The purpose of chess is of course to mate the enemy king. There is nothing more fascinating than an all out attack on the enemy king.
But how many times does this happen in our games? Maybe not so many times as we would hope for. At least that’s my personal experience.
One should develop an eye for it. Some help might be very useful. Strange enough there aren’t many books written about this subject. One such book is ‘Mating the Castled king’ by GM Danny Gormally. This book is solely dedicated to attacking the enemy king, in the place where the monarch thinks he is safe, when castled. One of the main themes in this book is pattern recognition. Danny writes:
“Chess players should have the ability to remember and recognize patterns and themes that repeatedly occur in practice. The more examples we see, the more ingrained these patterns will become until eventually they are second nature.”
Indeed when you recognize certain motifs the good moves almost automatically pop up in our minds. See for instance the first diagram. Can you see how white can obtain a winning advantage? Please think for a while before you read on.
Was it hard to find the correct solution? If you haven’t found the solution yet, you will find it almost within the blink of an eye when I tell you what motif to look for. Think: bank rank mate. Now it becomes a lot more easy.
In his book Gormally gives 160 mating finishes. This one doesn’t necessarily end in mate, but the threat is there. Best case scenario: it ends material loss. See for yourself: 1. Qxf8 Qxf8 (if 1. – Kxf6 2. Bc5+ and mate) 2. Bc5! And black loses the exchange because he has to give his queen (see all variations).
The next example is more complicated. Do you see the motifs? I got the motifs right, but still missed some crucial variations. See the solution.
Danny’s book is very instructive. The examples are not always easy, but you will learn a lot. All these attacks are a lot of fun to study. Besides that Danny’s writing is very witty and a pleasure to read!
Information about ‘Mating the castled king’
- Publisher: Quality Chess, 2014
- Edition: Paperback medium
- ISBN: 978-1-907982-71-2
- Pages: 336
- Language: English
- Price: € 22,95