Back Rank Interference

September 15, 2012

After a bit of a dry spell, I’ve taken up studying tactics and openings again, among else by joining They offer you a 30-day diamond membership trial and so far, it looks like I’m going to keep it. I prefer their tactics trainer to ChessTempo because the puzzles are much more straightforward and easier, hence more fun and hopefully more likely to ingrain basic patterns in my brain. I’m also a fan of their Chess Mentor feature and the videos. The layout is crisp yet appealing, and the overall feel of the site is that of a community of mostly novices and intermediate players who are motivated to improve but not overzealously so, which is exactly what I’m looking for.

In today’s tactics training, I came across a classic pattern that I had forgotten about, so I made a gif of it. The two patterns it combines are back rank mate and interference.


In the comments, the Chess Adventurer suggests I explain the concept of interference. (From a previous post:) An interference is a piece sacrifice with the intention of cutting off vital lines or blocking escape squares. In the gif below, White sacrifices the knight with check to disrupt the line between Black’s rook and queen.


In the next gif, White uses his bishop for an interference between two connect rooks, effectively trapping Black’s rook in the White camp:

Some Mating Patterns

June 18, 2010

I’ve borrowed Vukovic’s The Art of Attack from the library. His introduction to the attack against the castled king has a section on mating patterns. I think this is a good opportunity to make some gifs reviewing some of these patterns.

Two Knights Mate

Arabian Mate (pawn variation)

Damiano’s Mate

Bishop and Queen Discovery Mate

Quiet Bishop and Queen Discovery Mate (this coincidentally featured in one of LinuxGuy’s games recently)

Anastasia’s Mate


Greco’s Mate

Two Queen and Minor Pieces Mates

Good Old Smothered Mate

Some Mates Involving Rooks

Pin Snatch and Black Bishop Pin

February 16, 2010

Lost against a 1850 and a 1750 in the exact same silly fashion by overlooking a pin followed by a double attack on the pinned piece. I was playing White, the pawn next to my king had been moved, opening the diagonal for Black’s black-square bishop, and each time I stepped right into a classic pin winning the exchange. But because I’m an idiot, I ignored the threat, trying to counter-attack, and on the next move lost the whole rook because I allowed my opponent to attack the pinned piece again. Basic tactics stuff. Blunders come in packs, I suppose. The basic chunk (Qe3? … c3??):

And for good measure, the most common chunks for bishop and castled king:

ACIS of Caissa Improvement Post #1

November 21, 2009

I have played my first two games since the inauguration of the ACIS of CAISSA: a draw against a 1750-player (90’+20” increment) and a win against a 1650-player (40 moves in 2h, +1h). I played as Black both times.

The 1750-game was a veritable chunk fest, not only thanks to the fact that my opponent is quite the wise chess sage and very willing to share his chess wisdom, but also because during our post-mortem we were joined by a 2000-rated player who offered his take on the positions. He talked a lot about “manoeuvres” — I love that word; it’s a great synonym for what I mean when I talk about “chunks” or “ideas” tied to piece placement and move sequences.

The first chunk was a cute idea for Black in the Ruy Lopez:

Then we discussed some thematic Ruy Lopez manoeuvres for White:

And here are two tactical motifs, let’s call them “pin fork” and “mate fork” (they never occurred in the game):

The “mate fork” tactic wasn’t particularly difficult to spot, but I was too absorbed by the idea of g5 and never even considered Nh5.

The game against the 1650-player was some kind of Tarrasch Defence Gambit variation. Nothing very chunky about that game unless you play the Tarrasch Defence.


November 17, 2009

An interference is a piece sacrifice with the intention of cutting off vital lines or blocking escape squares. White sacrifices the knight with check to disrupt the line between Black’s rook and queen. Source: Wikipedia.

In order not to lose the queen, Black is forced to sacrifice the exchange.