Friday, September 14, 2012

About yesterday's independent study.... (Day 3 followup)

Can everyone here mate with king and rook against king? This interactive lesson at teaches you the basic concept of restricting the king to a smaller and smaller space (think of Han Solo in the trash compactor, with the walls moving in).  No, the method taught in this lesson isn't the fastest, but it's easy for young people to understand.

But don't overdo it! Completely suffocating the enemy king is not necessarily a good thing.

White to play: find two really bad moves for White
Now imagine that White decides to play 1.Kc7 and Black responds 1...Ka7. I showed this position to a group of elementary school students and they were stumped. So I asked their parents to help, and THEY were stumped, too!

You should be able to checkmate in two moves from the above position.
White to play: checkmate in two moves if you can!

1. Pretend it's Black's move. What would Black play? And what would White's best answer be?

2. But it's really White's move. How can White make progress by wasting time? (You should be able to checkmate Black in two moves.)

The rook is an amazingly powerful piece, but without the weapon of zugzwang (making the opponent move when she doesn't want to), it's impossible for king and rook to mate a lone king.

Some time ago, we blogged Capablanca's explanation of how to mate with king and queen against king.  Again, be careful not to stalemate the bare king!

White to play: is 1.Qc7 a good idea?
You should be able to checkmate Black in two moves.
White to play
How many moves does White have that give away the win? (If you can find all the bad moves, you'll be less likely to make them in your next game.)

And can you checkmate Black in three moves from this position?

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