A Modern Guide to Checkmating Patterns

The goal of chess is of course to checkmate your opponent. That can be done in different ways.

Chess often revolves around pattern recognition. Once you have studied those patterns and know them by heart, it is a lot easier to see how to checkmate an opponent during a game. That’s what this book is about.

Of course you have not read anything new with this introductory text. But reading (or hearing) and knowing is often something different than doing it in practice. That is precisely why this is such a usefull book. You can practice a lot and will never forget the patterns you have learned.

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The all import patterns and themes in chess

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.Read More »

The big failure of most opening books

eindspel_300Since I was young I had the dream of writing a book. I did not have a clue what this book should be about, but for some kind of weird reason I thought life would be completely different if I ever would succeed in my endeavour.

In my twenties I was a fanatic chess player. So I had vague ideas about writing a chess book.

Finally almost thirty years later my first book rolled from the presses. It was off a, maybe in the eyes of most people, little less glamorous nature than a novel or a chess book. It was about selling. Anyhow, it became a big success.

What I can remember from my first contacts with publishers was the question:

  • ‘For whom are you writing this book?’

Their second question was:

  • ‘After they have read your book, what value would this book have given to them?’ or ‘What’s in it for them?’

By the way: they asked lots of other unpleasant questions. But these two questions stuck out like a sore thumb. Publishers are an annoying bunch of people. It was of course obvious what my book was about?! Please don’t start to nag about trivia such as my intended target group. Why didn’t they understand?Read More »

Chess puzzle #13: tactics time

Tim Brennan received a lot of praise and some harsh criticism for his book ‘Tactics time’. The book contains 1001 chess tactics from players like you and me.

If you are looking for complicated and difficult tactics this book is not for you. This book is an anthology of the cheap and messy tricks of the everyday chess amateur. 

Almost all the tactics are very (very) simple. I played through the book on my Kindle (see the Kindle edition) and missed only a couple correct solutions.

The warning ‘this book could help you improve your chess game significantly’ seems a bit exaggerated. I think it might be true for lower rated players, say players under 1200. But that doesn’t mean the one can’t derive a lot of pleasure from the book and the tactics. I did and still do.

I subscribed to Tim’s newsletter (see his website) and receive his chess problems on a regular basis. It is always fun to have a look at it. To let you share in the fun I present you one of his problems. See the diagram. Black played 21. … Qb4 and white responded with 22. Bc2. Was this the best move, or was there a better possibility?

See the game and the solution… (with thanks to Tim Brennan’s newsletter).

Go to the next chess puzzle…