The Elephant, the Lion, the Skunk and the Hawk + Queen Sacrices.

The Elephant, the Lion, the Skunk and the Hawk + Queen Sacrices.

The Planet Greenpawn

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The Elephant, the Lion, the Skunk and the Hawk + Queen Sacrices.


Let us start with a joke.

There once was a clever Elephant.

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Who one day was challenged to a consultation
game of chess against a Lion, a Skunk and a Hawk.

The Lion, the Skunk and the Hawk were good chess players
who studied the game together everyday.

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Nobody gave the clever Elephant a chance.

However, the clever Elephant was super clever and made up
an opening trap and showed it to his wife.

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After the moves: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.b3 Nd7 4.Nf3 g6 5.Nc3 Qa5 6.Rb1

Black cannot take the Knight with a check because 6…Qxc3+ 7.Bd2 traps the Queen.

She wished him luck and off went the clever Elephant
to play the Lion, the Skunk and the Hawk.

20 minutes later he was back.

“Well?” asked the clever Elephant’s wife. “Did they fall for it?”

“Oh Yes.” replied the clever Elephant, “They took the bait….”

“…Hawk, Lion and Stinker.”

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This was posted as a comment on the last blog by Porky1016.

“GP, I have just started working on tactics as I find that is my biggest weakness.
Here is my question:
How do I get over the fear of a queen sac or even a sac of a major piece?
I see that many times it will lead to a mate or at least a piece ahead
but I can't make myself consider a strong attack if it includes a major sac?
Any advice?

Quite a valid question.

We are told from day one not to lose pieces and if we can,
take our opponents pieces. Good advice.

Yet when we see the games of the good players pieces and Queens
are given away (sacrificed) to attack and mate the King.

How (and when) do we make the leap from piece hoarder to a Queen sacrificer.

Now you have to be aware there are no words I can use that will turn
you into a sharp combative tactical player. You must be willing to put the time in.

Get hold of any book covering tactics. Read it, look at the examples,
play out the examples and solve the puzzles the writer gives at the
end of each chapter. (most learn tactics/combinations book follow that formula )

This book is perfect.

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More than 200 mating combinations dissected and explained.
14 chapters, each chapter ending with a ‘solve it yourself section.’

Look at games that have tactical turns in them. Practically any game
chosen at random from the RHP site that ends in a mate will have something
in there for you to mull over.
(try it, pick an under -1600 player, look at his games and the final diagrams,
Choose those ends in mate in the middle game or mate just about
to be played and play it out.)

You will see ideas, patterns, tricks, miss shots, blunders…
With each game you will build up an armoury of weapons.

You will spot the signposts in your game when it’s time to STOP
and switch into Combo Mate Mode. Material considerations are suddenly
tossed out the window. You have to find the clockwork moves that
mate the King and if that involves a sacrifice or two then so be it.

Sometimes to can you can sacrifice the chess set to get mate.
This is from Tal’s book.

But let’s stay with Queen sacrifices and the fear players have about
playing the greatest sac of all.

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I bet you never expected that. I shall explain.

Standard mating attacks are very straightforward and uncomplicated.
You calculate, “sac check, sac check, check and mate.” end of game.

Playing any combination that does end in mate and you need
the added skill to assess the position after the combination.
No need to do that with a mating attack. The game is over.

If the mating attack involves a sacrifice then the attacker has to consider;
“What happens if my opponent refuses the sacrifice?”

Look at this crude example. White to play.

White plays 1.Nxf8 and if Black takes it 1…Kxf8 2.Rd8 mate.

Of course Black has no need to take it. He can ignore it.

Swap the Knight for a Queen.

1.Qxf8+ Kxf8 Black must take it, mate next move.

That is beauty of Queen sacs in mating combo’s you very very
rarely have to consider what happens if you opponent refuses the
sac because 99 time out of 100 they have no choice.

Some simple examples all from RHP.

ManualEngine - Opasek RHP 2010 White to play.

1.Qxg7+ no choice for Black 1…Kxg7 2.Rh7 mate.

jankrb - mister christer RHP 2009 White to play

1.Qxh7+ Kxh7 forced. 2.Bf7 mate.

RussellR - olddog RHP 2007

1.Qxf7+ Kxf7 no need to calculate anything else. 2.Bg6 mate.

And finally this is good.
I have tampered with it a wee bit for instructive purposes.

csw - DonPrez RHP 2008

So recap:
Mating attacks have the bonus that the game stops the second mate appears.
You can invest material in mating the King without worry.
There is no need to consider or calculate any further looking to see
if your opponent has a counter combo or counter attack.

Kicking off a mating combination with a Queen sacrifice
usually means you need not consider refusals.
As in the previous examples the Queen must be taken.
It’s just pure and simple calculation with nothing to cloud you.

It’s the ideal combination for the lazy chess player. Infact Queen sac
mates should be the first thing you look for. They are the easiest to calculate.

So Pork1016 I hope that helps.
Check all Checks (starting with Queen checks) look to see if they get anywhere.
You have seen some examples of players from your class saccing Queens
and I’ll end with 4 test positions for you to solve. (The first move is easy!).

But of course I had to look at a few of your games to see if per chance
you did miss a Queen sac mating a King.

I found an iffy one (the 2nd game I looked at following the above
method for choosing games)

marcoart - Porky1016 Game 8211524

I was lured after seeing this final position. White has resigned.

Looks like loads of interesting things have happened here.

Back here…Black (Porky) to play.

You played 32…Nxf2+ which is good and may be best.

When looking at mating attacks, before you dive in with the check,
look at shutting off the King’s flight squares first.

A Queen sac trap (one move deep and sadly not forced) was 32…Ngxf4.

If 33 RxQ then Nxf2 is mate.

But it’s one of them awkward ones that requires thought.
“What happens if the sac is not accepted?”

Would friend marcoart have fallen for it? We will never know.
But he does have missing a Knight mate in one move on his CV.

Game 6055644 Beatlemania - marcoart RHP 2009

Black played 13…d5 missing completely 14.Nc7mate.

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Four test positions. All are from RHP.
In each one it is White to play and mate in 3

See how easy they are to solve. (I won’t even bother giving solutions)

martin65 - damirs RHP 2009

mixup1 - patzdaddy RHP 2006

byrds32 - chesswoods RHP 2006

Zebbot - Macroman RHP 2005 This is good and well worked out.

The Planet Greenpawn
Last Post
10 Jun 24
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