Friday, March 08, 2013

How to represent checkmate?

I'm making good progress in solving tactics in which I have to gain wood. The method of making diagrams of the essence of positions works very well, and transfers chess knowledge to new positions. At the same time I continue to act poor when it comes to king hunts. That is, mate in x moves. The reason for that is that the king hunt is about squares. Empty or not. It is difficult to make a readable diagram for these mates.

For gaining wood, the diagrams are pretty straight forward. Targets, attackers, squares, defenders are very well represented by a position with arrows and colored squares. But for checkmate, there is a continuous change of covered squares when the pieces move around. When I try to describe that with arrows and colored squares, it becomes chaotic very soon. Since the law is that you can't visualize what you can't represent in the mind, I'm on the lookout for other ways to represent these mates. So far I have no idea how to tackle this problem.

Two random diagrams to see what we are talking about:

Black to move.
5r1k/1p4pp/8/p5n1/2PR2b1/PPBPq1P1/3N3P/6QK b - - 0 1
You can find the solution here.

White to move.
r1b3Q1/p1q5/2n4R/bpk1pp2/8/2P5/P1PB1PP1/1R2K3 w - b6 0 1
You can find the solution here.

Tactics of the same rating that gain wood are much easier for me, lately.


  1. In general you mate by making the king immobile and then any check is mate. Usually mate problesm are about brutal activation of pieces in direction king

    The examples are 2 different (sub)types of mate-puzzles: One puzzle is about removing the defender ( of f1 and f3 ) with an already immobile king.
    The other is preventing the king from escape ( to b6 ).

    You have said that you are good in gaining material and bad in mate so i wonder how you recognise that?
    I had a look at your "Rated Mate Length Performance" (Premium member Tactics Stats). This Performance in Standard is "ok" for mates with a length >3. The performance is seemingly bad for mates <=3 but this might be an artefakt. I suggest that you start your analysis with mates in 1-3

  2. The statistics don't tell all that much since they are mostly based on older facts. I recognize that I am bad at long mate sequences since I fail them much more during standard tactics sessions than gaining wood tactics. Besides that I feel that the mind has trouble with them. I have difficulty to visualize them.