Last week, I posted about forks that I'm showing in my lessons and I left some puzzles. Here's the answers to the easy puzzles, though there were a couple designed to trick you!
The first 2 on the left hand side column are pretty easy, but the puzzles in the right column are a bit tricky. Did you notice that you could use checkmate as a target? And did you notice that it was Black to play in the last puzzle? It always pays to read the question carefully!
I'll leave the harder fork puzzles for another week to give you some more time to solve them! In the meantime, here's another puzzle with a fork, but this time it isn't done by a knight.
One skill that we are trying to develop in chess is building knowledge of a lot of different patterns that we can use in our games. There are lots of Checkmate patterns, and lots of tactical tricks that help us win points. Learning new patterns is great, but solving puzzles from patterns we already know is also good, as it reminds us of things that we might have forgotten.
Here's a pattern that you might know, and if not, you might be able to work it out!
This type of checkmate happens regularly, but it isn't one of the most standard types! I saw exactly the same type of Checkmate happen at a game in my local chess club last week.
This time it is White to play!
Have you played tournament chess yet? If not, then you should really start, as it's the best way to test your chess skills. And every time you win a tournament, there will be a bigger tournament for you to move up to:
- junior rapid events
- junior long play events
- senior rapid events
- senior long play events
- junior Championships
- senior Championships
- International events
- World Championship events
Ok, win the World Championship and you can't get bigger or better than that!!
To start with, all juniors should be building their game so that they feel comfortable playing with clocks. To do this, playing in a rapid event is the perfect start. Melbourne has a number of chess clubs, and they all run rapid events, and so do Kids Unlimited. The KU events are called RJ Shields, after International Master and former Australian number 1 player Robert Jamieson. You can find details of the events here:
Playing in tournaments helps with your chess skills, builds confidence using a clock, and will get you a rating. You then have to grow you rating, as the higher it is, the better you are. Here's the live ratings for the best players in the World, the goal we all need to aim for!
This week I am looking at forks with my classes. Forks are where we aim at more than one target with one piece, and the absolute expert piece at forking is the knight. Here are some easy puzzles to get you going.
Once we can see what a knight fork is, the next stage is to be able to make them happen in our games. Here are some slightly harder puzzles.
And how did you go with last week's mate in 2?
Here's the answer!
On the 1st of every month, the World Chess Federation, FIDE, publish their updated ratings list taking into account games played in the previous month. So yesterday, on May 1st, the new list came out. Of course the top player is still World Champion. Magnus Carlsen, who has had an excellent year so far winning all his tournaments. But there are also age group leaders, country lists, top women players and every Internationally rated player. The youngest were born in 2013!
Ratings signify how well you are playing, and there are rating levels to achieve master titles.
Grand Master (GM) = 2500
International Master (IM) = 2400
FIDE Master (FM) = 2300
Candidate Master (CM) = 2200
Here's the top 10 list from the official FIDE ratings list
There is a site that records the live ratings of the top players after every game they play that is good to follow, called 2700chess. This site also has a list of upcoming events for the top players, so you can see when your favourite player will next be in action!
Here's a list of top players by age group that I made. I try to update this each month. Enjoy!
A new term with new goals and ideas. How much chess are you playing? How much chess study are you doing? The more you play, the better, and chess study is important too. A great site to help players improve is http://www.ideachess.com/ where you can practice checkmates and tricks to win points. The "Checkmate" tab at the top of the page will bring up puzzles for you to solve! Mate in 2 puzzles are really good as you need to see the Checkmate but also prepare for it.
Here's a mate in 2 from a game from last week!
Hi, I've been away for a couple of weeks but now I'm back to test you with some more tricky puzzles. First, how did you go with the last puzzle?
Most of you would have seen that if Black's bishop on h2 moves, it will be check form the rook, a Discovered Check. But the bishop is also in the way of Black's queen as well, so the best move is NOT to retreat but sacrifice the bishop by pushing it out the way. 1..Bg1+! which clears the way for Black's queen to come in to h2 to give Checkmate next move.
Now let's try an even harder puzzle! The answer will be next week!
How did you go with last week's easy puzzle? At least it was easy if you're on the look out for some basic chess ideas. Everyone should be thinking about all the Checks they can do (and that their opponent can do to them) especially with their best pieces. Also, everyone should be aware of the weak spots, squares f2 for White and f7 for Black. With these ways of thinking, the puzzle was unbelievably easy!
Here's this week's puzzle, which is quite easy, but not as easy as last week's.
Do you know who the top players in the World are? I'll be updating this list weekly on a Tuesday. The World Champion has just won a tournament in Holland and stays as World Number 1.