29 March 2018


Checkmate is forced from the first position on the worksheet called Bishop Award: Checkmate and Tactics that I give to my students. The position comes from Maczuski -- Kolisch, Paris 1864. That exercise asks students to find White's fourteenth move and the idea that girds it.

The position below is before White's move 12 in the same game. The forced checkmate is not yet on the board, but White has a winning idea.

White to move

Leave your answer in the comments.

21 March 2018

Speed Kills

Flawed ideas that look clever work only when an opponent is blind due to inexperience or lack of time for calculation. I saw a checkmate pattern from the following position, but relied on my opponent's time pressure.

Black to move

My idea was 27...Rxh3 28.gxh3 Bg1+ 29.Kxg1 Qxh3 with checkmate threatened. White's moves had been forced, but now White has several good moves that ruin Black's idea. Eliminating the pawn on e3, for example, demonstrates that Black's sacrifice of two pieces was rooted in an illusion.

Analysis diagram--White to move
After 29...Qxh3
I focused on 30.Qxc6 and didn't like facing two rooks and two bishops with a rook and queen. Hence, I played 27...Rc8.

27...Rxe5 maintains a clear advantage.

My opponent played 28.Qd4 and was down to 1:13 in a fifteen minute game with no increment.


I begin the unsound combination with 6:20 remaining on the clock.

29.gxh3 Bg1+ 30.Kxg1 Qxh3

Black is completely lost, except for the time. White has 45 seconds; Black 6:16. A good blitz played easily wins from White's position with 45 seconds, but he or she must avoid checkmate.

White to move

White used 25 seconds to play the losing move.

31.e6?? Qh1#

Sometimes, it seems, the clock is my strongest chess piece.

02 March 2018

Ten Seconds

What should White play? It is a blitz game; seconds matter.

White to move