In the next installment of this series, I have focused on checkmate combinations, because no matter how good your position is, or how much material up you are, if you don`t know how to checkmate your opponent you will look like a bit of an idiot.
Here are some checkmate puzzles from some of my recent games, while some are studies created by me; in the first game, it did not exactly follow these moves, but in a game of blitz your opponent doesn`t always find the best moves either, so I have chosen to include the most accuate version.
To get maximum benefit from these puzzles, I would recommend that you spend about 1 minute to quickly assess the most forcing moves (checks, captures, threats) then after this, if you find no solution, another three minutes on slower moves, that is all, if you are really stuck go with your instinct.
Here we begin...Figs 1, 2 and 3 are puzzles that get progressively more difficult, have a go at solving them, but resist the temptation to move the pieces before you are sure that the line works.
After this, there are some typical mates, that you should be familar with, and to finish up there is a deeper look at Fig 2, where the strongest defence is found. One last piece of advice on these puzzles, in one of the three, you have to sacrifice a piece to deliver checkmate.........which one will it be?
Now I am going to show you some classic examples of checkmates that you will see all over the place. These include: The back rank mate, the king and rook mate, the greek gift mate, the smothered mate, which is the one I think of as the 'back door mate', you will see why when we get to that one.
The Back Rank Mate
The King and Rook Mate
The Smothered Mate
Here is a textbook example of the smothered mate, and this links back into the idea I mentioned in article 1, about not hemming your pieces in, you might well get checkmated, if you don`t just lose gradually. The second example is much more complex, but it still works on the same basic pattern.
To finish up with, I have included a puzzle that you are familar with, however this time black finds more precise defence, and so you will have to find a more precise attack, good luck.
Figure 2 (a) - with more precise defence