Find the typical pattern and react accordingly. It is White to Move
NN Against Greco in 1620
Q: How can White hang on here?
A: White should play 11. Be3. Black has the initiative after Qxh2 but this is far from winning the game completely.
In the game White played as follows:
Completely unaware about the mating pattern called smothered mate. The game ended very shortly as follows:
12. Kh1 Qg1+!
The only move.
It occurs when a knight checkmates a king that is smothered (surrounded) by his friendly pieces and he has nowhere to move nor is there any way to capture the knight.It is also known as Philidor’s Legacy after François-André Danican Philidor, though its documentation predates Philidor by several hundred years. – Wikipedia
James McConnell Against Morphy in 1849
Q: How can Black win decisive material, using the same mating theme?
In the game Morphy played as follows:
Generating a very powerful checkmate threat; the idea is to play 19…Ne2+ followed by 20…Qg1+ and 21…Nf2#. You can also play 18…dxc4 with the same ideas.
This seems to be only move.
Opening up the g1-a7 diagonal.
20. Qxc2 Nf2+
Gaining the exchange, but white next move leads to quick finish.
21. Kg1?? Nh3+
A typical manoeuvre that leads to Black delivering smothered mate.
22. Kh1 Qg1+
23. Rxg1 Nf2#
Timann against Short in 1990
Q: White is winning anyway but can you see the familiar pattern?
Removing the one of the defender of e7. The idea is to play e7 on the next move then check from a2-g8 diagonal.
It was essential to create some room for his king.
Distracting the rook.
And now everything is clear.
27. Nf7+ Kg8
28. Nh6+ Kh8
29. Qg8+ Rxg8