Saturday, April 21, 2007

The rumors of my death . . . .

Have been greatly exaggerated!

BlueEyedRook lives and more importantly -- still plays chess. I appreciate everyone's concern for me after I disappeared for a couple months, but chess is like a bad drug, you can try to leave it. . . try to ignore it . . . but in the end you just end up coming right back to it. On that note . . .

Still not going to Chess Tactics Server ( to practice your chess tactics? Are you on crack? Or just plain stupid? I can't say it enough -- for any chess amateur serious about improving his or her game, this site is Gold (note the great big capital "G"). Know this site inside and out. What you'll gain from just a few minutes here a day will benefit you more in the long run than probably what you'd learn from 10 full games.

Here's a recent problem I ran across. Hardly Bobby Fischer level stuff here, but it illustrates a good point -- the king makes a very poor defender. Since, it has to often take flight when attacked, it is especially bad at guarding its fellow pieces.

Black is about to play 1... Rxd4?? and make a horrible, horrible error. Do you understand why? In fairness to black, that a4-pawn is sitting unprotected. Sure, the two white rooks are barreling down the d-file on the d8-bishop, but things are cool, correct? The h8-rook is guarding it, as is the black king itself. Everything will be fine if black just goes ahead and snatches that a4-pawn, right? The black king and h8-rook have things under control, right?


As mentioned before (say it with me!) the king makes for a poor defender. White can easily take advantage of this fact. After 1... Rxa4??, white plays 2. Rd7+. Black then plays his only move, 2... Ke8. And then we see black's problem. Because the king has been jostled from its original position, it is now blocking the protection provided to the black bishop by the h8-rook. White not only gets to capture the overwhelmed bishop, but in the end white will gain the h8-rook as well. 3. Rd8+ (See Diagram Left). This leaves 3. . .Ke7 (black's only move) and 4. Rxh8 inevitably to follow.