07 January 2013

Attackers May Defend

I rejected the correct move here because I was looking only at my queen's attacking potential. She also guards against my worries. It is Chess Tempo problem 11926.

White to move

The problem is not difficult, but illustrates the sort of elementary oversight that holds me back. I know the basic tactics motifs well, but frequently miscalculate because I have a tendency to overlook simple stuff.


  1. Rd3-f3-f5-h5 mate looks simple in hindsight, but it is a non-standard tactical opportunity.

    I prefer tactics books now because there is too much of a tendency to disrespect a ChessTempo problem, because the nature of how it's setup and scored and then you see you missed something easy only makes a person think that they are "supposed to be" "knocking these problems down".

    Problems are problems. I don't believe in "blitz problems" per se, but it's easy to get into that mindset.

  2. A good problem. The solution is not at all obvious. The basic motif is double attack against f5 and f6. Taking on f6 is mate and moving to f5 threatens mate in 1. Double attacks like this are not at all common! We could generalise this problem moving a piece to attacking another piece (and/or giving mate) and a square from which we threaten mate. Double attacks like that should be more common, but I cannot recall one.

    I am inclined to think that problem books are better than the usual computer programs, but for different reasons. Good books give solutions for all the relevant defences, not just one. With a book we are encouraged to form the whole solution in our head before looking at the solution. With programs we are encouraged to guess a move at a time, and the pieces move as we enter the solution, which makes visualisation unnecessary. With books White is always at the bottom, so we get practice at visualising tactics from both sides of the board. Programs are easier, and I expect that is why they are popular.