21 February, 2018

Branded !

Examples like this should be burned into my brain, branded onto my left forearm, so I see it whenever I check the time.

It should be there so that I always remember to check all possible moves, or to remember that pawns are also active soldiers in the army of chessmen, 

I am not alone in this since the move I played, believing it to be the only possible winning move, was also the choice of 78% of the 2000 who failed at the problem

Overall, 64% of those who attempted it failed, which is quite something for a problem that appears very straightforward.

I'm sure you, dear readers, will not fail, since there is a big hint here, but spare a thought for those who did, and remember that pawns are more than the soul of the game, but are active players in their own right !

White to move

Solution, if needed

14 February, 2018

Re-focus and find a better move

Probably harkening back to this recent post and a much earlier one, I paid too much attention to the exposed king, which was acting like a beacon to me.

I did think of an alternative, but the initial moves of that didn't seem to work, so I gave it up and went back to the focus on combinations around the King, such Rxd1 or Bxe5 to remove a defender, but these just would not work.

I needed the Queen out of the way so she did not add protection to the d2 square, allowing Bc6.

Returning to one of the alternatives that I had dismissed, which was about pushing the Queen out of the way, I took the calculation further, and the answer was simple, and not to do with an attack on the king.

So, too much time spent on this, 10 minutes compared to the average of 5:38, but happy to know that I realised the king attack was not working and actively looked for something else.

A step forward.

White to play


The game it came from ( see move 45 )

...and maybe a chance to resurrect some more Focus?

Another wonderful  instrumental...

07 February, 2018

Round the Mulberry Bush : White to Play

A sweet problem that feels, initially, that its not quite resolvable, until you see the issues in the defence for Black.

I saw the problem with the Bishop interposition quite early, but it took me another set of calculations to see why interposing the Queen is also a failure.

It always intriguing to see what line the computer will choose, and in this case it went for the game line.

White to play

31 January, 2018

To swap Queens or not ?

I was distracted during this rapid game and lost focus and the exchange.  A few moves later I was back in it due to his inexplicable ( to me anyway) decision not to re-capture a piece.

This gave the initiative back to me and I went for the king, but he had some dogged defensive play and we reached the below position.

I'm ahead on material, so my initial response to Qe5 is to exchange and simplify, but after all the tactics puzzles I do, there must be something on offer ?

Not too hard to find...

White to play
[5r2/p1Q2B2/4p1R1/3pq2p/3p1k2/2P5/PP1N4/2K5 w - - 0 28]

24 January, 2018

White to play : Alekhine - Rubenstein, 1930

Here's something from the past, 1930, San Remo to be exact.

Sometimes, in problems like these I can see the the target but not always work out the way to reach it.

This was the case here.  There are some instant targets available, but if, like me, you focus on the wrong target initially, it can take a while to re-orient to the real one as you just keep trying to make it happen.

White to play

17 January, 2018

Not a Greek gift : White to play

This is a good pattern to recognise...

White to play
 Sadly, although I saw the motif, I took an alternative path to achieve it which was not as sweet, but proved effective.

Solution [ 12.Nxf7 ]