Tuesday, May 1, 2007


The position below is from a game I played on FICS last week (I played the black pieces, black to move and win). I eventually won the game but I missed a nice mate:

Solution : 22 ... Qf2! 23 Rg1 Rd1 24 Rxd1 Qxg2#


The Common Man said...

Sir Piño:

If the position was in a tactics workbook with "Black to move and mate in 3" written under it, you would have found it in no time.

The Common Man

DG said...

Sorry to be technical, but it's actually mate in 4 since White can "sac" his queen on c8 with check.

The Common Man said...

dg: Thanks for helping me see that. I'm just getting started with chess and there is much that I often miss seeing on the board. Case in point: in a current cc game after looking at the position for 10 minutes I was sure of a mate ... but whoops! Oh yeah, I guess he could do that. Now I'm down a knight.

Don't apologize for being technical in chess. I appreciate it.

Sir Piño said...

@common man: true, when the position was in a tactics workbook I would have seen the mate... . This is one of my main problems : when do I search for a tactic in a real game ?

The Common Man said...

Here is Silman's answer:

"Many so-called teachers would have you look for tactics in all positions, which is a waste of time. Instead, look for undefended pieces, a weakened King, or a double attack. If none of these things exist, there CAN'T be a tactic. If one or more of these things DO exist, then go to red alert: a tactic might be screaming for you to notice it."

hisbestfriend said...

"When do I start looking for tactics?"

That is precisely one of the key points of doing the circles. So you can "see" them. You will begin to recognize the positions where they happen. How the machinery works. What looks like a possibility.

It is precisely this lack of vision that causes this OTB problam, and precisely what the circle purports to help fix.

Based solely on this vision and simple maxims, you should be able to get to 1700=2000 play.

likesforests said...

"when do I search for a tactic in a real game ?"

As we train our tactical vision improves, but there's no doubt we see more when we calculate deeply. Silman's advice is sage.

Heisman says a similar thing: look for the Seeds of Tactical Destruction. You can read his whole article online for free:


Note a "Weak Back Rank" is one of his red flags to look for tactics. I don't really follow his process, but I think I'll try to from now on.

likesforests said...

Heisman also says, "Always look for captures, checks and threats for both you and your opponent first."

So every turn we need to do a mini tactical check. If the tactical seeds are there, or we get a "hunch" there are tactics, we should search for tactics, else strategic moves.

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Phil Willis said...

Nice little tactic!

Shame you didn't see it during the game.

I'm sure it's the sort of problem that you would have solved easily in a book, but it's always tough to see them in real games.

I guess that's why we practice these things so much! ;)