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I working on a chess tactics book, "Sharpen Your Tactics: 1125 Brilliant Sacrificies, Combinations, and Studies" by GM Anatoly Lein and Boris Archangelsky. Apparently this is one of the better tactics book because the lowest price on Amazon for right now is $140 w/o shipping.
One interesting puzzle I came accross was #25.
I have not been playing chess regularly for about 2 years and I was looking at this position, I did not find it easy.
My problem was that I was looking for mate but the position was about finding a tactic which wins material.
Now question becomes how do we know what to look for (e.g., mate, material tactic, strategic move, etc) in a chess position?
I think the solution is to look first for mate tactics. In the position above I kept looking a mate tactics, but was not finding it. Unless I was a beginner there was not reason to keep looking for a mate b/c finding mate is not difficult.With regard to finding mate, some positions are complex, but most are not.
After finding no mate, look for tactics which can possibly win material. This is harder than finding mate. Take a little extra time here.
Finally, look for strategic moves. This obviously includes a wide variety of considerations. Is there a way to improve and develop your position?
Now that we know how to organize our thinking, let's take a deeper look at tactics. I think it is best to break down tactics.
The above tactic is a called a fork. In a fork, a single piece makes two or more direct attacks simultaneously.
Now it's relatively easy to find it when you know to look for it. It would also be easy if fork was the only chess tactic. But start somewhere, here with a fork, and know it well.
Let's learn about the fork
First off, it may not sound important (but it is!), fork is also called a double attack. Sometimes, a fork is only referred to when it involves a knight.
Let's analyse the fork.
(1) Tactical Base
The tactical base is the square that a piece has to occupay in order to attack two or more of the opponent's weaknesses at the same time.
Every piece can perform the fork.However, the pawn and the knight are special.
To find a fork, ask yourself where is the tactical base?
In other words which square?
Let's take look at an example.
The above position comes from Paul Murphy v. Schulten, New York 1957.Notice how the fork came from a position where it did not look like there was a fork.
Spassky - Averkin, USSR 1973
Hort-Seirwan Lone Pine 1979.