Sunday, 6 February 2011

Junior Club Week 12: Trapping / Nets

If a piece has no escape route and you can find a way to attack it, then it is Trapped.
In the following example it is black to move.
Look at the diagram and try and find all the squares the white knight could hop to. 
Did you notice that all the knight's advanced squares are guarded by black pawns and any retreat squares are occupied by white pawns.  As black can move his e-pawn to e5 attacking the knight, the knight is trapped.

Taking away a knight's advanced squares is the best way to reduce the knights power.  Even if you can't trap the knight you can render it useless.  Each chess piece has its strengths and weaknesses.  The rook for example is susceptible to diagonal attack especially early in games when more closed position restrict the rook.
In the next example it is white to move.
 White has given up a bishop on f7 to deflect the black queen from e7.  Now the queen can enter the black camp at b7 and trap the helpless rook.
Black's poor rook has been betrayed by his own pieces and is trapped on a8 waiting for the queen to capture it on the next move.

Nets are used to catch fish, but they can also be used to catch chess pieces.  First a net is cast around an enemy piece, until it is trapped.

An example game:
1.e4 c5, 2.Nf3 Nc6, 3.Bb5

There are many lines where the bishop is well placed on b5, but here the bishop can easily be chased away.
 3...a6 4.Ba4??
The innocent bishop retreat leads to one of the most famous nets in chess the Noah's Ark trap.
4...b5 5.Bb3 (the bishop is trapped)

So far we have seen the knight, rook and bishop become trapped.  Next will be the queen.  Be warned although the queen is the most powerful piece, she can often become trapped, especially if she advances into the enemy camp without support.
Take a look at the next example.  It is black to move.

After 1...Nb5 the white queen has nowhere to go and can be attacked by the black rook at a7, so it is hopelessly trapped.  
 White has no good moves to make.  He can try making an escape route with 2.Bh3, but  its too late 2..Ra7 and the white queen is doomed!!

When creating a net first we have to make sure the target piece can not escape before we move in for the kill.  The only piece we have not covered is the king.  If we trap the king it is checkmate.  We will not discuss mating nets this week, but we will revisit them in later weeks.
Remember to lookout for any pieces that can be trapped and if you are hoping to checkmate first cover the king's escape route.

Now for a puzzle.  This week from 303 Tactical chess Puzzles, Wilson and Alberston.
It is white to move.  Try and identify a piece with a limited escape route.  Can you find a way to cast the net to first block the escape route trapping it and then moving in for the kill.
Answer next week, or contact me below for the solution.

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