I have selected about 500 tactical problems at chesstempo. Half of them are mates and half of them are other tactics. The selection is based on the frequency of occurrence in the database. It are all 3 movers and the problems are themed. They are rated between 1700 - 2000.
Currently I'm occupied with the lawnmower's mate.
The complexity of the problems is high enough, so that trial and error is not the best strategy to solve the problems. I try to formulate the logic behind the mates. I'm in search for a method that performs better than trial and error.
With Xmind I map all findings and I try to sort them out. That has been no easy task, since every tactical motif can play a role.
But after three days of hard work I seem to have the beginning of a logical method with no redundancy or overkill. There are 4 area's to investigate:
- What about the area the king is in?
- What are the relevant lines of attack?
- What defenders play a role in defending the lines of attack?
- What about tempo moves?
Ad 1. Whereto can the king skedaddle? How can I split the area in order to chase or draw the king into a smaller box?
Ad 2. Which attackers can work on squeezing the killbox?
Ad 3. How can the lines of attack be defended and what is the state of the defenders (pinned or overloaded)?
Ad 4. Here I'm thinking about actual moves for the first time. Which moves let the king not slip off the hook?
With these four areas of attention it seems that most logical details of any mate can be unraveled and described in a consistent and satisfactory way. Even more, these questions can well be used for positional manoeuvers. For instance if you want to trade your bad bishop for a good one in the French defense. Just replace the king by the bishop in your considerations.