Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Exercise in conceptualization

 U try to deepen my knowledge by looking time and again at the problems in my database. That is encouraged by the method of spaced repetition. Some positions are suited for the identification of phantom patterns, while this position seems ideally suited for the conceptualization of ideas around the kingside attack.

r2qk3/pp1n1pp1/2pbp3/3p3n/2P3bP/1PNP4/PB2PPBP/R3QRK1 b q - 0 1

A prime idea would be a black queen at h2, delivering mate. What is the route to that, how could white put up obstacles and how can black level these.

The lines of attack

  • Qd8 - h4 - h2
  • Bd6 - h2

The obstacles 

  • a pawn on h3 blocks the direct access from h4 to h2, albeit the maneuver Qh4 - f4 - h2 might circumvent this. 
  • a pawn on h4 blocks the d6 - h2 diagonal and let the white queen protect h4


  • If you give white too many free tempi, he might get rid of his rook on f1 and  flee with his king to f1
  • If f3 or f4 is played, a hiding place via f2 might be found

Blocking the blocker

1. ... Bf3 blocks f2, thus keeping the diagonal d6 - h2 open. Furthermore, whites queen cannot involve in the defense. 2. Bxf3 maintains the blockade, while it gives up the blockading square h3

Adding defenders

Can white add defenders? No.

The conceptual elements

This gives the following elements for concept building which are quite common:

  • The lines of attack
  • obstacles in the lines of attack
  • obstacles to prevent obstacles from blocking the lines of attack
  • lines of skedaddling
  • adding defenders

With these elements, a recipe for an attack can be put together.

1 comment:

  1. This stratagem of blocking off potential defenders through a sacrifice on f3 (f6) is called Alekhine's Block in Victor Charushin's book The Tactician's Handbook. Effectively it is a blockade on the f3(f6)-square in front of the castled position, preventing an effective defense. Bobby Fischer used it to maximum effect against Pal Benko in the USA Championship, 1963.

    FEN - r3qr1k/pp3pbp/2pn4/7Q/3pP3/2NB3P/PPP3P1/R4RK1 w - - 0 19

    Link: "Rook, Line and Sinker".

    [Note that there are four Chess Tempo tactical problems based on this position.]

    Fischer, Robert J (2690) vs Benko, Pal C (2540)
    Date: 1963-12
    Event: USA-ch, New York
    Round: 10
    Result: 1-0
    Opening: Pirc Defense, Austrian Attack, Weiss Variation (B09)
    Problems: 118015960, 120746200, 130435551, 141338384
    1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. f4 Nf6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 Bg4 7. h3 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 Nc6 9. Be3 e5 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. f5 gxf5 12. Qxf5 Nd4 13. Qf2 Ne8 14. O-O Nd6 15. Qg3 Kh8 16. Qg4 c6 17. Qh5 Qe8 18. Bxd4 exd4 19. Rf6 Kg8 20. e5 h6 21. Ne2 Black resigns