Shirov, The Greek Gift, and Mating Patterns

Nov 6, 2008, 1:17 AM |

Tonight I worked through another game in John Nunn's Understanding Chess Move by Move. Tonight's game was Shirov - Reinderman. Shirov uses the Greek Gift sacrifice idea to win a nice game. John Nunn discussed how knowing the standard attack ideas and sacrifices is essential to being a successful attacker.



The more you work on understanding these ideas, the better you are at recognizing the patterns or something similar when it exists on the board. The tactics trainer is a good way to drill both mating patterns and different tactical motifs. To learn standard mating patterns, and tactical motifs there are some nice books available:


  • The Art of the Checkmate by Renaud and Kahn (descriptiive notation) - Teaching different mating patterns through games.
  • Tactics by John Littlewood - this is a nice little book about tactical motifs.
  • How to Beat Your Dad at Chess by Murray Chandler - Don't let the title fool you. This book is a wonderful book for learning mating patterns no matter what your age is.
  • Chess Tactics for Kids by Murray Chandler - Similar to the above book, but focused on tactical motifs.

Studying the different mating patterns and tactical motifs, and drilling them consistently will greatly improve your game. I try to do some tactics problems every day, at least 15 minutes worth (usually more).

I think doing this is one of the things that really helped me improve this past Spring. Here is a game I played last Spring, that I don't think I would have found the moves the year before.

Another example that this helps is that 6 of my 7 wins so far in the Ruy Lopez thematic tournament have involved me winning material through a tactical motif, whether it is a double attack, a pin, a skewer, a fork, or a discovered attack. A game that hasn't finished yet involved me winning a queen with a discovered/double attack with check.