It's never too late for mate

It's never too late for mate

spassky
Jun 25, 2009, 12:00 AM |
4 | Middlegame

Most players think mates only occur during kingside attacks in the middlegame or after one side promotes a pawn to a queen and the other side keeps playing.  But I have learned that mates can be found even in a wide open position in an endgame with only a few pieces left.  In the following game, I sacrificed a knight in the opening to bring my opponent's king out into the open (that 3 "opes" in one sentence!).  He defended well, so there was no mate in the opening.  I got my piece back and tried to attack in the middlegame.  No mate there either, but I did win another piece.  Just when I was getting ready to grind away with my extra piece in a long endgame, I played 7 checks in a row, ending in an unusual mate. 

What did we learn from this interesting game?  First, if you see a chance to attack, do it!  If you have to throw some material at your opponent to promote the attack or keep it going, do it!  It's much easier (and more fun) to attack and it's only a game, so give it shot.  Second, just because he survives the first wave of your attack, it doesn't mean the attack is over.  Bring up the reserves and keep going.  Your opponent might relax and miss something.  Third, always look for the chance to get your sacrificed material back while continuing to attack.  Restoring the material balance (or going ahead in material) gives you the option of breaking off the attack if it is not panning out well.  If the attack fizzles and you are still behind in material, you are lost.  Fourth, don't agree to draws just because your first attack did not lead to mate.  If you still have attacking ideas, try them!  Assume he offered a draw because he sees them too and is afraid you might try them.  Don't let him off the hook!  Fifth, ALWAYS keep an eye out for mate--you mating him or vice-versa!  No matter what the material situation is, a mate cures everything.  Remember the old saying: Mate leaves no weakenesses in it's wake.

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