Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Chess960: When the queen comes out early

Found a brilliant example of a start position where the queen can come out with attack as soon as the second move. The amazing thing is that there is no way to attack her and she is immediately putting pressure on the opponents position:

SP169: Queen out on move 2!

White starts with the Birds Opening System 1.f4 except here this opens a line for the queen to come straight out into the middle of the board. White follows up with the strong move 3.c4!? which achieves multiple things:
  • Immediately attacks d5
  • The d5 pawn is pinned against the undefended d8 bishop
  • If black tries to attack the queen to gain tempo with something like c6/Bb6, white plays c5!? blunting the attack and preventing the corner knight from being able to develop.
  • White has not really neglected king safety because of O-O/Bf2 combination.
I haven't seen such a clear example like this before for bringing out the queen early with no cheap way of counter attacking her. Black has plenty of options, but it is an amazing little start position #169 that's for sure! It all stems from the pin on the d5 pawn against black's dark bishop.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Chess960 puzzle no.17

Should white be freaked out by white's attack here? I found myself ruminating over this question during a game. I realise that this does not even look like a Chess960 problem any more but when you think about it, how else could black's knight have reached d6 without it being Chess960? The point is that Chess960 does throw up different versions of classic chess mid-game themes.

It turns out to be a nice puzzle because it can be broken down into individual problems that can  be independently analysed to arrive at a solution. The threat is black can aim all his big pieces down the f-h files in tandem with opening up the kings's safety - a standard hack attack.

SP076 Black to play - does black have a serious attack on white's king?

Answer bottom left hand corner of this page

Break the problem down into manageable chunks.
A) If ...f5 white plays e4 with a strong attack
B) if ...g5 white has the defense Bh4! followed by g3
C) if ...h5-h6 white has g3 stopping black's progress

A+B+C means white can safely proceed with a queen-side (c-side) attack
Answer: no!