3-Check Chess Tips For Beginners

3-Check Chess Tips For Beginners

IM DanielRensch
Sep 9, 2016, 12:00 AM |
25 | For Beginners

Looking for a new, exciting chess variant? Maybe you watched my games vs GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave here and you're anxious to give it a try? Or perhaps you've always just been good at following the age old chess rule "always check, because it might be mate!"  

Either way, 3-Check is likely right for you!

Before asking in the comments "Why can't I see the option to play 3-Check in Live Chess?" please go to Chess.com/switch and make sure you're using our new site, where so many great new features live! Second, if you don't know the basic rules of how to play 3-Check, click here and learn!

Below are a few tips I like to offer beginners to 3-Check, regardless of their chess level:

Tip #1: Keep The Diagonals To Your King Closed

The fastest way to lose a game of 3-Check is early on the diagonals. There are many ways that opening up (or simply not closing them) the diagonals to your king can backfire, but the most dangerous diagonal, like classical chess, is the one guarded only by the king:

Of course, the Sicilian itself is not a bad choice at all for Black! In fact, it's the preferred choice by both MVL and FM Mike Klein (who might as well be a chess variants GM), but Black must play 2...e6 after 2.Bc4 to prevent the combination you saw above.

Tip #2: Open Files, Too, Are Very Dangerous

Simply because it takes more effort to open files (requires pawn trades) than it does to open diagonals (just need bishops and queens to be developed) we do not rank open files as being quite as dangerous as open diagonals in 3-Check; however, this should not give you a false sense of security. Open files are the quickest way for a winning position to become a lost one in 3-Check!

In one of my earliest 3-Check battles I lost a game that I still haven't forgotten: despite having already gained two checks on my opponent, his/her rook grabbed an open file I had left unchallenged,  and my opponent quickly lifted the rook to the third rank, delivering an unstoppable series of checks. Even though I was able to shield my king by the second check, the rook then just sacrificed for the shielding pawn and ended the game on the spot.

Hopefully that text description is enough to scare even the more visual of learners. Watch out for open files! 

Tip #3: Never Allow Consecutive Checks

It doesn't matter how much material you're gaining along the way, usually giving your opponent back-to-back checks against your king is the beginning of disaster. Now, that doesn't mean you should reason if you're ever down two checks to none, in fact, the opposite is true. Keep fighting!

Just because someone has more checks doesn't mean it's over, especially if they've given up too much material or initiative to get those random checks. They may not have a logical follow-up. 

It's the consecutive nature of checks that's the problem. The diagram below shines a good light on this: In the variation where Black captures on h7, the game is over immediately because the second check comes instantly, and White has gained the initiative; however, the variation where Black plays 1...Kh8, despite White getting a 2nd check rather quickly, took something away from White's attack to take this random, desperado-knight hopping checking approach. And in the final position, Black's pieces are starting to coordinate while White doesn't have a clear knockout third check.

Tip #4: A Queen Always Gets "Her Two"

The first lady always gets hers! I'll paint a picture for you: If the enemy queen gives a check (on either file, rank or diagonal) unless you can capture her on the spot, the next check is guaranteed.

How is that possible? Well, no matter where the king moves or who blocks the queen's threat, the queen can always sacrifice for the blocker or move herself close enough to the king to get her next check. So if that queen's first check was the opponent's second check in the game, you can resign on the spot.

Not true you say! Because you're smart, you thought about this in your head, and you LOVE a chance to prove Danny wrong?  "What if the king moves and unleashes a piece behind him to check the ENEMY king! Haha! Now what, Danny!?" 

Actually, try to imagine it. You forgot one thing: checks can be blocked by checks too! Even if the king unleashes a discovery, why can't the queen then block the discovered check, giving her brilliant second check anyway?

The only scenario possible that doesn't allow this is a pinned queen to the king under discovered check, but if that were the case, why wasn't the queen taken on the first move instead of moving the queen?

#touchedanny #gameon

Now will you watch my video?  

Let me know in the comments if you agree with these beginner tips or if you have any other advice for players just getting started on their 3-Check adventure. 

Looking for regular partners to play 3-Check with? Join the official club!

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