A Critically Important Pattern

  • IM Silman
  • | 03.10.2012
  • | 16009 odsłon
  • | 30 komentarzy

IMPORTANT: [At the end of the puzzles, you should click MOVE LIST so you can see my instructive notes and variations. If you are having trouble solving a problem, just click SOLUTION, and then MOVE LIST. Even if you solve everything, DO click MOVE LIST or you might miss an important bit of prose.]

DieHardGiantsFan said: “The reason why I would like you to review my game is to perhaps explain why my opponent took my rook with his queen leading to a queen and bishop vs. two rook ending, which I eventually won.”

It’s beyond my powers to know why a player made such a horrible decision, but you wiped him out so it’s a non-issue (he did something bad and you smashed him). What IS an issue is your first move from this diagram:

Black has an enormous lead in development, a powerful queenside majority, and two strong Bishops. But most important is the fact that white’s King is in the middle and your King is safe. I always stress this kind of situation because I want everyone to get excited when it occurs – I want them to immediately look for a way to punish the opponent for daring to leave his King blowing in the wind.

The move you played, …Bc6, allowed White to get rid of your dark-squared Bishop and, most importantly, castle. In other words, you had a huge opportunity facing you, and you ignored it. Instead, 1…Re8, pinning the enemy Knight to its King, is an instant winner: 


2.Qe2 is another defensive try, though Black has a few ways to win. Here’s one straightforward example: 


If there was nothing immediately crushing, then a move like 2…Qb6, stopping White from castling, would be good. However, with 2…c3 Black intends to inflict heavy casualties on his pathetic adversary.

I should add that 2…Rxe4+ 3.fxe4 c3 was also a winner.


White can finally castle (3.0-0), but then 3…cxb2 would leave Black a piece ahead for nothing. 

White can also try 3.bxc3, but retribution turns out to be swift, sure, and just:

3…cxb2 4.Rb1

In this position Black has many ways to win, but one towers over the other in terms of brutality and sheer beauty.

Did you notice that after 1…Re8 Black didn’t let up? He went all-in against white’s central King and never gave his opponent a chance to breathe.

You don’t have to see all these variations to realize just how powerful a move like 1…Re8 is. By pinning his Knight and freezing the enemy army (punishing white’s central King), you know (with experience) that there MUST be something good waiting for you to find.


* Most players think they know what’s wrong with their chess, but they don’t. In today’s example, Black pondered a question that was not only impossible to answer, but would have been of no use to him whatsoever. However, he failed to notice a key moment in his game that, once absorbed, will improve his understanding of chess by leaps and bounds.

* If the center is open, and your King is safely castled while the opponent’s King is still sitting on its original square, you should train yourself to hyperventilate in sheer joy whenever this kind of thing occurs.

* Once your pieces start streaming through to your opponent’s central goat... I mean King... keep beating it senseless until you’ve acquired something really juicy for your efforts.

* If you see you can start an aggressive operation versus the opponent’s central King, but you can’t quite calculate the variations to the end, don’t worry about it! When a central enemy King is face to face with your army, you have to believe with complete certainty that its head is bound to be chopped off.


If you want me to look over your game, send it to askjeremy@chess.com.

I need your name (real or chess.com handle), your OPPONENT’S name (real or chess.com handle), both players’ ratings, where the game was played, and date. If you don’t give me this information, I won’t use your game! BTW: I’ve noticed that many people are reluctant to give me their opponent’s name. This is very strange! Showing the names of both players is the way chess games are presented in databases, books, magazines… everywhere! Permission from the opponent isn’t necessary. If permission was necessary, everyone who ever lost a game wouldn’t allow their name to be on it!


  • 4 lat temu


    Not only are your lessons and insight extremely helpful, your passion for the game and use of language incites passion and excitement for my own game.  I literally can not wait to go play a game after I read your descriptions, they are extremely visceral and never condescending or arrogant.  Thank you.

  • 4 lat temu


    Great stuff. So easy to get caught up in extraneous matters and forget the point of chess. The king's the thing!

  • 4 lat temu


    loved the 2nd puzzle, great insight, I would have probably tried to convert the pawn earlier, thanks again Jeremy, love the analysis.

  • 4 lat temu


    I always like reading about attacks towards exposed Kings! Loved it.Laughing

  • 4 lat temu


    nice article!

  • 4 lat temu


    dip ship 

  • 4 lat temu


    Kindracoon, thanks! That makes perfect sense. I didn't see 9. Bf2.

  • 4 lat temu


    Another top article thank you IM Silman

    I will certainly do my best to start hyperventilating in these situations from now on :)

  • 4 lat temu


    i wish all my games went like that.

  • 4 lat temu


    to senorbacon:

    it seems that the point of 8...Bb5+ was distracting the white queen from the "d1" field. If 8...Qf4+ instead, then 9. Bf2 Rc1+ 10. Qd1 R:d1+ 11.R:d1 Bb5+ (11...Qc1 12. Ke2 Bb5+ ) 12. Ke1 (12. Kg1 Qc1 13. Re1 b1Q) Q:e4+ 13. Kd2 Qd3+ 14. Ke1 Qe2#

    So, maybe black win anyway, even without 8... Bb5+. However, I was not very careful calculating; currently I don't have a strong engine at hand. So could you please check this variation?

    Update (October 07): I checked the above variations with Houdini1.5a. 12...Bb5+ in the variation 11...Qc1 12. Ke2 Bb5+ appeared to be a stupid mistake: 12...Bg4+ instead is much simpler. All others seem to be correct.


  • 4 lat temu


    The first puzzle was crazy: all of Black's pieces were hanging! I don't think I would ever play like that in a serious game.

  • 4 lat temu


    Very helpful it's difficult to stay mindful of all the weapons you have just from yoor opponent king being in the center great article

  • 4 lat temu


    love em

  • 4 lat temu


    I don't see the point of 8. ... Bb5+. The ensuing combination looks possible without it. All it seems to accomplish is drawing the white queen from d5 to b5, and no defense is possible from d5 either, as far as I can see.

  • 4 lat temu


    i was completely lost, every move i tried, it said incorrect, try again...i will need to study this for a long time i see

  • 4 lat temu


    @ tdw100 After 5... Rxe4+! 6. fxe4 Qxe4+ Then Kf2 s met with Bd4+... with mate to follow. If Kf1 then the rook on h1 is hanging.

  • 4 lat temu


    Its better when solving blacks problems to have black at the bottom of the board and not have to view the puzzle upside down...

  • 4 lat temu


    In the first problem, I got to the point of 5...Rxe4+.  At that point the solution shows Kf1.  Why didn't it do 6.fxe4 and take the rook out of the picture?

  • 4 lat temu


    in your first puzzle move 6 bh3???? is 6 qh3 is that not a much better move

  • 4 lat temu


    Marvellous analysis!

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