Author Archives: AshvinC

Recognising the Patterns : Challenge # 21


This is one of the key endgame patterns that you must know by heart. Silman called this position as “Cat N Mouse” position. I called it “Tom and Jerry” when explaining it to my students so they can remember it easily. In this position whoever has the move will lose. The pawns could be at any file or rank, of course you can’t achieve this position when the pawns are on the rook file.

Now try to solve following problems by recognizing the above pattern:

Hermann Voigt against Emanuel Lasker in 1892 – Black to Move


Q:Black is exchange up, find the quickest way to win this position.
A: Black can win this position by pinning the rook as follows:

80…Rc3

This achieves the Tom and Jerry position on next move by capturing the bishop.

81. Kg4 Rxf3 82. gxf3 Ke3

Achieving the desired position where white will lose the pawn and game by force.

Semen Khanin against Semen Dvoirys in 2014 – Black to Move

Q: In the above position Black played 31…d5 to try to deprive a5 square from Black’s rook. How would you evaluate it?
A: 31…d5 is a blunder while with 31…Kd6 Black would have had better chances to hold the position despite losing the a6 pawn.

31…d5?? 32. g5 Kd6

If 32…Kd7 then 33. Rxf6 wins

33. Rxf6+ Rxf6 34. gxf6 Ke6 35. Ke3 – Kxf6

Despite the material balance Black’s position is hopeless.

36. Kd4 Ke6 37. Kc5 Ke5 38. d4 Ke4

White has achieved the desired position but he must be careful

39. a3!

And not a4 which in fact is winning for black. But after a3 white went on win in few moves.

Ashvin Chauhan

Recognising the Patterns: Challenge # 20

A battery on lines using major pieces is the simplest yet most powerful mating pattern. This pattern is very easy to recognise on files as compare to ranks.

Heikki MJ Westerinen against Gudmundur Sigurjonsson in 1977


Q: You can see that both White’s rooks are bearing down on the g-file. How could you get the most out of this?
A: White can get the maximum from this position by sacrificing his queen in order to open up the g-file.

25. Qxg7!! Kxg7 26. Bd8!

This is the only move that wins the game after the queen sacrifice.

26…Kh8

If 26…Kf7 then 27. Bh5 is checkmate or if 26…Kh6 then 27. Rh3 is checkmate.

27. Rg8!

Again the only winning move.

27…Rxg8 28. Bf6 Rg7

Forced.

29. Bxg7 Kg8 30.Bxd4+

This discovered check followed by Bxb2 wins the piece and the game.

Karpov against Ribli in 1986

Q: White’s last move was Qh2, offering the knight on b5. Is it wise to take it?
A: The knight can’t be taken as White can checkmate down the h file using a double rooks battery. In the game Ribli did take on b5:

52…Rxb5?? 53. Qxh7!! Kxh7

If 53…Kf8 then 54.Qh8 is mate.

54. Rh2+ Kg8 55. Rdh1 f6

The last try, hoping for 56. g6.

56. Rh8

Black choose to throw in the towel here. If 56.g6 then Kf8 is in fact winning for Black.

Alekhine against colle in 1925


Q: White has just captured the knight on g6. How would you recapture the piece?
A: Black has three options to recapture the piece but only one can prolong the fight.

Option A: 29..Qxg6 White can the win the rook and the game with 30. Qxd7!.

Option B: 29…hxg6 This was played in the game but unfortunately it was not the right one. Alekhine’s reply was stunning:

30.Qxd7!!

Anyway!

30…Rxd7 31. Re8+

Not 31. Rc8+ because of Rd8.

31…Kh7 32. Rcc8

Doubling the rooks on 8th rank after which Black has to give up a ruinous amount of material to stop checkmate.

32…Rd8

Hoping for Rcxd8.

33. Rexd8!

Colle resigned as he has to give up his queen to save the game.

I have found that recognising the pattern vertically is very much easy than seeing it applied horizontally.
.
Option C: 29…fxg6 This is the right option which can prolong the fight but White still has considerable winning chances.

Ashvin Chauhan

Recognising the Patterns : Challenge #19

Today, I am going to discuss the simplest yet very useful and quite common pattern in practice. It is the queen & bishop battery checkmate. This pattern is not only useful in checkmating your opponent but is also used to weaken the pawn structure around the enemy king.

Here is an educative example to let you know what the pattern is: White to move

White plays e5!, opening up the queen and bishop battery and attacking the natural defender of the king too. If black saves the knight then the queen on d3 delivers checkmate on h7 with the help of her bishop. Therefore White is winning a piece and the game.

Try to find solutions for the following problems based on the given theme.

Albert Frolov against Vitaly Plotnikov in 2006: White to move.

This position is taken after just 9 moves played in a French Defence (Rubinstein variation). Black’s last move was b6 which was a lethal mistake.

Q: How will you proceed?
A: White can win this game as follows:

10. Bxf6

£liminating the natural defender of the king.

10…Bxf6 11. Qe4!!

Attacking the rook on a8 and threatening to checkmate on h7. Of course Black can save checkmate with g6 but losing decisive material. He therefore chose to resign.

Capablanca against Jaffe in 1910: White to move.

Q: White has a winning position. Find the blow that decides the game.
A: In the Capablanca played:

19. Bxh6+!! Kxh6??

Allows mate in two, but if 19…Kg8 then Nxf7 is just a disaster for Black.

20. Nxf7+

Removing the defender of g6, and Black decided to throw the towel here because he can’t stop mate on the next move.
If 20…Rxf7 or 20…Kh7 then 21. Qxg6 is mate and if 20…Kh5 then 21. Qh3 is mate.

The game itself is very instructive, especially about how to build ab attack using a queen and bishop battery. You can find the whole annotated game here.

M. Gerusel against G. Sosonko in 1977: Black to move.

The same position is given in Build up your Chess by Artur Yusupov.

Q: It seems that h2 is perfectly defended against Black’s queen and bishop battery. Is that so?
A: Black can win a piece here as follows:

17…Nxd4! 18. exd4

Opens up the e file.

18…Nxc3

18…Bxd4 loses even more material because of 19. Nd2!!. Now the knight can’t be taken because of mate on h2 and if the queen finds a safe square then …Nxf3+ leads to mate on h2.

19. Rxc3 Rxe2

This wins a piece and the game.

Ashvin Chauhan

Recognising the pattern : Challenge # 18

Hugh Edward Myers against Dmitri Poliakoff in 1955: White to move

Q: Here Black has the initiative but is far from winning. His last move was 47…Qc4 which sets-up a trap. Can you see it?

A: In the game, White failed to do so and lost in the next two moves:

48. Ra4 Qxf1!! 49. Bxf1 – Nf2#

Instead White can prolong the fight with 48. Rb2.

This mechanism of checkmating is called the corner mate, the fourth way of checkmating with rook and knight. Others are the Anatasia Mate, the Arabian Mate & the Hook Mate

Torre against Ribli in 1983: Black to move

Q: In this position, Black played 66…Rd8 which leads to quick disaster. Can you see how?
A: Torre replied with:

67.Nb5 Ka8

67…Kb8 leads to the same result.

68. Rc7!

Mate can’t be prevented. The idea is to play Ra7 & Rb7 followed by mate with a knight check from c7 or a7.
The pain can be prolonged with 68…Rh8 but instead he choose to throw in the towel.

Georgios Makropoulos against Ivan Farago in 1988: Black to move

Knowing the pattern doesn’t always leads to checkmate. Here in this example you can win some material based on pattern as white can avoid the worse.

Q: How will you proceed from here?
A:

29…Nxe4!!

White should now play 30. Rf1 in order to stop checkmate. Instead he blundered:

30. Nxf4?? Nf2#

If 30 fxe3 then Qxe4 leads to mate. Only 30. Rf1 can extend the fight but black should win because of his two extra pawns.

Ashvin Chauhan

Recognising the Patterns : Challenge # 17

V. Anand against M. Carlsen in 2009 (WCH Blitz)

In the diagrammed position Anand was losing anyway, but he played 46.Rh1. This allowed Carlsen to mate him in one with 46…Qg3#.

This method of checkmating is called the Epaulette mate where the two escape squares have been occupied by the king’s own pieces, usually rooks. Here it is f1 & h1 which are taken by White’s two rooks.

Now try to solve following positions based on the same pattern:

Loek Van Wely against Alexaander Morzoevich in 2001: Black to Move:

White is losing anyway but in this position he played 21.Rf1, which allows Black to finish him off quickly.

Q: How will you proceed from here?
A: He set up an Epaulette mate as follows:

21… Rg8+

This sacrifice clears the 2nd rank for his queen by removing the blockage caused by White’s Bishop.

22.Bxg8

Forced.

22…Qg7#

Gustav Richard Neumann against Karl Mayet in 1866: White to move

Q: What should White’s plan be here?
A: White can charge his h-pawn up the board to break up Black’s kingside.

27. h4

White wants to attack g6 in order to open up the 7th rank!

27…c3??

Apparently oblivious to White’s aims. Instead Black should play Rh7 in order to save himself from a quick disaster.

28. h5

Now mate can’t be avoided.

28…Nc4

29. hxg6 Bxg6

Now what?

30. Qxg6!!

The concluding blow.

30…fxg6 31. Rg7#

Anderssen against Dufresne in 1851: White to move.

This position is not actual arose from captioned game; I have made few changes to the actual position for to enhance its teaching value.

Q: What should White’s plan be?
A:

27. Bd5! Bc6

The bishop can’t be taken because of 27…Bxd5 28. dxc7+ Rxc7 29. Qxc7+ Ke7 30. Qd6+ Kd8 31. Qxd5 wins. And if 27…c6 then Qb6+ wins.

28. Bxc6 dxc6

Now what? Can you recognise the pattern?

29. d7!!

Winning a rook and the game. The pawn can’t be taken because of mate in one.

Ashvin Chauhan

Recognising The Patterns : Challenge # 16

Today’s Challenge: Find the typical pattern and react accordingly.

Pillsbury Against F. Lee in 1899; White to Move
This position was taken from Build Up Your Chess by Artur Yusupov.

1.Qf3!! Qxf3

If 1…Qg6 then 2.Bxf8 is winning, but text move leads to a quick mate.

2. Rg1+ Kh8 3. Bg7+ Kg8 4. Bxf6#

This way of checkmating your opponent is called Pillsbury’s mate.

Try to solve following problem based on the same theme:

Adolf Anderssen against NN in 1861: Black to Move

Q: Is it wise to take on d3?
A: Black should play here 19…g6 when the game is open for 3 results. Taking on d3, on the other hand, leads to quick finish as demonstrated by Anderssen.

19…Qxd3??

Taking with the knight also leads to the same result.

20. Qxd3 Nxd3 21. Rxg7+

Removing the shelter.

21…Kh8

Now the windmill attack is not possible here as Bishop has been already attacked by knight.

22. Rg8!!

Sacrificing the whole rook.

22…Kg8 23. Rg1#

Adolf Anderssen against Berthold Suhul in 1859: Black to move

Q: How will you proceed with black?
A: Black should play 17…Ne8! when he is more than OK. But in the game he played 17…Nc4 and soon got checkmated:

17…Nc4?? 18. Rg1!!

Threatening checkmate and to win knight on f6.

18… Ne8

Completely oblivious.
19. Qxg7+!! Nxg7 20. Rxg7+ Kh8

And now you know how to proceed, right?

21. Rg8+ Kxg8 22. Rg1#

Ashvin Chauhan

Recognising the Patterns : Challenge # 15

Today the pattern I am going to discuss is very familiar to us; we’ve seen the same thing many times while learning importance of development in the opening:

Legal’s Mate

Based on the captioned theme, try to solve following problems:

Tony Ladd against Joseph Lonsdale in 1993: White to move.

Q: Here Tony played d4. What did he miss?
A: He had two ways to get a winning position:

Option 1

9. Nxf6+ gxf6 10. Nxe5 fxe5

The queen can’t be taken because of 10…Bxd1 11. Bxf7+ followed by Bh6 is mate.

11. Qxg4

This is a winning position for White.

Option 2

9. Nxe5 dxe5

Again the queen can’t be taken due to 10…Bxd1 11. Nxf6 Kf8 (of course not 11…gxf6 which leads to checkmate) 12. Ned7+ Qxd7 13. Nxd7+ followed by Nxc5 wins a piece and a pawn.

10. Nxf6+ gxf6 11. Qxg4

This is a better position for White.

Bernhard Horwitz against Bledow in 1837: White to move

Q: Can White take on e4?
A: No, White can’t take on e4 as the game soon demonstrated.

12. Nxe4?? Nxe4

Now White’s extra piece will fall but White was completely unaware about the pattern and played as follows:

13. Bxe7 Bxf2+ 14. Kf1 Ng3#

The following position has been taken from the ‘Art of Checkmate’ by Renaud & Kahn.
White to Move

Q: Can White play Nxe5 using the same pattern?
A:: The problem with 9.Nxe5 is as follows:

9. Nxe5

If 9…Qxe5 then 10. Rd8# or if 9..Bxe2 then 10. Rd8+ Qxd8 11. Bxf7#. Unfortunately Black has a better move:

9…Bb4+! 10. c3 Bxe2

This wins the rook.

11. Bxf7+ Kf8 12. Rd8+ Qxd8

Ashvin Chauhan

Recognising the Patterns : Challenge # 14

Today’s Challenge: Find the typical pattern and react accordingly

David Janowski against Carl Schlechter in 1899: White to move

Q: Black’s last move was …Rf8-f7, was it a wise decision?
A: It was a blunder which loses very quickly. Janowski continued as follows:

34. Qxh7!! Kxh7 35. Rh5 Kg8

Now what?

36. Ng6! 1-0

Black resigned as Rh8 and Rf8 mate can’t be avoided.

This method of checkmate in known as the Hook mate where the rook, supported by a protected knight, delivers checkmate on last rank.

Fischer against Jose Luis Garcia Bachiller in 1970: White to move

Q: White is winning anyway but find the quickest way to finish things off.
A: Fischer won as follows:

25. Nf6+ Kh8

If 25…Kf8 then 26. Qd7 leads to checkmate. The text allows a nice finish.

26. Qxg7!! 1-0

Black resigned in view of 26…Kxg7 27. Rg4+ Kf8 28. Rg8+ Ke7 29. Re8#.

Sometimes your opponent can prevent the checkmate at the cost of some material, as in the following example:

David Navara against Martyn Goodger in 2012: White to move


Q: White has 2 extra pawns and strong knight on e6; how can he convert his advantage into win quickly?
A: Navara continued as follows:

35. Bf6! Nxf6

If 35…exf6 then 36. Qe4 wins a rook and if 35..Kxf6 then 36. Qd4+ is winning.

36. Rf8+ 1-0

This wins the queen.

Bas, Van de Plassche against Johan De wolf in 1997: White to move

Q: How can White pocket the game using the very strong knight on g6?
A: White can win a piece by force as follows:

27. Re7+ Kg8

If 27…Rxe7 then 28. Rxe7+ wins the piece on c7 on next move

28. Nxc7

Removing the defender of e8 and Black can’t take that knight with either of his pieces.

28…Bxc7

If 28…Rxc7 then 29.Re8+ Kh8 (or 29…Rxe8 30. Rxe8+ and mate next move) 30. Rxd8 is winning.

29. Re8+

Q: Can you any better continuation than text move?
A: White can force checkmate with 29. Rxd7.

29…Rxe8??

This leads to mate in two though 29…Kh7 is also losing due to 30. Nf8+ followed by winning the rook on d7 with a discovered check.

30. Rxe8+ Kf7 31.Rf8# 1-0

Ashvin Chauhan

Recognising the patterns : Challenge # 13

Today’s challenge: Find the typical pattern and react accordingly.

Juan Carlos Klein against Bartolome Jorge Marcussi in 1963; White to Move

Q: White has a winning position but how can he finish things off?

A: All you need to do is to open lines to let your rooks joins the main battle as follows:

22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. Nf5! +

Opening the g-file.

23…gxf5

What else as 23…Kg8 then Qxh6 is winning.

24. gxf5+ Kh7

Now what?

25. Qxh6+!!

That helps White’s other rook to deliver final blow along the h file.

25… Kxh6
26. Rd3 and there is no defence against Rh3 so Black resigned.

This method of checkmating called the lawnmower or staircase checkmate. It is easy to remember but often hard to recognise in practise as it mainly works when there are open lines. It would be very helpful if you look for levers, sacrifices on g & h files and rook lifts very closely to see if this pattern exists.

Viktor Bologan against EdWin Van Haastert in 2005 – White to move

Q: Can you see any relevance between Rxb5 and the lawnmower pattern?

A: The rook is not only attacking the queen but also shadowing the black king along the 5th rank:

38. Rxb5 Qa7 39 fxg6

Clearing the 5th rank for the rook.

39…fxg6 40. Qxh5!!

Boom!

40…gxf5?

If 40…Kg8 then 41. Qxg6 is winning, but the text move leads to mate in four.

41. Nf6+ Bxf6

If 41…Kh8 then 42.Rxh5+ followed by mate in few moves.

42. Rh5#

Emil Schallopp against George Hatfeild Gossip in 1890 – Black to move

Q: On which diagonal will you move your bishop, d1-h5 (Bh5) or h3-c8 (Be6)? Note that taking the knight is no good because 11…Bxf3 12. Qf3 Nc6 13. Bh6 is just winning for White.

A: Black should play 11…Be6 when both sides have chances.

The game went as follows:

11…Bh5

Q: This is a natural move but not the good one. What should White play now?

A: He has a winning sacrifice as follows:

12. Bxh7! Kxh7

It was better not to take on h7.

13. Ng5! Bxg5

Usually when g5 is completely protected and the h-file isn’t open, we don’t play this classic bishop sacrifice. Here it is possible because of vulnerability of Black’s bishop on h5.

14. Qxh5+ Bh6

If 14…Kg8 then 15.Bxg5 is winning.

15. Bxh6

Q: Was there anything better than text move?

A: 15. Rf6!! was much better.

15…gxh6

It was better to play g6.

16. Rf6!

Now the win is straightforward.

16…Kg7 17. Qxh6 Kg8 18. Qg5+ Kh7 19. Rh6#

Ashvin Chauhan

Recognising The Patterns : Challenge # 12

Today’s Challenge: Find the typical pattern and react accordingly, Black to Move:

Aron Nimzowitsch against Bjorn Nielsen in 1930

Q – Can black play 20…Bd6 with an idea of meeting Rd7 with Rad8?
A: Not at all, in the game Black played 20…Bd6 and lost very quickly. Instead the fight can be prolonged with 20…Bd8.

20…Bd6??
21. Rd7 Rad8

Now what? If you open up g-file a mating net can be created with rook and bishop.

22. Rxd6!

Q: Is this necessary?
A: Yes, as the immediate 22. Qf6 can be met by Bxe5!.

22…Rxd6 23. Qf6!!

Black resigned in view of 23…gxf6 24. Rg4 Kh8 25. Bxf6#

The mating net with a rook on g file and bishop on the a1-h8 diagonal like this is called Morphy’s mate.

Reshevsky against shainswit in 1951


Q: Can black win the rook with 27…e4?
A: No, but instead black can achieve a good game with 27…Rfd8.In the game Black played 27…e4, falling into the trap set by White.

28. Rxg3! exd3

Completely unaware of White’s intentions.

29. Rxg7 Kh8 30. Rxf7+!

Removing the key defender here. This is a very important move as rook anywhere on g-file can be met by …f6.

30…Kg8 31. Rg7+

And mate in few moves.

Here is the complicated form of the same pattern:

Paulsen against Morphy in 1857 with Morphy (Black) to move

Try to work this one out on your own. I have already annotated the full game here.

Ashvin Chauhan