Saturday, December 24, 2005

12 Move Checkmate

I usually don't brag about my chessplaying. Sure, I've been fortunate enough to be taught by some very good players, but I also get my ass regularly ass whipped by other players better than I. However... I do have my good days. And today was a red letter day because I checkmated some poor guy in 12 moves and that's awfully fast for chess.

This game was played on, a very cool little site for all kinds of games... backgammon, chess, checkers, scrabble, etc. They have a 24 hour chess ladder I play on which prevents me from stalling as long as a month between every move. On my particular ladder, there are over 1600 players and I am currently ranked 762 and climbing. Some of the players at my level whoop my arse, and some don't. When I stop climbing, I'll know my approximate skill level.

Before I tell you about the game, here's a rough and tumble glossary of chess terminology:

battery: a piece that protects your attacking piece

pin: a piece preventing an opponent's piece from moving because that move would put his King in check

fork: a piece that attacks two pieces simultaneously

decouvert: French meaning "uncover". A piece that, when moved, allows a 2nd piece to attack.

gambit: a sacrifice of a piece to gain a strategic advantage
Here's the game I finished playing today:
1. e4 d5
2. Nc3 d4
3. Nd5 e5
4. Bc4 Be6
5. Nf3 c6
6. Nxe5 cxd5
7. exd5 Bxd5
8. Qe2 Be7
9. Nxf7 Kxf7
10. Qh5+ Kf8
11. Bxd5 Nf6
12. Qf7# 1-0

And here's the game with my running commentary:

1. e4 I move my pawn out; a very traditional opening.
d5 He moves his pawn out, but not a traditional opening. What's he planning?

2. Nc3 I pull out my Knight to attack his pawn AND protect my pawn should he decide to take it.
d4 He moves his pawn forward to attack my Knight. Interesting. Since a Knight is very powerful in the center of the board, and it's currently under attack...

3. Nd5 ...I move my Knight to one of the center squares, where it's protected by my pawn.
e5 Now he moves his King's pawn out 2 squares. I'm unclear what he's planning, but this pawn protects the other pawn. Weird.

4. Bc4 Time to lay the foundation for a decouvert. I bring out my Bishop to align it behind my Knight, because my Knight will almost certainly will be forced to move shortly. After it does, my Bishop will be attacking F7, the King's Bishop square.
Be6 And, predictably, my opponent tries to thwart my decouvert by moving his Bishop in the way. Darn it!

5. Nf3 Okay... He's left his other pawn unprotected and if I could just get my other knight in the center squares, that combination could be really dangerous and leave me many options. So I'll bring out my other Knight to attack that E file pawn.
c6 Yup, it's time to move that other Knight, because he's attacking me now with a pawn. But where to go? You know, maybe an offense is a good defense... I'll just disregard his pawn attack and go ahead with my other plan...

6. Nxe5 ...and take that E file pawn. Crap, now I'm in a good position for a Bishop-Knight battery to maybe take his Queen. Very cool. Go ahead, buster, take that other Knight, I really don't care!
cxd5 Wow, he really didn't take my Knight. Oh well.

7. exd5 Well, no biggie. I can just take that pawn with my own pawn. Now I have his Bishop under attack by my pawn (which is protected by my Bishop), and I have a Knight in the center of the board AND a possible decouvert going. Sure, he's got one of my Knights now, and I have only 2 pawns, so I am down 1 point, but positionally, I have the advantage. Plus, his other pawn on the D file is unprotected. Yummy.
Bxd5 Oh, okay. He takes my pawn now with his Bishop. If he continues by taking my other Bishop, I can take his Bishop with my Knight. Even so, I'd rather not have him take my Bishop... Wait a minute... by moving his Bishop, he just freed up the rank in front of his King. If I moved my Knight away, I could put him in check with my Queen if I moved my Queen. Ooo! And if I moved my Knight to attack his Queen-which also would put him in check by using my Queen decouvert-he'd be screwed. I love decouverts!

8. Qe2 My plan for world domination commences: the Queen moves into position.
Be7 Crapper! He's seen my decouvert by moving his Bishop in front of his King. Still, if I move my knight away, his Bishop will be pinned against his King, at least until he moves his King. Hmmmm. I'm still focusing on that F7 square with my Bishop and my Knight... what if I throw him a gambit by taking his F7 pawn and forking his Queen and Rook? If I could lure him into take my Knight with his King, I could "buy" the knowledge that he couldn't castle; gaining that kind of knowledge this early in the game might be worth sacrificing that knight. I'm already down 2 points... Fuck it!

9. Nxf7 I take his pawn and say, "Queen in Danger" (that's the courteous thing to say)
Kxf7 Yes! He bought it! Okay... now I have to keep him in check if I can... keep him on the run... I can't move my queen out to F3, because his Bishop could take me out in a heartbeat. But if I bring my lady out to attack him from h5, then I'm forking his King and his Bishop at once. Cool!

10. Qh5+ The lady moves out. Check!!!!
Kf8 The King steps back. I bet he's saying, "Whoa! Where'd that come from???" But now my noose is tightening. If I can pull off a Bishop-Queen battery, I'll be butter. That probably won't happen, but I can at least position my Bishop to take out his Queen-side Rook and gain some points.

11. Bxd5 Yeah... I take his Bishop to pave the way for a Bishop-Queen battery. If he takes my Bishop with his Queen, I take his Queen... and then eventually his Queen-side rook.
Nf6 Nice move! He brings out his Knight to fork my Queen and Bishop. It's a good move, but it's just not fast enough...

12. Qf7# ...because when I move my Queen to f7, it's protected by my Bishop... and can only mean that:
1-0 I have put him in checkmate.


Anonymous said...

Well played!

He should have played 9 ... Bxf7. If you traded and followed with 11 Qf3+, you can win another pawn, though 12 ... Qd5 protects the rook and almost forces a queen trade, which leaves him up two knights but down three pawns. With the queens gone and black's forces poised for a strong attack, white would be hard-pressed to regain equality.

However, part of being a good chess player is knowing when to take the risks ... and this one certainly paid off for you in a dramatic fashion! Bravo


Ross Pruden said...

Yes, exactly! Why he took my Knight with his King is a mystery... maybe he wanted to keep his Bishop in the center of the board? Even moving his Qe8 instead of Kf6 at the last second would have been better, as that would have forced a Queen exchange if I was still intent on my attack.

I suppose that Queen-Bishop fork was too hard to resist!

Woodpusher said...

What a comedy of errors. Black's e5 threatened to trap the Knight with c6, but neither player noticed that. (The Knight looks wonderfully centralized on d5 but has no safe squares, e.g. b4 is held by they Bf8). By move 7 you're basically lost. Even Kxf7 wasn't so bad for him; Kf8 was the lemon. If he plays Ke6 then you're down two pieces for a few pawns and a short-lived attack (most of your remaining pieces are at home), e.g. 11.Qg4+ Kd6 12.Bxd5 Kxd5 and you've got nothing to attack the "centralized" King with, so at most you'll win another pawn or two (13.Qxg7 Nf6 or 13.Qf6+ Ke6 [for Nf6, Kf7, etc.] 13.Qxb7 Qd5) before your attack fizzles out.

How did this ever get to the first page of Google Image hits for "checkmate"?...

lev said...

Don't want to sound like the chess bourgeois like the last fellow, but you hot lucky, and lucky again for being on the top results for "7 move checkmate", trying to see how common this fun little trap is, using the queen for bait
1. e2-e4 c7-c5
2. Ng1-f3 d7-d6
3. Nb1-c3 e7-e5
4. Bf1-c4 Bc8-g4
5. Nf3xe5 Bg4xd1
6. Bc4xf7 Ke8-e7
7. Nc3-d5
Seems to me that after 3. Nd5 e5 on your game, you could have played it safer and made major ground by simply checking with your queen on g5, then when he blocks with pawn, Qe5+ and he looses a castle and pawnif he's lucky, that is unless there is some clever queen trap I didn't spot.