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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The Fragile King II, Caught in the middle!
differs in that the center is usually demolished when the successful attack begins. Fourth, the attacker needs a greater force in the attack and that force must be centralized.
Let’s look at these things individually:
First, the question of King mobility. Here is a well-known position used in teaching endgame play:
Queen and knight are often enough to succeed against the king in the castled position. Here, it is Black to move, he is in check and his mobility is limited to one square, h8;
1.Kh8 Nf7+ Again, the king has only one square.
2.Kg8 Nh6+ Again, only one square.
3.Kh8 Qg8+ Again, there is only one move.
I learned this as the Closed Coffin mate, 63 years ago. It has been around for centuries.
Common themes against a castled king also include
back rank mates
, where the back rank is insufficiently defended and the mobility of the king is limited, and Queen and pawn mates against a fianchettoed position where the defending bishop is missing.
All of these themes can be successful when the mobility of the attacked king is limited.
In the foregoing, two
resulted in mate: Discovered double attack and smothering. This is most easily accomplished in the corner of the board. But, in the center it is usually different. We will examine this in a moment, but first let’s look at pawn structure.
For an attack one either wing, the attacker must keep the defender from launching an attack in the center. This means keeping the defender from getting control of the center. For an attack on the center, however, it is most easily accomplished when the pawn center is demolished. This happens mostly in open games.
Now. Let’s look at how a little King mobility can effect a center attack.
This is a common position in the Berlin defense. White sees an opportunity to keep the Black king in the center of the board, where it can be localized and attacked, and where it will interfere with connecting rooks.
6. Bxc6 dxc6
7. dxe5 Nf5
Whites’ wish is granted. The black king is in the middle of the board, and can never castle. The target is fixed. White’s rooks can seize the center files.
But! “Count who come for the broken meats before thou makest a feast.” The black king is in a better position for the endgame and will gain mobility with the movement of the bishops, black has the bishop pair, and the potential attacking force is diminished with the absence of queens and the exchanged bishop. With the attack against his center, Black must stabilize and then attack the White King.
The game Socko (2577) vs Krasenkow (2609), played in Poland in 2004 came out of the opening in this position:
White will now seize the open d-file with Rfd1. White looks better, yet the game is a draw. Black will restrict the white pieces with his pawns, there is no target at the end of the d-file, and blacks pieces firmly hold d6, d7 and d8. Black will attack on the kingside with a rook already in position. The game was drawn after 22 moves.
Let’s look at a successful attack and see the differences. This is a demonstrative game between Roselli and Tereshchencho by correspondence in 1972:
This is the position after 10 moves:
In this position, white has fully developed his pieces toward the center, his rooks can enter an attack quickly, blacks’ king cannot immediately castle, white may be able to hold him in the center – in front of the locomotive. Blacks’ knight on e5 is the one piece in position for defense.
11. Bxe5 So much for the defender!
11. dxe5 Opening the file for the White rook.
12. Bb5+ Kf8
13. Rac1 seizing the c-file.
13. axb5 accepting the sacrifice.
It’s not the number of pieces you have, it’s the force of the pieces in action! (liberally translated from: “It ain’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog!”)
The attacking potential is now very apparent. The c3 knight comes into range with a discovered attack, onto a protected square:
14. Nxb5 Qa5
15 Rc7! … White threatens Qc4. Notice that white’s moves are with threats, keeping black from continuing development of his pieces.
15 … b6
16. Nxe5 f6 This may not be the best move, but there is no adequate move. The game is already lost.
17. Rd8+ … Let’s look at the position, Black to move:
The black king has limited mobility, the black pieces cannot come to his aid, White has used the highway c and d files, and has more than enough power concentrated in the attack. The end comes quickly:
17. … Bxd8
Next, I hope to share some ideas on transpositions. A note to commenters:
Thank you, I sincerely appreciate your comments, concepts, and ideas. Unfortunately, I cannot reply to some because I need either your Chessmaniac name, or your email address. I am unable to locate you by any other name.
Good chessing! Al
posted by ChessManiac.com Team Member at
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
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