Thursday, July 25, 2013

my favorite lessons, part 5: attacking and practice in calculating

This position is stolen from Coakley's green book, the chapter "Castles Made of Sand." I use it to talk about how to attack.
    I explain that you normally need one of two things to have a successful attack: either open lines toward the opponent's king, which sometimes happens because you've moved your pawns, and sometimes happens because they've moved their pawns, or more of your pieces attacking the king than enemy pieces defending it. I explain that some players like to attack the king in any position, but it is only a good idea if you have one of these two advantages. This means that if you really want to attack, you have to start by either bringing pieces over towards the kingside, or pushing your pawns to open lines, or somehow getting your opponent to move the pawns in front of their king.
    I ask the class first to brainstorm possible first moves, and ask them to start with forcing moves: moves that are either
1. checks,
2. captures, or
3. threats of checkmate.
After they list all they can (usually 1... Rxh2, 1....Qh5, 1....Qe5/d6, 1...Nxf2), I ask also for any moves that bring more pieces towards the black king. Usually I get two answers to this: 1... Rdg8 and 1...Nf4. This gives us an opportunity to talk about how the former is more effective, as the knight is already participating in the attack, hitting f2 and f4, and preventing the queen from moving along the third rank to defend.

There are a number of wins in this position that you can explore with your students:
  • 1...Rxh2 2. Kxh2 Qh5+ 3.Kg1 Rh8 4. any Qh1/2
  • 1...Rdg8 2.Bxd3 Rxg2+ 3.Kxg2 Qg5+ 4.Kh1 Qh5;
  • 1...Qh5 2.h3 Rdg8 3.Kh2 (3.Bxf7 Qxh3) 3...Rxg2+ 4.Kxg2 Qxh3+ 5.Kg1 Qh2# (5...Rg8#) ;
  • 1...Qe5 2.h3 Rxh3 3.gxh3 Rg8+ 4.Kh1 Qf5 5.Kh2 Qf4+ 6.Kh1 Qf3+ 7.Kh2 Qg2#
    • 2.g3 Qh5 3.h4 Qxh4 4.gxh4 Rdg8+ 5.Kh2 Rxh4#;
    • 2.f4 Qd4+ 3.Kh1 Rxh2+ 4.Kxh2 Rh8+ 5.Kg3 Qg7#)

1 comment:

Kaitain said...

Is the color flipped around in this example, or am I misunderstanding something? It isn't mentioned whether or not the player/pupil is playing as black or as white. The possible moves discussed seem to be for black, but the text refers to e.g. "[bringing] more pieces toward the black king", but it's black making these moves, putting to pressure to bear on the white king.