29 October 2015


Lesson of the Week

With my beginning students this week, I went over one of my favorite miniature games. I.O. Howard Taylor in Chess Brilliants: One Hundred Games (1869) presents this position that he says he had against "a stranger" at the Philidorian Chess Rooms, London, February 1862 (121). He proceeded to deliver checkmate in eight moves.*

White to move
After 5...f6

Some of these beginning students have trouble recognizing check and checkmate, so we carefully went through each position in the game finding all of the possible checks. For each possible check, we looked at Black's possible replies. Most of Taylor's moves leave Black one legal reply.

Taylor -- "A Stranger" [C27]
London, 1862

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Nc3 Nc5 5.Nxe5 f6 6.Qh5+ g6 7.Bf7+ Ke7 8.Nd5+ Kd6 9.Nc4+ Kc6 10.Nb4+ Kb5 11.a4+ Kxb4 12.c3+ Kb3 13.Qd1# 1–0

My advanced students saw this game, as well as Legall -- St. Brie, Paris 1750 (See "A Familiar Pattern" for the game score). Advanced students also saw a third game. This was a bullet game played in less than twenty seconds.

Stripes -- Internet Opponent [C41]
Chess.com, 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 h6 4.d4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Bg4 6.dxe5 Nxe5

White to move

7.Nxe5! Bxd1 8.Bxf7+ Ke7 9.Nd5#

The patterns in Legall's famous game include his checkmate pattern, which could have occurred in Taylor's game had Black played 5...d6. White's pressure against f7 was also emphasized.

To emphasize learning and remembering patterns, all of the games were written on the white board without reference to notes while the students executed the moves on chessboards in from of them. The diagram in my game was presented with the challenge to find the conclusion. Happily, the students did so instantaneously and correctly.

*The one hundred games in his book are games played by the leading masters of his day. Taylor offers positions from his own games in an appendix in the back of the book.

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