Deflection is a tactic that forces a piece of your opponent to leave the square, row or file where it has to remain, because it is needed there to defend something. This chess term is rather similar to luring, but in luring a piece has to be positioned at the right square to enable an attack while in deflection there is a (double) attack, but the defender has to be moved away in order to be successful.
Trying to promote can be seen as a kind of attack.

The following diagram is a nice example of deflection.

White to move Position after move 52 0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture

White threatens to promote the pawn, but then Black’s rook will capture the queened piece. Even worse: Black is also threatening to capture the pawn.
Happily for White he is able to play 53. Rg5 which prevents that the pawn can be captured (An absolute pin) and Blacks best move will be 53…Rxg5 after which Black will be able to promote 54. d8=Q.

If Black reacts to 53.Rg5 with the move 53…Kc6 then the next moves are 54.Rxd5 Kxd5 55.d8=Q+ wih an easy win for White (See mating with the queen).

In the next lesson we are going to storm the castle.


Zugzwang is a position in which every move would make the position worse, and the player that has to move would be better off if he could pass and not move at all. But in chess no such thing as skipping a move is allowed. You are forced to move.

In the picture above whoever has to make a move loses.

We have seen some examples of zugzwang before:

  • The Trébuchet was in fact a lesson about the mutual zugzwang.
  • The game Fischer – Taimanov (1971) contains some zugzwangs.
  • Opposition can be seen as an example of Zugzwang.
  • And in fact most of the endgames that we have discussed before, like the mating with the rook, make use of this zugzwang concept.
  • Most of the time it is an advantage that it is your turn to move, but sometimes it is a very serious disadvantage. In chess this is known as Zugzwang.This word Zugzwang originates from the German and means something like “forced to move”. It is your move and in chess you have to move since you are not allowed to skip a move in chess.
    Zugzwang isn’t something that happens to you. The concept can also be used by making a move which puts your opponent in zugzwang.
    Getting the opposition is in fact a way to get your opponent in zugzwang. Another famous technique is triangulation in which you reach the same position, but with your opponent to move.

    In some positions whoever is to move is in zugzwang. This kind of postions are referred to as mutual zugzwang or reciprocal zugzwang and are often very interesting postions to study, because these are a kind of balanced positions.

    8/8/8/3pK3/2kP4/8/8/8 w – – 0 49

    A famous example of this reciprocal zugzwang, called trébuchet, is shown in the figure above.
    The player that has to move loses the game. The pawn has to be abandoned. The other player will capture this pawn and is also able to occupy a key square.

    If you like to view the replayable moves belonging to this diagram you can find these at the end of this article.In all four diagrams below Black is able to win the game, because he is able to force his opponent in this famous Zugzwang.

    8/8/8/1k1pK3/3P4/8/8/8 b – – 0 48

    8/8/8/3pK3/3P4/3k4/8/8 b – – 0 48

    8/8/8/3pK3/3P4/1k6/8/8 b – – 0 48

    8/8/7p/4p2K/4P3/k1P5/8/8 b – – 0 42

    Let’s have a look at the last diagram and replay some of the moves.

    42… Kb3 43.Kxh6 Kxc3 44.Kg6 Kd3! Triangulation

    ( 44… Kd4?? would be a serious mistake 45.Kf5 The Trébuchet with Black to move )

    45.Kf5 Kd4 The Trébuchet with White to move 46.Ke6

    ( A move like 46.Kg4 won’t help either 46…Kxe4 47.Kg3 Ke3 reaching a key square )

    46… Kxe4 47.Kf6

    ( 47.Kd6 Kd4 48.Ke6 e4 )

    47… Kf4 48.Ke6 e4 and nothing can stop the pawn 0-1

    In the next lesson we will start with the first lesson about the checkmating with Bishop and Knight.

Next lesson: Make a plan.

teach something more about queens gambit

Some lessons about the Queens Gambit have been planned for the future.
Have you already seen the post about the Elephant Trap which is a famous trap in the Queen’s Gambit Declined.

Philidor position – The third rank defense

The third rank defense is the most important defense in the king and rook versus king, rook and pawn endgame. A lot of people refer to it as the Philidor position, but this name is also used for some other endgame positions.
There is already a lot of information about this position available on the internet, for example in the Philidor position on Wikipedia and I will limit this post to some additional information which probably helps to really understand this position.

First of all it is important to understand that the weaker side strives to capture the pawn or to exchange the rooks while being in a position that the pawn can be stopped. Therefor it is needed to be familiar with the single pawn endgame and the key squares. However the most important part of this endgame is creating a possibility to start a never ending king hunt by the defending rook which also results in a draw.

The third (or sixth) rank defense can be summarized as:

  • The black rook is keeping the white king away from the sixth rank.
  • As soon as the pawn moves to the sixth rank the defending rook has to be moved back
  • starting a kind of king hunt with distant checks
An illustrative example:

ChessX 0.8

About a month ago version 0.8 of ChessX has been released, so the development of ChessX seems to continue. However most of the improvements are bugfixes, though the graphic interface has also been simplified for the user. Adding an engine for analysis is easier than ever, and now it has become possible to visualize other variations besides the main line.

This new release still doesn’t have a Native Database Format that is probably needed to make it usable with large databases as mentioned in our ChessX 0.6 post, but it may be a very interesting multi platform alternative if you only want to store your own games

Evergreen Game

The evergreen game is (like the immortal game) another famous chess game from Adolf Anderssen. The game was played against Jean Dufresne in 1852 and can also be found in the ICOFY database that we have used during one of our previous lessons. The name evergreen means something like “Forever Young”.
The whole game can be replayed below, but I think that the most interesting part of the game are the last moves starting from the position in the diagram below.


White to move
Position after move 20
0 half-moves after last pawn advance or capture


This is a mate in four exercise. Can you solve it, or do you have to look at the full game?
The mating pattern is rather nice.

White to move

4. … Bxb4

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 The Evans Gambit Accepted

5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.O-O This can be considered as the main line

7… d3

( The move 7… d3 is probably not an appropriate response. The moves 7…dxc3, 7…d6 and 7… Nge7 are played more frequently. )

8.Qb3 Qf6 9.e5 Qg6 10.Re1 Nge7 11.Ba3 b5?!

( 11… O-O is far more safer )

12.Qxb5 Rb8 13.Qa4 Bb6 14.Nbd2 Bb7

( 14… O-O can be played again [Not at the previous move] )

15.Ne4 Qf5? 16.Bxd3 Qh5 17.Nf6+

( 17.Nd6+ cxd6 18.exd6 is better )

17… gxf6 18.exf6 Rg8 19.Rad1 Qxf3? 20.Rxe7+ Nxe7? and now the game is over and out 21.Qxd7+ Kxd7 22.Bf5+ Ke8 23.Bd7+ Kf8 24.Bxe7# 1-0

Are you already familiar with the Immortal Game or do you want to proceed with revisiting the Pin.

How not to play the … ?

During the previous lessons we have created some opening reports as well as an opening analysis of the Lolli attack. We have done this while learning how to use a chess database in general and ChessDB in particular. But by creating this opening analysis we are looking for the good games, in fact almost always ignoring the bad games. And these games contain a lot of chess lessons to be learned, especially when these are you own games. But even when you know the right moves it has to be interesting to know why. In other words to know why the other moves are bad.

For example when we look at the opening report of the Lolli attack we notice that Black succeeded in winning eight of the games and by now we now that White must have done something wrong during these games.

The exercise of this lesson is to figure out why White lost the game for each of these eight games.

As an example I have added some annotations to one of these games (the game Jacko, Tomas – Smistik, Milan) leaving you with seven games to annotate by yourself.




Next chess lesson is about Luring.

Key Squares

One way of making it easier to play the endgame is by using the concept of key squares. Key squares are squares that you have to occupy with your King. If you succeed in doing so you will win the game, regardless who’s turn it is to move.
A pawn who has not reached the fifth rank has three key squares that are located two ranks in front of the pawn, as indicated by the diagram below. This rule doesn’t apply for the wing pawn.

Black can also make use of the knowledge of the key squares. If he is able to prevent that the opposing king can reach the key squares the game will result in a draw as long as the pawn is within reach of this King, according to the pawn square rule.

8/8/4k3/1xxx4/8/2P1K3/8/8 w – – 0 1

In the diagram above White wins by simply playing Ke4.

The pawn on the 4th rank or below has 3 key squares, but as soon as the fifth rank is reached three key squares are added. Therefor the pawn on the 5th rank or higher has six key squares and in the right diagram below the position is won by White even when it is White’s turn to move. With Black’s turn to move White will even win the game on a rank below.


2k5/1xxx4/1xxx4/2P1K3/8/8/8/8 w – – 0 1

2k5/8/2K5/2P5/8/8/8/8 w – – 0 1

For a wing pawn (Rook pawn) the key squares are located on b7 and b8 (or g7 and g8 for the h-pawn)

1x1k4/1×6/2K5/8/P7/8/8/8 w – – 0 1

In all the diagrams above the white King is able to reach a key square and win the game. Looking back at the previous lessons of the pawn endgame: the King on the 6th rank, the knight pawn and the rook pawn this kind of endgames are probably easier to play by now. Just look at the key squares.

An overview of all chess lesson can be found at the chess lessons index. The next lesson will be about a trap in the Italian game.

Looks like you have a typo below the top diagram. Where it states, “In the diagram above White wins by simply playing Kd4,” that is not correct. Kd4 throws away the opposition (and the win). Correct is Ke4.


You are right and I have corrected it.
Playing Ke4 enables White to reach one of the key squares.


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

In one of the previous lessons we have learned about the double attack. But sometimes your opponent will be not so cooperative that he is positioning his pieces in such a way that you are able to attack two pieces at the same time.

With a supporting Knight on c7, d6, f6 or g7 instead of on g4 White should be able to make a successful double attack with the move Re8+.

While looking at the position of this diagram and realizing that White is also able to attack both the King and the Queen at the same time if the Queen can be lured to e8 it becomes rather clear what’s the right move for White.


Like the double attack can be seen as a capture in two, this kind of luring can be seen as a double attack in two.

Magnus Smith Trap

The following lesson shows both the Magnus Smith Trap as well as that you don’t have to resign because according to theory you are in trouble. Your opponent has to prove that he is able to win the game.
Ivanovic Bozidar (2443) – Tosic Miroslav (2489), 2004

4 Responses to “Magnus Smith Trap”

  1. Hi,

    What a great game!! hope u will continuously write this type of post.


  2. Very good post!! I frequently use the sicilian dragon and this was very instructive. I would like you to consider caro-kann defense, french defense exchange variation and grunfeld defense. Thank you.

  3. Hi ChessTeacher! Could you please show me how could I configure the replayer?

  4. No, because the replayer plugin is still unfinished and unavailable.
    Probably later

Mortimer Trap

In this lesson I will show you the Mortimer trap, also known as the Mortimer Variation of the Berlin Defense.

White to move

4. … Ne7?!

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3

( Today 4.O-O is played far more frequently )

4… Ne7?!

This is the Mortimer Variation of the Berlin Defense. It’s not a good move, but it sets a trap and the capture of the black pawn on e5 may be very tempting for White.


( 4… d6 5.c3 is a more normal continuation )


( Even after 5.O-O Ng6 6.d4 c6 7.dxe5 Nxe4 Black is not without chances. )

5… c6! 6.Nc4

( 6.Ba4 Qa5+ 7.Nc3 Qxe5 )

( 6.Nxc6 dxc6 7.Bc4 Ng6 )

( 6.Nxf7 Probably White’s best move 6…Kxf7 7.Ba4 )

( 6.Bc4 Qa5+ 7.Nc3 Qxe5 )

6… d6! 7.Ba4 b5 This move forks the white bishop and knight and wins a piece

The next lesson is about the Immortal Game, but you may also be interested in the previous lesson about the Kieninger Trap.

6 Responses to “Mortimer Trap”

  1. I have written about The Mortimer Trap on my blog (or go direct to the analysis page).

  2. Nice addition
    I’ll see that you describe the variation with 6…d6 7.e5?!

  3. Odd, are you sure it’s really a hook with the knight? what if the “hooked” white knight moves to d6?

  4. @Anonymous

    After 8.Nxd6+ the game probably continues with 8…Qxd6 9.Bb3 Ng6 which is even better for Black

  5. After 6… Nc4 why are people ignoring the move Ng6! e5 Nd5 Ba4 b5. Also in lines where white doesnt play Nxe5 Ng6 is key for black defending e5 and covering f4 and letting the dark squared bishop into the game.

  6. @Davey

    I think that the mentioned variation shows Black’s advantage more clearly than variations like 7.e5 Nd5 8.Nd6+ Bxd6 9.exd6 cxb5 10.Qf3 (after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Ne7 5.Nxe5 c6 6.Nc4 Ng6) but I agree that 6…Ng6! is just as good as 6…c6!.