Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tough circle 4 problem

[Revised 11am 4/25/07]

White to move:

Note that there are a couple of responses by black to consider. You get 20% credit if you get the obvious solution, 80% if you get the less obvious move, 100% if you calculate both. The solution is in the comments to this post.

If I could consistently get tactics like this in real games, I'd be happy with my chess play. I'm very glad I am using Chess Tactics for Beginners (CTB) rather than CT-Art, as CTB Level 4 is just at the edge of my zone of proximal development (which, if you believe Vygotsky's educational theory, is right where I should be). What is nice about CTB is that it slowly progresses up to these problems after starting out with lots of mate in one. I predict if I could get tactics like these regularly, I'd be rated 1500 to 1600 ICC in this crazy time-sink of a game.

In the cold light of morning, I see this problem really isn't particularly hard tactically: it just involves thinking ahead to quiescience four moves, considering checks, captures, and threats on each step, which is more of a problem in analysis than tactics. Tiredness always leads to shoddy analysis for me, and I was fighting to stay away when solving problems last night. I can recognize patterns just fine when tired, but thinking ahead becomes a chore.


Blogger BlunderProne said...

With out scrolling down, I picked up Qxf6 right away because of the gxf6 followed by the discovered attack on the queen after teh rook check.

I have half way through a tour on the level 30 in CT-art and see a lot of these "Queen picks up a piece" followed by either a discovered attack on the queen or a Knight fork checking hte queen and king.

When I approach a problem like this ( and during a game) I look for the "seeds of tactical distruction". Here, the Bishop has the potential for a discovered attack on the queen once the rook moves. Once I see that, I look for ways to exploit it through a series of forced moves.

4/25/2007 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

BP: I've been trying to focus on the seeds I missed for each problem I got wrong.

For this problem, I got Qxf6 right away, and I saw the discovered attack with the Bishop. That kind of tactic is within my means at this point. I added to the post, you get 20% if you saw that.

However, it was after black responded 1...Qxe4 rather than gxf6 that I got stuck, and I hadn't even entertained Qxe4 as a response from black.

4/25/2007 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

White plays
1. Qxf6

The less obvious solution:
1. ... Qxe4
2. Qxf7+ Rxf7
3. exf7+ followed by 4. Bxe4!

The obvious solution:
1. ... gxf6
2. Rg4+ Kh8
3. Bxe4!

4/25/2007 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

It's hard to calculate material while doing imblanced exchanges. Try to keep in mind that from teh start of the "seed" you are up materially. You also have a second advantage, initiative. If you combine that with the fact you are making a forcing move ( like the Qxf7 check followed by hte exf7 check), the temporary "loss" of material during the calculation might be better justified.

I hope that makes sense. That's kind of how I try to look at problems like these.

4/25/2007 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger Loomis said...

It's good to see that some things haven't changed -- there are still hardworking people sharing their good ideas. And it's good to see that some things have changed -- this looks like a much tougher problem than the ones I recall you solving a few months ago, even if you only got the "obvious" solution. Just the fact that you now find that 4 move combination to be obvious is quite telling of your improvement.

4/26/2007 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Great to see you back, loomis!

4/26/2007 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cratercat said...

Woohoo, nice problem. I called it right too as I seem to recognize discovery attacks easier than the other tactical motifs (discovery of the bishop attacking the queen with the rook check). I'm a bit surprised this is a level 4 problem as I'm right now working my way through level one and don't feel too much of a leap here. BTW- I love your reference to Vygotsky! I learned all about him in my MA program in Education. The good ol ZPD. We actually had a group of teacher intern musicians at the time who decided to name their band "zone of proximal development" (chuckles) It's good that you sense where your zone is so that it's neither too easy or difficult.

4/26/2007 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Crater: you must mean there isn't a leap from level 1 of CT-Art to here, as CTB level 1 is solely mate in 1 problems.

CT-Art level 10 is about the level of level 4 of CT-art (I think level 4 (out of 5) of CTB is just a wee bit harder than CT-art level 10 (I get around 80% on ct-art level 10 and 70% on CTB level 4)).

Glad you liked the Vygotsky reference :)

4/26/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

ok, either you deleted my comment, or i am insane (or, quite possibly, both)...but i commented, i know it....

i liked the problem, got the obvios solution, but it teaches me that there are other, possibly better ways to do things and i need to take my time....

4/26/2007 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well, I started looking at the exf7 but that led no where, so then I looked at e7, but again a dead end, so then I looked at 1.Qxf6 gxf6 2.Rg4+, quiesced, went back and looked at the exf7 again, abandoned that and then went back to the 1.Qxf6 line and saw 3.Bxc6

I didn't actually look at the Qxe4 response but when I saw your comment I worked out the solution (without peeking!).

4/26/2007 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Chessloser: maybe it was another blog, or you didn't hit 'publish.'

J'adoube: I missed the Qxe4 response. Good practice for thinking of all reasonable responses for me.

4/27/2007 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger Justin said...


4/27/2007 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Cratercat said...

ahh, I see why BDK. I didn't read closely enough. You weren't referring to the problem as a ct-art problem, which I assumed it was when in fact it was a ct for beginners. That it explains it. Sorry for my oversight.

4/27/2007 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger likesforests said...

My initial reaction: gxf7+ looks good if Kxf7 but not so good if Rxf7. 1.Qxf6 gxf6 2.Rg4+ Kh8 3.Bxc6 seems like a winner, netting a knight.(If exf6, Rxa4.. and we're in a good position to make mating threats)

Chess Tactics for Beginners, huh? I have CT-ART and seem to be able to solve problems, but it takes me awhile. Maybe a step backward would be a step forward. Hmmn.

4/28/2007 03:09:00 AM  
Blogger likesforests said...

Qxe4!? Good one. :)

4/28/2007 03:15:00 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/28/2007 04:28:00 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

Maxwell843 said...
I enjoy your blog...was just wondering if u would be up for a game agaisnt a fellow chess blogger?
my blog is

just email me and I'll get back to you. email:

Play 1. d4 and you too can rule the universe

4/28/2007 04:31:00 AM  
Blogger transformation said...

why arent there more than 17 comments here? what a disappointment!

seriously, we need an aggregator and you are it BDK. my last post, is my NE PLUS ULTRA. i explicated all kinds of ICC comparitive data, in objective form, quantitatively. you are one of the unique readers i most sincerely comes by to visit.

anyone heard from tempo? i emailed him twice in an otherwise nice dialogue, even during his hiatus. we had established that being away from blogger didnt necessarily mean away from friends. himmmm? and one of those emails was a full on dk spiritually, personally oriented not short email. himmm?

nice work BDK, warmly, david

4/30/2007 02:46:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

DK: I'll have to read that when I have a little time. It needs an abstract. Heck, it already has methods, results, intro. Just provide an abstract at the beginning with the main take-home message, and it will be a research paper proper :)

I'm only kind of kidding. Reading through that tome I kept thinking: what are the main conclusions. THIs is all methods. What is the upshot. With that at the beginning, more people will read the post. Research shouldn't be presented like a mystery, where you find out the result at the end. Present the main results up front and then people will better know what they are reading through.

4/30/2007 09:31:00 AM  

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