Cheapo Alert! Cheapo Alert!
What tricks are in store today? hmm....I think I will purchase a half dozen rook forks, and a sly pin.

Cheapo Alert! Cheapo Alert!


I have recently fallen for 2 very annoying cheapos, which any hustler would be proud of. It is always annoying to play really well, and then to blow it all with 1 move. I have found that the more confident you become that your position is so crushing, and you can`t possibly lose, that the chances of you being tricked increase. In both of the games I am going to share with you, I was at least +6 in my winning position, but for some reason, I blundered. 

In the first game, I managed to hold my opponent to a draw, because they were quite low-rated, and missed a perpetual, when the could have probably edged out a win, because they had a queen and everyone likes to play with the queen. In the second one, I also lost my queen - I obviously need to take more care over my queen, and where I move her to. Without addressing such trivial issues as this, it is impossible for a chess player to progress beyond club level, and so I will give you all a laugh, and hopefully I will learn something from it...

Do people actually gain some pleasure out of winning by silly tricks?

I don`t know perhaps they do. Often people who play excessive numbers of bullet games do. Those sorts of games seem to rely on tricks and material loss. I suppose some people are so focused on winning, that they don`t care about how they do it, whether it is fair and square or not...

What are the main causes of tricks being allowed?

I think there are some very commonly recurring themes about when they occur:

  • Tiredness and a lack of concentration - This is a very key one. I remember playing my third league game. I had been playing for around 2 hours and a half, and I was quite unused to that kind of duration of game, so in overheating I played a blunder and soon crumbled. I should have made a draw. Try to stay in good physical fitness, and get enough sleep.
  • Excessive confidence - The main problem for me. I see that my position is completely winning, and I give my brain a rest, and just play seemingly obvious moves, and inevitably I fall for the occasional cheapo here and there. In chess, you can`t take a break until the game is over, and Bobby Fischer was a paradigm of this. He sat at the chess board for hours on end without getting up, and had great stamina.
  • Time trouble - It often follows that the person who has less time is under more pressure, and will be more likely to slip up. It is important to manage your time. If you are spending 10 minutes on an obvious recapture, then that is most likely time down the drain that you won`t see again.

When should the alarm bells be ringing?



  • In messy tactical positions.
  • When your queen is loose (undefended) and is aligned with an enemy rook/queen.
  • When there are discovered threats in the air.
  • When your opponent has well placed knights, and you might be forked.
  • Greek gift threats.
  • When the king is exposed to checks.
  • Other tactical ideas.

Here is a puzzle to get you thinking tactically:




Without further ado, I will reveal the first game with the embarrasing blunder in it:


Here is the second game that happened this morning. 


I hope that you learn something from these two grim encounters...It is never too late to lose a game of chess. Until you shake your opponent`s hand, you could lose. The tactical tricks are usually based around certain set patterns in the position, such as queens being aligned with an enemy rook, and discovered attacks. Really I have no excuse. It was not like I didn`t have enough time. Both games were rapid time controls. What more can I say...Just don`t blunder!