular KQK endgame.

Starting from the diagram above with black to move:
1…Ke5 2.b6 Kd6 3.b7 Kc7 4.b8=Q+ Kxb8   1/2-1/2

One addition has be made to this rule. If the pawn is still at its starting position it can move two squares on the first move.
In such a case the square has to be visualised as if the pawn is one place ahead.

Let’s have a look at the next diagram. It’s a draw if and only if Black plays 1…Kf3. All other moves lose. White is going to play 2.b4 and Black has to assure that his king can be placed inside the square 2…Ke4.








Black to move Position after move 1 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

There are some other exceptions to the Pawn’s square rule (when other pieces blockade the path of either the pawn or the King), but we will deal with these later.

The next lesson is about the Scotch game, an opening that follows very well our opening rules.

 

 

4 Responses to “The square rule”

  1. Nice explanation. I’m in the process of writing a page on the very same topic. :)

  2. thank you very much
    it is exactly a new idea for me

  3. It is also a useful rule to apply when deciding whether a pawn is safe to leave the others and dash for promotion.

 

A square rule for separated pawns

In general connected pawns are stronger than separated pawns, but there are some exceptions. An opposing King cannot stop the promotion of two pawns when they are separated by one or more files once they have reached the 6th rank, while he is able to stop the connected pawns.

In the next diagram White will be unable to prevent the promotion of one of the pawns and Black will win the game.

 








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

 

A King is also unable to stop the promotion of two pawns when they are separated by two or more squares once they have reached the fifth rank. And the same is true when they are separated by three or more files once they have reached the fourth rank (unless one of them is captured on the next move).

 








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







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

 

This is in fact the square rule for two pawns which follows the square rule of the pawn.

We’ll continue with eight tactical exercises.

8 tactical exercises

Eight tactical exercises (taken from real games) with increasing difficulty

 








Black to move Position after move 7 Castling possibilities: KQkq 3 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







Black to move Position after move 6 Castling possibilities: kq 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

 

 








White to move Position after move 6 Castling possibilities: KQkq 2 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







White to move Position after move 3 Castling possibilities: KQkq 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

 

 








Black to move Position after move 29 5 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







Black to move Position after move 25 1 half-move after last pawn advance or capture

 

 








White to move Position after move 56 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture







Black to move Position after move 22 1 half-move after last pawn advance or capture

 

The next lesson is about the Elephant Trap.

How To Force King To Edge – Driving the King to the edge

Driving the King to the edge with Bishop and Knight.

In the previous lesssons about this endgame we have seen how to drive the King on the edge to the right corner and how to mate the King with only a Bishop and a Knight. Now we will see how to drive the King to the edge.

In the diagram below the starting position of our pieces is far from optimal and gives us something to do. It will take us a lot of moves before we are able to get Black checkmated.

 

 

 

Another method to drive the King to the edge are for example by means of the Deletang’s triangles. Information about this method and a lot of other information about this endgame can be found on the Endgame category page.

In order to pay more attention to the most difficult parts of this endgame I’ll add another lesson named KBN-K revisited.

 

How to force King to right corner

How do you force a king to a corner?

how to drive the king to the edge

How do you checkmate king in the corner

How do you force a king into a corner?

How do you checkmate a king in the middle of the board?

How do you checkmate king in the corner

 

This is the second lesson in the series about the Bishop and Knight mate.
In the previous lesson we have seen how the King could be checkmated with the Bishop and Knight after he has been locked in the right corner. Now we will see how we can drive the King into the right corner after he has been driven to the edge.

Let’s start with a position in which the opponent’s King is in the wrong corner. Now we have to drive the King to the other edge. It is important to realize that with a black squared Bishop the Knight has to be the piece to take away the white squares starting with a8.

 

If you have a subscription to chesslectures.com, Jesse Krai has a nice video on this position. His mating method is slightly different:

1. Be3 Ka8 2. Kc6 Kb8 3. Nb5 Ka8 4. Nc7+ Kb8 5. Bf2 Kc8 6. Ba7 Kd8 7. Nd5 Ke8 8. Bd4 Kf7 9. Nf4 Ke7 10. Kc7 Ke8 11. Bf6 Kf7 12. Bg5 Ke8 13. Kd6 Kf7 14. Kd7 Kf8 15. Ke6 Ke8 16. Nh5 Kf8 17. Be7+ Kg8 18. Kf6 Kh7 19. Kg5 Kg8 20. Kg6 Kh8 21. Ng3 Kg8 22. Nf5 Kh8 23. Bd6 Kg8 24. Nh6+ Kh8 25. Be5#

I think that the section about

8.Kd6 Kf7 9.Ne7 Kf6
The white King seems to escape
10. Be3 Kg7 11. Bg5 Kf7 but now he has been locked up again. The white King has to move to e6, but will first move to d7.
12. Kd7 Kg7 13. Ke6 Kf8

is dealing with this tricky part.

Which (better) moves of the opponent should also be considered?

10…Kg7 is inferior to 10…Kf7, and 15…Kf8 is inferior to 15…Kd8. I felt 15…Kf8 was wrong, so I looked it up. I always practice against a perfect opponent–Nalimov or Rybka (when they miss a “tricky” line, I hand-feed that in).

“is dealing with this tricky part.”

Oh, you do cover it, and so do others. I just wish someone would explain it in a way that was easy to remember. You see, when I don’t practice this mate for a couple months this transition is the only step I struggle with. chesslectures spent a little more time on this step, which made it easier to learn, but still hard to remember. Perhaps I will check Mueller’s advice on this mate.

I also don’t feel my “knowledge of coordinating the bishop and knight” went up significantly by learning this, although that’s often cited as the primary reason to learn it. Heck, I even studied K+N+N vs K+P. ;-)

I agree that 15…Kf8 is inferior, but I thought that the line with 15…Kd8 16.Bb8 Ke8 17.Bc7 Kf8 18.Nf5 Ke8 19.Ng7+ Kf8 20.Kf6 Kg8 21.Kg6 Kf8 22.Bd6+ Kg8 was just more of the same.

Some of the patterns are difficult to describe. You feel that there is a pattern, but what are the rules to follow?

I’ll add an extra lesson to visualize the part you found most difficult.

The mentioned article of Louis Lima gives a lot of additional information.

 

That article by Louis Lima that you pointed to in your first article and again today looks very nice. I also found some interesting ideas in Fundamental Chess Endings… Mueller suggests the knight should move in a “W” pattern while chaperoning the king from the wrong to the right corner. Cheers.

Mating With Bishop and Knight

The mating with Bishop and Knight is the most difficult of the “elementary mates” and sometimes even takes 33 moves, which is the reason that you can only afford some little mistakes before a draw is reached according to the 50 moves rule.
A lot of additional information regarding this mate can be found on Mostly Chess Tactics in the article about The Bishop and Knight Mate, but I will describe a rather easy method to accomplish the mate here on this site in three articles.

I agree with Louis Lima (from the mentioned site above) that mastering this mate can help increase the ability to coordinate pieces in general, which makes it rather usefull to study this mate, despite the fact that it rarely occurs in practical play. Furthermore if you lose a game because you have ignored studying the mate you’ll probably regret it.

It is important to know that the King has to be check mated by the Bishop. Therefor you need to drive the opponent’s King into the corner that is the same coloured square as the Bishop.

Mating the King will take three steps:

  • Driving the King to the edge
  • Driving the King into the right corner
  • The actual mating

In order to be able to learn and understand these kind of endgames the end is always a good starting point. If you know the last step, you know the kind of thing you have to accomplish in the previous step.
In our starting position the King is captured in a small two-squared rectangle by the Bishop and the King. The Knight is free to move.

 

 

Before studying the other two steps it is very important to know this mating moves very well.
The next chess lesson: Driving the King into the right corner.

 

I posted a pawn endgame I’m trying to decipher. If you have any insights, they would be appreciated.

http://likesforests.blogspot.c…..dgame.html

 

The first installment is rather easy–mate in four.

 

(I am rated 1771), it is one of those mates you do need to brush up on the technique occasionally, otherwise one forgets. In fact, I am embarrassed to admit I probably wouldn’t be able to solve it at this very moment if it presented itself!

 

Does anyone know where I can find annotated games on the Scotch Gambit? It looks like an interesting opening, even if Black can easily transpose into the Two Knights or Giuco Piano

I like the Scotch Gambit very much and I have planned to publish some lessons about this opening in the future.I look forward your Scotch Gambit games! Do you recommend any source of annotated games on the Scotch Gambit? The only Scotch Gambit game I’ve ever played was through the correspondence sitehttp://www.schemingmind.com. It was a very hairy game, just waiting for me to slip, crash and burn, but I manage to find a good defensive move towards the end (23.Nf5)

Tender Dragon (1799) – JPT (1710) [C44]
SchemingMind.com, 18.01.2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.c3 Qf6 6.0-0 Ne5 7.Nxe5 Qxe5 8.f4 dxc3+ 9.Kh1 Qd4 10.Qb3 Nh6 11.Nxc3 0-0 12.h3 d6 13.f5 c6 14.f6 Ng4 15.hxg4 Bxg4 16.fxg7 Qxg7 17.Ne2 Rae8 18.Ng3 d5 19.exd5 cxd5 20.Bxd5 Be6 21.Bxe6 Rxe6 22.Qf3 Qg6 23.Nf5 Re5 24.Bd2 f6 25.Rae1 Rfe8 26.Rxe5 Rxe5 27.Bc3 1-0

Tim Harding has written a very nice article about the Scotch Gambit, calleda Glass of Scotch, that contains annotated games.

KBN-K revisited

Based on some of the reactions on the three chess lessons about the mating with Bishop and Knight I decided to add an extra lesson about this mate.

The KBN-K endgame will take three steps:

– Driving the King to the edge
– Driving the King into the right corner
– The actual mating

I will try to make it somewhat easier to remember the moves by adding more diagrams in order to clarify a specific position. The game however can not be replayed on-line and only focuses on the part about driving the King to the right corner.

About this save corner: it is important to know that the King has to be check mated by the Bishop. Therefor you need to drive the opponent’s King into the corner that is the same coloured square as the Bishop.
If the King escapes to his safe corner then, moving the Knight like a “W” (c7-d5-e7-f5-g7) may be something to remember, the Bishop does not allow Black’s escape to the safe corner and the white King steps towards the winning corner on the 6th rank.

I’ll start with the same position as in the previous driving the King to the right corner lesson.

FEN: 1k6/8/1K1N4/6B1/8/8/8/8 w KQkq – 0 1

It is rather easy to drive the King away from this wrong corner, but therefor we have to place the Bishop on a7 and then he is also almost able to escape to the center if he runs to c8, d8, e8, f7 and f6.

1.Nb5 Kc8 2.Kc6 Kb8 3.Nc7 Ka7 4.Be3+ Kb8 5.Bc5

xk2xx2/xxNxx3/2K5/2B5/8/8/8/8 b – – 9 5

This is a very important placement of the white pieces. In addition to the previous lesson I have indicated some of the relevant squares that are taken away from the black King. You can see clearly that the King is captured in a kind of prison.5…Kc8 6.Ba7 Kd8 7.Nd5 Ke8 8.Kd6 Kf7 9.Ne7

8/B3Nk2/3Kx1x1/4xx2/8/8/8/8 b – – 17 9

The white King seems to escape. We’ll have to allow the King to come forward two squares.
This seems to be the most tricky part of the mate. But let’s have a look at the diagram and we can probably predict both Black’s as well as White’s next move.9…Kf6 10.Be3

8/4N3/3Kxkxx/4xxx1/8/4B3/8/8 b – – 19 10

A new prison has been build. Now we will take away the sixt rank.10…Kf7 11.Bg5

8/4Nk2/3Kxxxx/4xxB1/8/8/8/8 b – – 21 11

Black will try to escape to the safe corner.From White’s point of view: The prison looks rather nice, but if the Knight was placed on h4 or f4, it would be even better. (The Knight only has to take care of g6.)

11…Ke8 12.Nf5

3xk3/3xx1x1/3Kxx1x/5NB1/8/8/8/8 b – – 23 12

By moving the Knight away the Bishop takes care of d8 and now the Knight has to take care of g6 again.12…Kf7 13.Nh4

3×4/3xxk2/3Kxxxx/6B1/7N/8/8/8 b – – 25 13

This looks nice (for White). The King will be able to approach.13…Ke8 14.Ke6 Kf8 15.Nf5 Ke8 16.Ng7+ Kf8 17.Kf6 Kg8 18.Ne6 Kh7 19.Kf7 Kh8 20.Bf4 Kh7 21.Nf8+ Kh8 22.Be5# 1-0

 

Now that you know how to look at the squares that are and have to be taken away, you may want to look at the original lessons again.

The next lesson will show some very short Scotch games.

An excellent exposition I wish I had a year ago when I learned this mate!

(Though I have to say I wish I had used that time differently. I know they say that this is useful for learning piece coordination even if it never comes up in practice, but I think there are equally good (for coordination) but more practical positions to focus on, such as mating with two bishops, or even a single rook).

  1. of course, im highly trained in a visual field from long ago in many modalities… which cannot hurt… but, without good readers such as yourself, there is diminished motivation to do so.
  2. I thought you might be interested in a video I made a while ago that explains how to checkmate with bishop and knight vs. the lone king.Here’s the video: http://www.chessvideos.tv/forum/about802.html
  3. I like the video. The ability to talk while pointing at the squares makes it probably easier to communicate some of the main ideas of this mate.
    On the other hand I think that the diagrams in my own post make it easier to remember.
    Probably a combination of both lessons is best.Another method is known as the method of Deletang or Deletang’s triangles and Majnu Michaud has made a nice chess video lesson about this method.

Activity of pieces (Mobility)

Piece activity is one of the most important strategic factors. As we will later see piece activity is not limited to mobility, but also includes other aspects like piece coordination. For this lesson however we focus on the mobility of pieces.

The mobility of a piece is the number of squares to which it can move. You can simply count these squares, but keep in mind that control of the centre and generating threats on your opponent’s side of the board is of greater value. Depending on the chess piece this results in some other sub goals.

Knights have to be centralized. There are several chess aphorisms referring to this principle: A knight on the rim is dim and A knight on the side cannot abide.

Bishops should not be locked behind the pawns of their own color. A Bishop which is hemmed in by pawns of its own color is called a bad Bishop.

Rooks are best placed on open files, but as you may notice the number of reachable squares doesn’t increase by centralizing them, while they become more vulnerable.

One of the goals of the opening is to develop your pieces: increasing their activity. Avoid moving a piece twice during the opening is also a good chess strategy originating from this activity goal. This means that when you have developed a piece, it should not be moved again until the other pieces have been developed.

This series of chess lessons now continues with a lesson about Forks.

Opposition

In the previous lessons we have discussed some pawn endgames and have introduced chess concepts like the King on the sixt rank and key squares. Another very usefull concept is the opposition.
We can distinguish the vertical and the horizontal opposition.
The vertical opposition occurs when two kings face each other on a file with only one square in between. This is the normal opposition and we have seen something from this opposition in the lesson about the King on the sixth rank.
The horizonal opposition occurs when two kings are on the same rank with only one square in between. This is something we have seen before in the lesson about the rook pawn.

In addition to this vertical and horizontal oppsition we also have a diagonal opposition, a distant opposition and a virtual opposition. Concepts like key squares and opposition are strongly related. Having the opposition enables you to occupy a key square.

 

 

 








Black to move Position after move 1 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

Distant opposition


In the distant opposition both kings are on the same file, rank or diagonal, but there is an odd number of squares (3 or 5) in between.
The diagram on the left gives an overview of the vertical distant opposition. Kings in distant opposition will often maneuver to a more simple position of direct opposition. 








Black to move Position after move 1 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

Virtual opposition


In the virtual opposition both Kings are on the same coloured square which are two of the corners of a rectangle with corners of the same colour.
The diagram on the left gives an example. The two corners of the rectangle that are not occupied by the kings are indicated by an x. White has the (virtual) opposition.The virtual opposition is in fact the most generic concept. If the rectangle becomes a square it is called the diagonal opposition. If the rectangle transforms into a line we have the vertical or horizontal distant opposition and if there is only one square between the two kings we have the normal opposition.

In the next lesson we will use the knowledge of the different forms of opposition in a discussion about the endgame in one of the Staunton-Williams games (London 1851).