Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Welcome to Sir Piño, and update on Circles

Welcome to the newest Knight Errant, Sir PiƱo. He is using the books upon which the program Tasc Chess Tutor are based. Please give him a Knight's welcome and update your sidebars!

For my circles, I'm doing 10 problems a day in Phase 4 of Chess Tactics for Beginners. The problems are significantly harder than Phase 3. Take this position, for instance (black to move):

I spent about 10 minutes on this problem, trying to figure out a way to use a check to do some plastic surgery on the position so I could get his queen. But it is a draw (solution below). Fritzing it confirms this. In a real game, I'm frankly not sure I'd try to draw in this position. I'd probably bomb by trying out some tactics. What cues are there that this should be a draw? Black is down a pawn, and white has some long-range pieces aimed kingside. But black has the Knight, which could be an advantage especially given that all the pawns are clustered on one side of the board. On the other hand, white's bishop is very active and can gobble up black's pawns if black isn't careful. Am I missing anything?

The correct answer is 1...Qc6+ 2. Kf5 Ng7+ 3. Bxg7 Qg6+ and then whatever white does, it's a draw.


Blogger Christian said...

With a pawn down and reduced material and no obvious tactic you must never try to win. Whenever you find a forcing way do draw you should take it. In earlier days I have paid hard to learn this lesson.

3/27/2007 04:07:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is a tough problem because we are usually looking for some kind of brilliant tactic to win the Queen or lots of material.

When I was doing CT-ART, there were very few drawing problems so when I came a cross them, I was always in a material gain frame of mind and I seldom looked for draws.

In fact, there were many problems that I ran into that seemed desperate but often were a win, so that made it even more confusing.

3/27/2007 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Hey BDK,

That particular problem drove me NUTS my first several times through the CTB circles. Even after I got to the point of recognizing it when I came to it, I could never remember whether my queen was supposed to check at b7 or at c6.

I'm happy to say that I did finally muscle through by slowing down and taking a few minutes to think it through every time I ran into it.

I found that it was helpful in stages 4 and 5 (which have drawing problems) to do a quick material check before starting each problem. I knew that if I was down material it almost always had to be either a mate or a draw, it was usually not a material winning problem.

3/27/2007 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Montse said...


If you look to the pawns + King solely (and leave out the pieces) you will see that black's pawn are stalled. No movement. White's king is very near and also even with a black king defending his pawns (rear pawn)in a king + pawn ending this position is lost for black. White's king can outplay Black's king. the rear pawn has to fall. there is no immediate breakthrough for black ( pawn speaking). So his play is focussed on his pieces. His pieces have no immediate target for the white pawns (except Qb7 but countered by Qe8) and also white pieces are so situated that they immediately form a threat to the black king as the black king is exposed to white's attack. Black cannot permit his queen to go on adventure to the white side as the black's knight needs to be defended. Also the white Q would be wrongly placed as it takes black too long to remove and Queen his pawns. There is no immediate tactic to win a piece or go for mate.

You should always keep in mind when pawns are blocked that the likelihood for a forced draw becomes more real as the only things that moves are your pieces.

3/27/2007 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Good points all. Montse: I can't believe I neglected how much more activity white's king has!

3/27/2007 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Pearson said...


While I'm not a True Knight I too am questing for chess improvement, recording my thoughts at Robert Pearson's Chess Blog and following your fine blog with interest. Added you to my links today.

Best Regards,


3/27/2007 07:36:00 PM  

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