29 May 2012

Lesson of the Week

Overworked Piece

I suspended my weekly posts of "Lesson of the Week" in late April. The chess teams that I coach meet October through April, ending with the Washington State Elementary Chess Championship, where one of my teams placed 21st in the team standings. But, one lower elementary club and my Home Link classes continue to meet through this week. These students, too, get regular instruction. I have continued to prepare one or more lessons each week even though I have not posted them.

This week's lesson, the last until late-September or early-October (except for those receiving private lessons), concerns an overworked piece. The position comes from one of my online games against a much weaker player. Despite the low rating, my opponent demonstrated some fundamental knowledge of tactics. He or she did make a fundamental opening error, albeit one that I deliberately employ in blitz: knowing that one has a positional advantage can increase the difficulty in a three-minute game.

Our game began:

1.e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 d6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 e5 6.Nxc6?

Black to move

This positional error gives Black a strong mass of center pawns that often steamroll White's position. Our game went in another direction. However, that's not the lesson for the youth. Rather, a fundamental tactical motif is this week's focus.

After 19.Qg3, we reached this position with Black to move.

White's queen defends the rook on f4 and the knight on c3. It is overworked. Thus, 19...Bd4+ wins the knight. 20.Kh1 Rxf4 21.Qxf4 Bxc3-+. A few moves later, White faced unavoidable checkmate threats and resigned. The final position is posted in "Training Log."

1 comment:

  1. That's a great teaching example for tactics, especially because of the illusory "obvious" move ...Be5 which fails to Rxf7. One of the things I'm working on is seeing the broader candidate move possibilities, rather than just what looks good/obvious initially.