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1.  agentreno
11 Apr '08 21:17 / 4 edits
I'm on the verge of tearing my hair out trying to solve mates in 2 on a regular basis. I'm working my way through the Polgar book and I can see how it helps improve my understanding of the ways the pieces can work together but the likes of the problems I show below give me far too much trouble; I frequently spend more than 5 minutes on some of them, and I can't even solve some of them without looking at the answer! I think the Queen and Knight interaction in particular escapes me.

Does anybody have similar troubles with the specific mate in 2's I'm talking about? Can anyone suggest a reason why I'm having such a block? I have no such problems with typical problems with more pieces on the board!

2. 11 Apr '08 21:25 / 1 edit
Originally posted by agentreno
I'm on the verge of tearing my hair out trying to solve mates in 2 on a regular basis. I'm working my way through the Polgar book and I can see how it helps improve my understanding of the ways the pieces can work together but the likes of the problems I show below give me far too much trouble; I frequently spend more than 5 minutes on some of them, and I blems with more pieces on the board!

[fen]8/8/2p5/2K5/1PQ5/4N3/3k4/6N1 w KQkq 0 1[/fen]
Might be worth writing down what you're thinking step by step as you're trying to solve the problems. Do you jump straight to a move? Do you look at queen moves first? etc

As to the way id go about solving them is looking at the possible king flight squares and going from there. If you try to imagine a net around the black king made up of squares white controls, it might make it easier.....maybe you could print them off and use a marker to colour in the squares white controls around the king before trying to solve it. I believe this should make it much easier for you.
3.  agentreno
11 Apr '08 21:30
Thanks, it does sound like a good suggestion, I already try to imagine the net around the king but frequently the solution lies in paradoxically moving the net so the king is forced to into a mate in a different net (if you get my meaning). I think I'll take your advice and start marking the squares visibly rather than just in my minds eye though, cheers.
4. 11 Apr '08 21:32
Originally posted by agentreno
Thanks, it does sound like a good suggestion, I already try to imagine the net around the king but frequently the solution lies in paradoxically moving the net so the king is forced to into a mate in a different net (if you get my meaning). I think I'll take your advice and start marking the squares visibly rather than just in my minds eye though, cheers.
I think its a good idea, you'll start to notice the pattern to the nets quicker.
5. 11 Apr '08 21:37 / 2 edits
Originally posted by agentreno
I'm on the verge of tearing my hair out trying to solve mates in 2 on a regular basis. I'm working my way through the Polgar book and I can see how it helps improve my understanding of the ways the pieces can work together but the likes of the problems I show below give me far too much trouble; I frequently spend more than 5 minutes on some of them, and I blems with more pieces on the board!

[fen]8/8/2p5/2K5/1PQ5/4N3/3k4/6N1 w KQkq 0 1[/fen]
I used to have some trouble with these problems. Now, not so much.

The key is to look for all the escape squares for the king. For example, e1 is the only square not covered and thus the only escape square. You then realize that Nf3 would cover this square and deliver mate if the king doesn't move. However, the other knight would be unprotected and could be captured -escaping mate. Also noticing that e1 is mined due to the Queen mate, Kd4 makes sense. Black can only prolong death with moves like c5. The king will have to go to e1 eventually. This is the systematic approach. If you look deeper, you may find shorter ways, like Qe2+ but Kd4 is the easiest to see and play.

EDIT: More detail on thought process.
6. 11 Apr '08 21:39
Seems like Bedlam already said most of what I did. I should have refreshed the page before replying.
7. 12 Apr '08 00:34
Just a little addition into the net creation idea. I personally find it helpful to go to the analysis board here and then add a piece (pawns usually) onto squares I control. Basically this makes a permanent marker for the net and clearly illustrates where the king is free to flee to.
8. 12 Apr '08 03:46
My biggest problem is solving a problem where you need to just make a waiting move. Those always screw me up. The other problem is that most of these problems require that you deliver check every move, so when they slip one in that doesn't, I'm off step.
9. 12 Apr '08 06:14
Originally posted by exigentsky
I used to have some trouble with these problems. Now, not so much.

The key is to look for all the escape squares for the king. For example, e1 is the only square not covered and thus the only escape square. You then realize that Nf3 would cover this square and deliver mate if the king doesn't move. However, the other knight would be unprotected and co ...[text shortened]... ays, like Qe2+ but Kd4 is the easiest to see and play.

EDIT: More detail on thought process.
I was surprised by your thought process. I immediately began calculating Qe2+ when I first saw the position and found the mate. Kd4 to me seems harder.

I think this habit of mine is because of CTS. In there, almost 90 percent of the time one of the checks wins. and though you are obviously a stronger player than me, I would advise to look at checks first in such positions.
10.  wittywonka
Chocolate Expert
12 Apr '08 07:32 / 2 edits
Originally posted by exigentsky
Also noticing that e1 is mined due to the Queen mate, Kd4 makes sense. Black can only prolong death with moves like c5...If you look deeper, you may find shorter ways, like Qe2+ but Kd4 is the easiest to see and play.
That's what makes mating puzzles like this one so difficult; sometimes the other side can "stall" for a move, which invalidates that whole line. It's not a mate-in-two any more after Kd4.
11. 12 Apr '08 08:25
Originally posted by agentreno
I'm on the verge of tearing my hair out trying to solve mates in 2 on a regular basis. I'm working my way through the Polgar book and I can see how it helps improve my understanding of the ways the pieces can work together but the likes of the problems I show below give me far too much trouble; I frequently spend more than 5 minutes on some of them, and I ...[text shortened]... blems with more pieces on the board!

[fen]8/8/2p5/2K5/1PQ5/4N3/3k4/6N1 w KQkq 0 1[/fen]
I wouldn't say that is a particularly good example but there are two things that may help you: The solution here escapes your attention for two reasons: You are expecting (I believe) a classical composed mate in 2, where it is almost never the case that the first move is check (1.Qe2+ - a most brutal first move at that). Second, because of that fact your mind is focused on a quiet paradoxical move (a brutal check on the first move is inconceivable in for mates in 2, even if it is tolerable in mates in 5 or more).
What I would typically look for in here: 1) It is obvious that the mates are set (that is if Black were to move White mates in 1 - e.g. 1...Kxe3 2.Qd4. But it is easy to see that White does not have a waiting move - nevertheless your mind is still focused on the same mating pictures.
2) You would expect a move that changes the mates (since there is not mating first move). Like in this example:

In any case - since these are giving you trouble do check the checks first, and only after invalidating them seek a quiet move.