Saturday, 18 December 2010

Junior Club Week 9: Focus its an attack

In the last lesson we looked at the options available to us when we find ourselves in check.  Remember Move, Block or Capture.  Don't panic - Stop, Think, Evaluate and then Move.

This week we discussed a focus attack.  Before we go any further I will share a game played between AJ the grinder and my wife Sarah.

1.e4 e5, 2.Bc4 c5? 3.Qh5? Nf6??
Black's last move was a huge mistake.  White now played 4.Qxf7 #.
If you look at the above diagram you will see that White's bishop and Queen both point at the f7 square.  We call this type of attack a Focused attack.  Both of White's pieces attack the same point.

A Focused attack is where two or more pieces gang up on one point in the enemy camp.

In the above game Sarah failed to spot the focused attack and continued her development.  After each move by your opponent you have to ask yourself some questions:
Does his last move threaten anything?
Has he got any checks?
Has he left something in his camp unguarded?

When we discussed the options for check things were simpler because the game can not continue until you are out of check.  For this week's topic we first have to realise that we are under attack.  As stated above try to ask yourself what your opponents last move changed.  If you spot a Focused attack then you have four options.

Move, Block, Capture or Protect.  Similar options to check, but with the addition of protect, also like check we need to Stop, Think, Evaluate and then Move.  Lets return to the above game:
So, White has just played 3.Qh5.  Black asks what is white threatening?  He notices that both White's bishop and queen Focus an attack on the pawn at f7.
THINK - In this stage we look at all the possibilities in our four sections:

Move - There are none as the pawn on f7 is pinned by the queen, moving it is illegal.

Block - There are two blocks we must consider each one in turn
The tempting 3...g6
3...g6 is tempting, as it blocks the Focused attack and attacks White's queen, but white has 4.Qxe4 forking king and rook winning the rook for free.  Try to evaluate each position on a scale of good, ok or bad.  I would say losing a full rook is bad.
Evaluation: Bad.

Next block is 3...d5
White can simply take the d-pawn and we still need to solve the Focused attack question posed by white.  Evaluation - Bad as nothing has been achieved.

Capture - None

Protect - There are three ways to protect the pawn.
Black protects the pawn at f7 and stops a checkmate, but the pawn on e5 is undefended.  White has the option of Qxe5, or attacking f7s protector with d3, or d4 (Reveals an attack by the bishop on c1).
Evaluation: Bad as black still seems in trouble.


Black has protected f7 and e5 at the same time.  This looks good.  After we have solved the Focus attack we need to activate our pieces.  The best square for the knight on g8 is f6, but that is where we have just placed the queen.
Evaluation: Good, with one small drawback.

Just because we have found a good move doesn't mean we just play it.  Look at all the options first.


Again black protects f7 and e5.  Next move he can chase the white queen with Nf6.  It all seems good.
Evaluation: Good.

As we have finished looking at each of our options we have to try and decide which move had the best evaluation.
3...Qe7 wins.

So Remember
Ask yourself what your opponents last move did.  Does it attack anything, are they any checks, has he left anything unguarded?
If you notice a focused attack you have four options: Move, Block, Capture or Protect.

Stop, Think, Evaluate and then move.

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