Sunday, 11 November 2007

Chess Puzzle - Solution to Week 5

Firstly, sorry about the delay with this solution; I have been trying to find another program to create the chess diagrams that would give a higher quality image. Let's us remind ourselves of the Week 5 puzzle (White to play and win):

The solution, if you needed it, is: 1. f6! hxg5 2. Qg6!! with mate to follow.

There is a connection with this puzzle and the previous week's; let's have a look at that one again (White to play and win):

Remember that here, Boris played the killer 1. Qh6! So, the similarities between the two - well, both are mating attacks against the king-side, with king and rook still in their castled position. Also the pawns in front of the black king are unmoved (in the top diagram, Black had just played ... h6 on the previous move to try to kick away the g5 knight). So these are two attacks against the same defensive position you will see in the majority of your games - which is why they are useful to learn.

I read somewhere that in planning an attack against a king position, you need to pick a pawn to focus your attack. So, against the normal castled king, you plan an attack on the f7, g7 and h7 pawn (if you are White). This leads us to another similarity between the two puzzles - both are mating attacks focused on the g7 pawn. Of course, there are standard patterns for attacks on the f7 pawn and the h7 pawn, and we will no doubt have some puzzles with these in the future.

And if we can classify the theme of the two puzzles as "mating attack against the normal castled king, using the g7 square", we can also try to describe the method of the attack. I use the word "redundancy", which means that there is more than one way the attack can be successfuly concluded - for example, in the first puzzle, White is threatening mate with queen and knight, and if Black stops that (by taking the knight) then a mate by queen and pawn follows. And in the second puzzle, Boris is threatening mate by queen and knight, or by queen and bishop, or (if Black tkes the queen), by knight and bishop!.

This "redundancy" method of mating attack can be diffcult to defend against, but has the downside that it takes longer for White to get the pieces into position.