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

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.

Posted to The Planet Greenpawn

Show Comments (11)
Comments (11)

  • Posted 3129 days 13 hours and 56 minutes ago
    Standard membergurjeet751
    <a href="">pet potty grass</a>
  • Posted 3130 days 5 hours and 43 minutes ago
    Standard membercraigy
    (Previous comment snipped, here's the rest.)

    If you simply fear the possibility that you've miscalculated your attack, and are worried that you won't get that checkmate, or recover the Queen with an extra piece, then consider the following:

    1) If you discount a move that you've calculated as winning because you're afraid you made a mistake in your calculations; then your opponent didn't beat you, you beat yourself.

    2) Practice thinking through all your opponents defensive options. Even prentend to swap colours in your mind, with the advantage that you now 'know the attack plan'. The point is that you can't be confident of your calculations if you haven't bothered to do them in the first place.

    3) Have the confidence to play the move (provided you followed #2). In the worst case, you lose a game and win the knowledge of a new technique you didn't know before.
  • Posted 3130 days 5 hours and 45 minutes ago
    Standard membercraigy
    All your articles are great. Very entertaining, and have given me new insights on teaching & learning the beautiful game.

    I had the impression that Porky's question "can't make myself consider a strong attack" pertained more to the kind of position that cannot easily be calculated through to the end. To which I'd offer the following tips:

    1) Master the decisive attacks before taking on the indecisive ones. In fact this will also develop the skills to analyse deeper; with the result that some of the previously "merely strong attacks" become decisive.

    2) Try it out. Nothing beats learning how to attack by having another player refute your attack.

    3) To reiterate GP's advice, always consider the sac not being accepted - especially in multi-sac combinations. E.g. In marcoart - Porky1016, after 32....Ngxf4, 33.Rg7 (giving escape square for K and a checkmate threat) looks a little uncomfortable. (After checking all checks, check all checkmate threats.)

    If you simply fe
  • Posted 3134 days 5 hours and 39 minutes ago
    Standard memberReinier84
    These are really high-quality and entertaining chess blogs, greenpawn! I especially like all the nice examples you give from games played on RHP.
  • Posted 3138 days 8 hours and 56 minutes ago
    Standard membertharkesh
    everything that is not related to elephants is irrelephant!
  • Posted 3138 days 18 hours and 14 minutes ago
    Standard membervishyanand
    You have great flair for writing and sharing knowledge. Just awesome ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Posted 3140 days 4 hours and 27 minutes ago
    Standard membertvochess
    In the same game, after 1. ... Kg8, I would go for 2. Qd8 Ne8 3. Qxe8# or similar with 2. Rd8.

    But of course, you wanted to show a queen sac...

    I enjoy your blog every week. Nice work!
  • Posted 3140 days 6 hours and 33 minutes ago
    I deleted a note and took out 2 moves! Corrected.
  • Posted 3140 days 6 hours and 54 minutes ago
    Standard membertorten
    In the example csw - DonPrez RHP 2008
    Shouldn't that be 3.Bb4+ and then 4.Rd8+ because in the line you give black has 3.Ke7.

    Or am I missing the point?
  • Posted 3140 days 9 hours and 6 minutes ago
    Hi and thank you.

    You are correct there is a lot that has to happen before
    you can start looking for such things.

    The Queen sac to mate a King is just a very small part of
    the game.

    My job in that blog was to take away some of the fear,
    the mystic, it really is the easiest combo to play.
    Last Post
    06 Dec '19
    Blog since
    06 Jul '10