Checkmate in Ten Moves

Checkmate in Ten Moves

Hikaru Junction

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Checkmate in Ten Moves

One thing that I love about chess is that things can go wrong so quickly. Very quickly. In some cases, a player can lose in as soon as four moves. With cooperation from both sides, even two is possible. But under around twenty is usually considered unusually quickly. Here is an opening trappy variation in which, if Black goes wrong, he can lose in as soon as ten moves. And not even by material loss. By checkmate! In this blog, I examine several games with this motif, the correct responses, and what Red Hot Pawn has done when facing this deceptively tricky, sometimes called drawish, opening.

Movses Movsisyan–Thomas Patton Tulsa Open 2004

The problems with Black’s play were 6…Nge7 and 7…Nxd4. 7…Nxd4 blundered a piece, but Black is absolutely lost. Why? 6…Nge7 is simply playing into White’s hands, rendering the e7 knight unable to move (pinned) and the c6 knight also paralyzed (must protect e7). With so many pieces tied down, when Black is inevitably forced to move one of them, he is attacked on the weakened (3…g6) dark squares. Would you like to see it again? Here it is a century earlier. There are a couple slight transpositions, but we get exactly the same final position.

Benjamin Markovich Blumenfeld Moscow 1903

Here is a slightly different, perhaps more logical variation, in which White takes back the pawn immediately instead of trying to capitalize directly on the dark squares.

Grigor Minchev–Dimitar Miraschiev 1986

This idea can even show up in other openings, such as the sometimes-dull (although, really, all openings are sometimes dull) English.

Muller–NN 1928

So what is Black meant to do? Here is, if not a refutation, a way to keep the game equal for Black from 1883 (!) , before any of the games mentioned previously.

Samuel Rosenthal–Wilhelm Steinitz London 1883

Here are some alternative ways from Red Hot Pawn (Some better than others.)

kcc–hubris RHP 2005

Alopinto–joost RHP 2004

eestist–amoz RHP 2005

Finally, here are three Red Hot Pawn openings with the best response.

pdunne–kingaroo RHP 2011

hozefs–Salrosa RHP 2012

And lastly, here’s another game, in which a harshly-fought game is decided by an intense blunder.

Alopinto–Kranium RHP 2005

In this blog, what’ve we learned? Well, for one, I probably just learned that I should avoid sticking a moral on the end of the blog. That sounded very stilted. However, we have learned that we should develop harmoniously. We’ve learned that we shouldn’t waste time. And we’ve learned, above all, that, even if you don’t memorize the openings, just follow general principles and be familiar with their resulting positions, and you’ll be fine. Chess on!

Discussion thread: Thread 167016

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Hikaru Junction
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30 Jun 19
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