Takchess Chess Improvement

A Novice chessplayer works to get better at chess using an improvement program based upon the methods of Michael de la Maza and the teachings of Dan Heisman

Friday, September 16, 2005

Reflections upon 7 months of Tactical Training (Part2)

I thought it would be helpful to myself and others to think out loud a little on the specific of tactics. You may find some of these observations trivial but hopefully you will find some value in this post.

I'm organizing this by how the type of problem appear in CT-ART and at times shall refer to specific problems.This way I can refer back to a specific problem on a review. Some things I would change in CT-ART is I would like to have the capability
to bookmark tactical problems or create a subset of problems that I define. Also I would like the ability to automatically create a subset of problems I did not solve totally correctly automatically. Also a notepad feature where I could make comments
attached to the problem who be cool as well. Perhaps CT-ART 4???

Knight Forks

These are the first 20 problems in CT-ART and are somewhat cheapos as one simply has to look for knight forks and not consider other tactics. I also tending to score the highest in the circles in these problems.

Sometimes there are multiple square options to create checks/forks. I found it important to check for alternative squares rather than automatically playing the first one I see . Most Forks problems one needs to make sacrifices to create the forking opportunity. In a game situation, It's important to check and recheck the counting on the trade as to the piece that captures may be recaptured immediately. Also double check that the forcing move is in fact a forcing move. Must be captured by the major piece and not captured by another piece! Incomplete calculation has been a problem of mine.

Most of these you have the opportunity to threaten one major piece:the queen or king. Now you need to explore how to involve the other piece in the fork. There are some opportunities where both the king and queen needs to be moved to a forkable square. In that case, set the queen up first as that move may not be forced then the king. In some cases one has to remove a guard to the square that creates the fork. (problem 111 one needs to capture a bishop that guards the square). Extremely trivial tip (I Check out the colors of the squares for quick calculations.)

When the opponents knight guards a square from which I could attack a major piece with my Knight. By capturing that Knight the opponents pieces that recaptures becomes the object of a Knight Fork. The guard becomes the prey! This was not apparent to me before doing tactical training and is a theme of a number of these tactics. Note to self:look for knights that guard squares that Knights can attack from

Often times when one can setup a fork by a queen check it can be done on multiple squares. All other things being equal it is better to take a piece with the sacrifice instead of moving to an empty square. Many of these problems turn out to be a trade for a queen for a queen + the captured piece.

A King and Queen separated by a space or multiple spaces on a rank or a file is often an object of a knight fork. When King and Queen are next to each other they can be set up by a empty square sacrifice of a rook on either the king or queen. A common theme when a queen has limited mobility moving a rook on the same rank for an empty square sacrifice to set up a pin fork even when it is not pinned.

Sometimes in the position, your opponent has a mating possibilities and trying to move 2 pieces into new squares and then set up a N-fork won't work because not all moves are forced. Tactic 119 is a tactic where playing the natural sacrifice setting up a queen/king fork will result in you loosing the game to checkmate. In game situation it is important to calculate if moves are forced and if not forced calculate your opponents response.

Problems like 123, the fork is less visible because you have to move the opponents King twice once by a sacrifice check followed by a queen check to move it to a forking square. It is restricted from moving to a square safe from the N-fork by an alternate mate threat. Unsure if in a game I would necessarily see this.

Sometime the positions are complicated by the need to move your pieces around to clear space for your knight to occupy the knighting square.

A knight often guards the square in front of the king before it moves and put it in check. This geometrical theme is common in some smothered mates. Sometime the knight
move uncovers other threats:Pins,mating threats, discovered attack on the way to the forking square. There are a number of problems where a Knight move uncovers attacks on the diagonal.

Sometimes the knights are involved in combinations that move the pieces into formation of a knight fork. #128 is a example of this. 2 knight rearrange the board until a knight fork is present.

Hope to add more to this later...


  • At 1:01 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker said…

    clear observations

  • At 8:11 PM, Blogger Siliconpawn said…

    Just found these Rapid Chess Improvement blogs after creating my own chess blog on bloggers.com. I haven't read all of the posts or any of the other knights blogs but plan on doing so in the next day or so.
    One question: Why not use Chess Tactics for Beginners? I see that you too have a link to Dan Heisman's pages and he advocates knowing the simple patterns quickly. This seems to be more inline with CTB than CT-Art which gets very complicated quickly.

  • At 1:54 AM, Blogger takchess said…

    hi chessgeek,
    A valid point. Before tackling Ct-art I did 7 circles with the Bain Book chess tactics for students which Heisman recomended. I found it worthwhile. Some knights use the chess mentor program which starts at far more basic level than Ct-ART and progresses. Ct-ART is a stretch which I continue to work with. We'll see how far it takes me.


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