A Critically Important Pattern

A Critically Important Pattern

| 21 | Amazing Games

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

I need your name (real or handle), your OPPONENT’S name (real or 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!

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