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Typical Patterns Everyone Should Know.

  • GM Gserper
  • | May 23, 2009

Whenever I present a beautiful game in my article, I inevitably see a comment that looks like this: “Wow! Such a beautiful game! I wouldn’t find this fantastic combo in a million years”.  From my teaching experience I know that sometimes chess players even become discouraged by brilliant games  because they doubt their own abilities to ever play like this.  Yes, chess is a very complicated game, but fortunately it  is a very simple game as well.  What I mean is, it is very difficult to play like Tal or Kasparov, calculating 10 moves deep combinations.  But in the majority of the games we don’t need to calculate that far, so if you are good in 3-4 move tactics, you can be a very strong chess player. Unfortunately, for many players it is very difficult to calculate even for 3-4 moves ahead. 

I have a good news for them! It is relatively easy to fix this problem.  All you need to do is to learn typical tactical patterns and practice a lot.  At some point you’ll be so proficient in typical tactical patterns that you’ll see tactical ideas practically in any position!

Today we will learn one such typical tactical pattern that happens only in openings.

In order for this tactical pattern to happen your opponent has to fianchetto his King’s Bishop by moving his pawn to g3 or g6 and he also has to move his King pawn to e4 (or e5 for Black.)  As always, I present this pattern as a quiz, because it is my deep belief that if you try to solve a combination on your own ( even if unsuccessfully), you will understand and remember the idea much better.



This is a very useful pattern to know since it can be used in many openings.  Just remember you need your opponent to fianchetto his King's Bishop and push his 'e' pawn to e4 (e5).  Here is another opening catastrophe:

Now, when you are familiar with this pattern it looks so simple, doesn't it? Yet in some games even GMs were victims of this nasty trap. Look at the next game:

Please remember that practically any rule has its exceptions.  I learned in my own game that even though this pattern is extremely powerful, sometimes you want to pass on it.

The final example shows why it is so important to know typical tactical patterns.

The last game is very interesting in the sense that the past of American chess (GM Bisguier) has met the future (future GM Friedel).  It would have been very interesting to see the pattern we discussed today used on such a high level. It didn't happen :(   Yet, I hope you, my dear readers, will be able to employ this pattern in your games and score many beautiful wins!
Good luck!


  • 7 weeks ago


    In the first two examples it looks like white is betting on black taking with the bishop first. If black takes with the knight first then the bishop is still alive to cover f6. Then the mating pattern doesn't work. Isn't this a little risky to count on your opponent to calculate inacurrately and take with the bishop first? Am I missing something? Please tell me if I am.

  • 3 months ago


    W'd be nice to know which opening were these.

    Anyone? Thanks

  • 9 months ago


    gud 1 

  • 14 months ago


    Thanks for this incredible series on pattern recognition! Very much appreciated, sir

  • 21 months ago


    Good one!!

  • 2 years ago


    Article number 13. It is amazing how much one can learn by just reading your articles!! (I am doing nothing else related to chess except playing on this site, and I have already pushed my rating up!) :D

  • 3 years ago


    heelwin the knight back duh

  • 3 years ago


    i understand black has a better position in the last game but it is down a knight!

    what's the deal there

  • 4 years ago


    great example, would'nt have thought about that!!

    though what if Black uses Knight to kill instead of bishop ?? (puzzle 1 or 2) 

  • 4 years ago



  • 5 years ago


    Great lesson. Thank you

  • 6 years ago


    After 7.Nd4 if 7...Nd4 then white simply wins the black queen with 8.Be7

  • 6 years ago


    "in the first game,after white's 7.Nxd4,black play 7. ... Nxd4.what show white do?"

    White should play BxN, and black loses the queen.

  • 6 years ago


    I enjoyed this article too.

    Nevertheless I´d also be interested in some of the questions previous mentioned.

    It is a pitty, that neither the author nor anyone else is going to answer them, for it is hard to implement that idea, if one cannot understand why another move would have been worse.

    Isn´t it possible to load those (and similar) problems to the chess mentor to study them?

  • 6 years ago


    This is such a treat. Thanks!

  • 6 years ago


    in the first game,after white's 7.Nxd4,black play 7. ... Nxd4.what show white do?

  • 6 years ago


    i don't understand in the serper vs pedzich game why you couldn't use the pattern before he castled. why is it "not that simple"? great lesson though.

  • 6 years ago


    I like GM Gserper teaching style.  first rate

  • 6 years ago


    One of the most insightfull posts on Chess.com!

    I'll study the other parts as well.

    Highly recommended to beginners and mediocre players as myself.

  • 6 years ago


    great article

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