Checks, Capture, Threats and Long Diagonals

mygames_mate_01This post is more self-congratulatory than educational, perhaps, but what’s the use of having your own blog if you can’t indulge in patting yourself on the back every now and then? ;)

Dan Heisman’s advice for the novice is to look in each position for “checks, capture, threats”. In my experience so far, this is the single most useful and important motto to guide your thought-process in chess, and I’m still trying to burn it into my flesh by saying “checks, captures, threats” in my head every time me or my opponent make a move.

Yesterday I played a game as Black against an opponent rated at 2000. I live in a small country, so the rating may not say as much, but it’s still 2000, right? I managed to get into a favourable position and figured out a way to sacrifice my knight for the exchange after 1. … Qf7+ 2. Kxa4. So I half-heartedly forced myself to do the “checks, captures, threats” routine, my eyes greedily devouring the rook on f1, saliva drooling from my mouth — you get the picture — when on “checks” I behold Qa2+! Qa2+ is a difficult move to find because the queen moves on a long diagonal, and moves on long diagonals are tricky beasts because your chess vision has to stretch over the entire board. Owing to Heisman’s magic formula, I was able to spot it in time; I don’t think I would have, otherwise.

Of course, now that I had stumbled upon Qa2+ I was supposed to calculate. However, I was running short on time (15 minutes versus 40 minutes), and I am a lazy bastard, so I reckoned, what the hell, I’m playing with Fischer time control, so perhaps I owe it to Fischer to go for the mate. Later I found out that the position’s not mate, but yields Black a huge advantage (White has to sacrifice his queen if he wants to avoid mate). So today I am one happy pawn, and I would like to dedicate this victory to Mr Heisman.

Thanks to Tuirgin, the game in its entirety is now available here.


17 Responses to Checks, Capture, Threats and Long Diagonals

  1. Great post and stunning diagram. Amazing! I will send the link to Mr Heisman!

  2. chunkyrook says:

    Thanks, Farbror, very kind.

  3. chesstiger says:

    Pity you dont have the ability to use something like chessflash or another pgnviewer here at wordpress (that’s the reason i abondened wordpress) so it would be easier to go over the game.

    I also find Dan Heisman’s Novice Nook a good read even though i am rated 1979 (Fide rating) but i have already learned that i still have much to learn.

  4. chunkyrook says:

    If you have WinBoard, of course, you can simply copy the move sequence, open WinBoard’s edit mode and hit ALT+V or go to “File > Paste game from clipboard”.
    Also: I think jsPGNViewer works on WordPress. I’ll look into it.

  5. Oh, I managed to post some stuff usingh a pgn viewer at a wordpress based blog some time ago. I think I generated a little piece of code at and just pasted the code int a blog entry.

  6. chesstiger says:

    Farbror the Guru that is because you run your wordpress blog on your own domain. If you use to have your blog at owned by wordpress then no viewer is allowed by them.

  7. I’d be willing to host complete pgn games. I’ve got palview set up on my host server. So long as my buddy who is providing my web hosting doesn’t complain, I’m more than happy to host other people’s games.

    If you’d rather use a html export from Aquarium (or Chessbase, or SCID, or whatever) that’s fine, too. The only thing I don’t have the time or inclination to do at this time is to set up any kind of application servers. I can create a directory for each person who wants me to host their games for display.

    For example purposes (the chess is by no means brilliant):

  8. Oh, I forgot to mention the most important thing here… Congrats! Now if I can just keep you from doing the same to me. :-P

  9. chunkyrook says:

    Thanks for the offer, Christopher, much appreciated. Question is: can we upload the games ourselves once you created a directory, or would we have to bother you each time we’d like to put a game on the server?

  10. Hrm. Good question. I might be able to get my friend to set up individual ftp accounts, but that means more work for him and I haven’t paid him in a while. ;-) I might be able to come up with some kind of light-weight p2p solution… let me think about it. Initially, at least, you’d probably just need to email me a pgn file with your games, or if you’re doing the export to html from Aquarium send me a zipped archive. The files won’t be that big, so bandwidth isn’t really an issue.

  11. chunkyrook says:

    Frankly, I don’t think it’s worth your trouble, at least not for the few games I’ll be posting here every once in a while. But thanks for your help. Of course, if you’ve got a spare minute and could copy/paste the PGN notation above and put it onto the “Chunky Rook” directory, that’d be great, but there’s no rush and no need if it’s too complicated.

  12. Are you able to install plugins on your hosted WordPress blog? If you can there’s a wp plugin called chess-by-blog which allows you to post your PGN and through css magic turns it into a playable chess board. It’ll show annotation and everything.

    If not, it’s really no big deal to post these things on my site. If it’s something that more people want I’m sure I could get some kind of workflow going that would make it even easier for me.

  13. chunkyrook says:

    Excellent, and you even adjusted the colours! Once again, thanks a lot.

  14. You’re welcome. I’m willing to do this for anyone in the community up until the point that it just takes too much time to manage it.

  15. Lawrence says:

    Nice piece of tactic, congrats! Is it just me or White is playing rather dubiously in the opening(for a 2000-rated player I mean)? Anyway, keep it up with the diagrams, you’re doing a hell of a job!

  16. chunkyrook says:

    I can’t comment on the opening theory, because I know virtually nothing about 1. b3. We did a brief post-mortem and, as far as I remember, came to the conclusion that 13. d4 and 15. b4 might have been too passive. In retrospect, he also seemed uncertain about 5. Be2. From my point of view (although the computer disagrees), White has a good game after 11. g4, so I wouldn’t go so far as to say he misplayed the opening, but I would agree that it wasn’t played particularly effectively or dangerously. Anyway, thanks for the kind words, hope to see you around!

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