Learn chess with Pete

Beginners Level

Lesson 8 Ė Final Words

Apologies to those who have been waiting for the next articles (yes there are one or two!).The fact is, Iíve run out of steam. Iím good at starting things, but not taking them through to a conclusion (a bit like my chess really!). Thereís also the small fact that I donít know a lot more about chess than Iíve put in these articles. Sad, after playing for fifty years.

Anyway, the thing to remember is that Chess is meant to be fun. I know it takes all sorts, but I just canít understand what people get out of playing stodgy chess. Go for the throat! You can win a lot of games at club level by being able to see just two or three moves ahead, if your opponent is unimaginative. This usually involves sacrificing material. You can also lose a lot of games by not quite seeing everything accurately three moves deep, as I know all too well.

I find that itís good practice to play through puzzles. Itís worth saying a bit about the difference between puzzles and problems. Chess problems are usually bizarre positions most unlikely to appear over the board devised by someone with no life. The key move is nearly always something so obscure that no normal player would even look for it over the board. You might be able to tell that Iím not a fan. This is because I can never find the answer. Puzzles on the other hand, are game-like positions where you have to find mate in two or three, and often involving a sacrifice.

Here are a few puzzles. Iím not going to give the answers because theyíre pretty easy.

White to play and mate in two. Black to play and mate in two. White to play and mate in three.

And hereís what I think was the ultimate achievement in chess ever.

J H Blackburne the great 19th century English player announced forced checkmate, as was the custom in those days. The thing was it was in sixteen moves and he was playing blindfold!†
Click here for the solution.

Finally, remember what Tartakover said Ė ďThe winner of the game is the player who makes the next-to-last mistakeĒ