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White to Play

Pete Tamburro on

Published in Chess Puzzles

I took this position from a beginner’s book, Attacking the King, by J.N. Walker. I’ve found it useful to find teaching examples. One diagram captured my interest. It’s one of those situations when the opposing king “steps out” and the question arises, “How do we get this king mated?” Even the game given has flaws the author didn’t notice. Sometimes that wandering king can escape because the attacker misses the best move. However, the game is very useful because the attacking principles to snare a king are illustrated very well.

The game starts out with1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Nc3 [Better is 5.e5]5...Nxe4 6.Bxf7+ This sacrifice shouldn't work here. 6...Kxf7 7.Nxe4 d5 Easier is 7...Rf8 known as castling by hand. 8.Ne5+ Ke6 Black can find safety and win with 8...Kg8. And now we reach the diagram. Can you figure out the whole mating line in your head? Have you some semblance of a plan? Think about it for a while. If this happened in a game and you missed it, you would feel awful.

9.Qg4+ Kxe5 10.d4+ Kxd4 11.c3+ Ke5 12.Qxf4+ White makes a mistake here. The best line is 12.Bxf4+ Kxe4 13.Qh5 Bg5 (13...g5 14.0–0–0 Kf5 15.Rde1 Kf6 16.Bxg5+ Kg7 17.Bh6+ Kg8 18.Rhf1 Bf5 19.Qxf5 Bg5+ 20.Bxg5 Qe8 21.Rxe8+ Kg7 22.Qf6#) 14.0–0 Bxf4 15.Rxf4+ Kxf4 16.g3+ Ke3 17.Re1+ Kd3 18.Qe2# but we follow the line in the book 12...Ke6 13.0–0 dxe4 Black can escape with 13...Kd7 14.Qf5+ Kd6 15.Rd1+ Kc6 16.Qxe4+ Kb6 17.Be3+ Bc5 18.Qb4+ Ka6 19.Qa4+ Kb6 20.Bxc5+ Kxc5 21.b4+ Kc4 22.Qb3+ Kb5 23.a4+ Kb6 24.a5+ Kb5 25.Qa4+ Kc4 26.b5+ Kxc3 27.Rac1+ Kb2 28.Rc2# That ending was, though a gift at move 13, very instructional. Note how White keeps cutting off the king’s retreat squares, both to go back and sometimes to go sideways. The rooks became very useful then. And White didn’t stop to pick up the black queen either. It’s all about mate. Worth playing through the whole game.

Send questions and comments to PTamburro@aol.com.