We’re looking at decision making when confronted with a position. Interestingly enough, most chess decisions are not “to win” or “to mate” or even “to draw.” Most decisions are how to stay in the game or how to create some chances so you can get to a winning position. One of the games I played last week had something to do with that. We arrived at this position. White has just played 9.Qa4 so the bishop wouldn’t have to move because of the loss of a rook. Again, there are several good moves here, but I decided on one, because that’s all you get!
A reader sent me an email asking for suggestions on how you should think to solve these puzzles. Was there some sort of system? This was my answer: For mating attacks it's recognizing certain patterns that are possible: Anastasia mate, back rank mate, Boden mate, etc., that I have spent a lot of time on in this column. For just "winning" the general rule is to look for checks, captures and forced moves. There are a whole bunch of themes with that, too: deflection, decoy, discovered attack, forks, exposing the king, interference, line clearance, the overworked piece, etc. We've done that as well in the column. I don't always bunch them. My best suggestion is to purchase the "Chess Training Pocket Book" by Lev Alburt. He has all his positions categorized in an index at the end. If you go through all 300 positions, you'll find yourself recognizing more and more patterns. This past week I played three games that caused me to think about my answer. How would I explain why I did what I did? Here’s one position that arose. There are several good moves here. See if you can figure out what I did and why.
OK, our last one this week of miniature compositions is deceptive and tough. White’s lost, right? Well, according the the first prize winning composers, G. Popov and Z. Kadrev, White can salvage the draw. Now, if you look carefully at the diagram, you must realize that there’s only one way to manufacture a draw here. Can you figure out their idea, and does it work?
Here’s another miniature study with the same difficulty: how do you get that pawn to the promotion square. It may look easy, but composer F. Prokop shows us that it takes a bit of finesse. Let’s see if you catch it.
This is composed study week with the theme being a small number of pieces and pawns on the board. Today’s composition by L. Prokes is a very practical set up. White wins, but how? It looks like 1.Kxe7 only draws because of 1…Bxe5 and 1.d6 exd6 isn’t promising. What to do….
This, our last visit to the Lodz Chess Club of 1910, exhibits several of the sins of amateurs. White has apparently tried a two pawn and queen attack against Black, who has just methodically placed all his pieces on good central squares. This is in contrast to White who still has his bishop and rook sitting on their original squares and a knight not doing much of anything. So, in our game Kanel-A. Mund, how did Mr. Mund punish this sinner?