The joy of writing a blog by oneself is that you have complete control over what you do, what you say, the direction and content. The downside is that when you suddenly become busy with life and work, the blog becomes redundant. That's what happened over the weekend. I mean, I can't complain, it's good to have a full life. It's just when I say that the answer will be posted "tomorrow", and on that day I don't even see my computer, it is a bit frustrating!
Anyway, continuing with things tactical, I posted this position:
I solved this puzzle on Chess Tempo the other day, and thought it was trickier than it looks. The problem has a rating of about 2040, so you can gauge your tactical strength based on that. It's white to play and win, but that is the only clue that you get. It took me just over 3 minutes to solve it, but my thinking was skewed at a couple of points.
I instantly saw the pin 1.Be4 and was tempted to play it straight off, but my time on Chess Tempo has taught me to search deeper, to look for your opponent's ideas, and to look for other opportunities. This is a thought process that can help maximise results if used properly. "When you see a good move, look for a better one", as the great world champion Emanuel Lasker famously said.
So I started to think about the f7 square, I noticed my rook on f1 is attacked, I considered taking on g6, and even 1.h5. This is what I like about Chess Tempo, the fact that you are in a game situation. You are still trying to find best moves, but have no idea in which way they are best, and often, the obvious try is not right, or the first move is right, but the following moves aren't as your opponent finds defences that you hadn't taken into account.
Eventually, I found the forcing line:
1.Be4 Rxe4 [pretty much forced or white is just taking on g6 with check] 2.Qxe4 Bxf1 [Again, virtually forced as black is already an exchange down, and white threatens Qxg6+, the main theme of the puzzle]
So this was the position that you had to envisage at the start of the problem, and calculate. Once I saw the idea 3.Qxg6+! I knew I'd solved the puzzle, but you had to see it before making the first move. 3..fxg6 4.Rxf8 leaving white an exchange ahead.
So, use Chess Tempo to:
- extend your vision
- develop tactical awareness
- practice your calculation skills