The Piñata King


One of my favorite concepts to teach young players is how to quickly attack a king that is exposed in the middle of the board. A king chase is extremely fun for the attacking player and terrifying for the defending player. Once the king gets into the open white's pieces take turns battering the king until he finally breaks revealing the sweet, sweet taste of checkmate. One could say it's like watching a bunch of kids whacking a piñata at a birthday party. Hence the poor harassed king became "THE PIÑATA KING."


The inspiration for this lesson was a game I played back in 1997. I was still a rookie on the chess circuit and was fighting my way up from the bottom division of most open events. I played a young man who was also quite green in the first round of a tournament in Rockingham, NC. As a side note.... I played the exact same game in a blitz tournament in 2013 against another young up and comer.


Piñata kings aren't just for the newly initiated. Any king that meanders into the center of the board could find itself in jeopardy of taking a beating. One of my favorite examples is Rashid Nezhmetdinov's immortal game against the great Lev Polugaevsky from the 1958 Russian Federation Championships. Polugaevsky's king ran a gauntlet of Black pieces until it collapsed from exhaustion.
Hope you enjoyed..... and don't forget to brush your teeth after this lesson.grin.png