Sunday, 31 October 2010

Junior Club Week 4: Discovered attack

When two of your pieces are on the same line (rank, file or Diagonal) if one of the pieces can move to reveal an attack against an enemy target, then that enemy piece Discovers it is under attack.  Often this allows your piece that has just moved to complete its own attack.  This tactic is especially powerful if one of the enemy pieces under attack is the king!

In the following diagram black seems to be ok.  But white's bishop is pointing at the black king, almost as though the bishop has superman like X-ray vision seeing straight through his own rook.  Can you guess what white played?

Did you spot 1. Re4?  The rook moves and reveals an attack from the bishop and the black king Discovers he is in check.  As black has to respond to the check the attack on the queen by the moved rook proves decisive.  Black's best is 1...Qxc5, but after pawn takes queen black can resign.

The Discovered attack requires two of your pieces to work as a team.  A rook on an open file blocked by one of its own minor pieces (Bishop or Knight) are particularly effective at executing this tactic.

In the following position the rook's X-ray vision is fixed on the black king.  When the white knight moves black's king Discovers it is in check and must respond to the check.  This will give the knight a free move.  What would you play as white?

Nine points if you wanted to play Nc4 (pictured below) or Nc6 as both allow the knight to capture the queen after black moves his king or blocks the check.  Note that even though the black pawn attacks the knight black doesn't have time to capture it.
Two points for Ng6 as the knight does get to capture the rook on h8, but always look for the best move!

There is a special case of a discovered attack, Double check.  That is when the piece moving calls check as well as discovering a check on the enemy king.

In the above position white wins with 1.Nf7 checking with the knight and discovering a check with the rook on h2 (see diagram below).  Black can not respond to both checks and 1.Nf7 is actually checkmate.  Note 1.Nf5?? is a blunder, at first glance it looks as though the knight can take the queen next go, but the black queen can take the checking rook 1...Rxh2 calling checkmate himself.  Remember to look for the best move.

Some examples from my games.
In the below position I am black and have just played pawn f6 trying to evict white's bishop.  I didn't see the X-ray eyed bishop.  Rod Gilpin (Club president) did and played Nxe7, double check from the knight and discovered check by the bishop on b3,  and wins a queen.

The next position is from one of my Morra gambit games.  The rook stands in line with the enemy queen, always dangerous.  Nb6 wins a rook.  Discovered attacks do not need to contain a check.

My last example from my games is against a open strength player.  What would you play?

Did you spot the pawn check after 1.e6 revealing a discovered attack on black's rook?  Ouch!!

Finally a puzzle.  This puzzle is from "303 Tactical Chess Puzzles" by Fred Wilson and Bruce Alberston.
Try to solve it, I will publish the answer with my next post.  If you can't wait for then and can't find the answer email me 
Clue: First you need to create the possibility of a discovery.  Remember two of your pieces on a line (rank, file, or Diagonal) pointing at an enemy piece.

Contact me at 

  •  Spot any mistakes with this post, 
  •  Would like to help run Darlington Junior club 
  •  Want any advice on creating a junior club
  •  Have any coaching ideas

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Junior Club Week 3: The Skewer

The skewer is like a pin, but the other way around. That is, you attack a valuable enemy piece which once moved allows another lesser valued piece be taken.
Or put by professionals:
"The Skewer is a piercing attack which menaces two hostile pieces placed on the same line. As the piece directly attacked moves away, the piece behind it is transfixed on the skewer".Chernev and Reinfeld

In the diagram below we see that the black king is in check must move allowing his queen to be taken.

In the next position the queen is attacked and unless black wants to lose his most powerful piece must be moved.  Once the queen is moved the black knight can be captured.
Note: if the black queen could move to a square where she defended the knight the skewer would be pointless.

In the next example the black bishop skewers one rook to another.  True the rook can move to protect its partner, but as a bishop (worth 3) is a lower value than the rook (worth 5) there is no way white can escape the loss of material.
Note: When rooks line up on a diagonal like this they are easy prey for a bishop!

The final diagram is from Trotter, Wilson Durham Congress 2006.  Black has ben advancing his passed a-pawn and white desperate to stop the pawn plays 53.Ke2.  Black follows with 53...Rh1

Did you spot that rook takes pawn allows Black 54... Rh2+ and a skewer on King and rook.
Note: This is an excellent promotion trick, remember it and use it.

Skewers can be deadly!!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Main club - Game 1 KW

Hopefully we can get some of the members to post their best games here with helpful notes. As a first step here is a recent game I played which I managed to win with a nice break through sacrifice.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Junior Club: The members

Introducing the stars of Darlington chess club.

Hairy and scary (on the chess board), Aidan.  Quickly improving, Aidan will soon be ready for full tournament chess and expect to see this young man's name in the prize listings very soon.

Handsome Harry is developing into a fine chess player.  He has an advantage with having chess in his genes (he is my son).  Thoughtful and calm at 6 he has started early enough to develop into a top notch talent.

AJ the grinder.  Already as solid as Petrosian, this boy has serious talent.  My advice play him soon you might stand a chance at beating a future star, but be prepared he is tough!!

Cute but deadly Dylan is a prodigy.  He is 4 years old and has never officially been taught how to play.  With Harry for his elder brother Dylan has grown up listening to chess lessons and could play a game at 3.  Hangs pieces more often than not, but also demonstrates a killer tactical eye.  The other boys have adopted him as their mascot and all help coach our youngest talent.

Jordan is new to chess, but is quickly feeling his way into the game.  A young man that is learning fast.

Elizabeth (picture to be added).  She is a mean, keen chess machine, but a little green.  Elizabeth needs to play lots more chess to sharpen her up.  Our chess club is the perfect place to do this!

Niall (picture to be added) is Aidan's elder brother.  Not technically a member of the junior club, being 12 he is young enough, but Niall is currently busy scalping adult players in local congresses, leagues and in the main club.  He may be quick to tell you of a whopping he handed out to the junior chess coach (me) recently.

Zack (Picture to be added) - Taught by his farther, this kid knows how to play.  With a few pointers he's going to be good.

James (Picture to be added) Is a good competitor, always good if you want to play chess.

Me pictured at home preparing one of my famous 5 minute tactic lessons for the group.

As you can see we already have a good group of kids, with a good range of playing ability.  If you live in the Darlington area and want to play chess drop in or email

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Junior Club Week 2: The Fork

A fork is a move in which a piece or pawn attacks two enemy pieces or pawns at the same time.

Above we see examples of forks by a pawn, queen, rook and the king.

and forks by the bishop and "king of forks" knights.

After juniors learn to look after their pieces by not leaving them hanging (on a square where they are attacked with no protection).  The one move fork is the next challenge to keeping those pieces safe.

The following are positions from my early games (as a 30 something).
In this game white has let black's knight start wrecking his position and panics with bishop takes bishop.
Did you spot black's best move knight to f3 forking white's rook, king and queen?

Black (me again) has just greedily taken on e4.
Did you spot Queen to a4 forking the king and the knight?

Its not just the juniors that have to watch for simple forks...

Friday, 22 October 2010

Junior Club Week 1: The Pin

The junior chess club started on 04/10/10.  Five boys turned up to enjoy some chess.  The main idea is to lean by playing, but with the focus on fun.  Each week I will discuss a tactic.  The first week I explained the pin.  
"The Pin is an attack against two or more hostile forces standing on a straight line (file, rank or diagonal).  It is the most common, the most dangerous and hence the most important tactical weapon in the whole arsenal of combinations."  Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld, Winning Chess 

Below the white rook pins the knight to its king.  It doesn't matter who is to move, as white's next will be rook take knight.

Below we see the bishop pinning a rook.  Even though a rook (5) is worth more than a bishop(3) it is the bishop who will take the rook next move.

 Last but not lease we see the queen pinning the rook on a diagonal and the bishop vertically.  You may notice the bishop could move if it wanted, as queen takes rook is withing the rules.  The pinned rook can not move as it is pinned to the king, it is illegal to move into check.

 When a piece is pinned to its king then that is an absolute pin, or unbreakable pin, as the piece simply can not move.  Other pins are not absolute which means the pinned piece can move, although in most cases moving a pinned piece would lead to losing material they are some cases where a pinned piece can wreck havoc, be warned!

Take a look at the following if you think the above positions too simple, this diagram is from the game N.Rossolimo C.Kottnauer, Bad Gastein 1948.

Did you spot 1. Qxd5
The bishop pins the c6 pawn to the king and the rook pins the e6 pawn to the king stopping pawn takes queen in both cases.  To complete the pin hat-trick the queen also pins the c6 pawn to the rook (pins don't have to be against the enemy king) stopping cxb5.

I told you pins are dangerous

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Welcome to Darlington Chess Club

Hi welcome to the new Darlington Chess Club page.  We meet Monday nights starting with the Junior club between 18:00 and 19:00 with adults starting straight after at 19:00 until 23:00.
The venue is

Cockerton Band & Musical Institute Club
Woodlands Road, Cockerton
Darlington, DL3 9AB

The club is in a completely separate room from the club's bar upstairs away from any noise.

If you are interested come along or send us a mail.