I was spectating at the Vic. Open the other day and watched two young boys reach the following position.   Have a look at the diagram and Black’s N in particular.   What a shocking piece!   It has nowhere to go other than aimlessly between b7 and d8.   I keep telling my students to place their pieces on good squares but the message doesn’t always get through.  Worse than that both players seemed to think that you have to always be doing “something” and the game continued.

1…Nd8 2.g5? (1.Be4!) fxg5 3.Rxf8+ Rxf8 4.Rxf8+ Kxf8 5.Kg2 Ke7 6.Kg3 Kf6 7.Kg4 e4?? (Just sit tight and White can’t make progress)  8.Bxe4 Ke5 9.Bb1 Kd4 10.Kxg5 Kc3 11.h4 Kxb3 12.h5 Kb2 13.h6 gxh6+ 14.Kxh6 Ka3 15.g7 Nf7+ 16.Kh5 Kxa4 17.g8=Q and White won.

It would have saved us all a lot of time if (in the diagrammed position) Black had simply decided to bring about a help-mate.  Can you help him mate himself in the shortest possible time?

[fen caption=”Black to play and self-mate”]4rrk1/1n4p1/3p1pP1/p1pPp3/PpP3P1/1P5P/2B2R2/5RK1 w kq – 0 1[/fen]


1…Kh8 2.Rf5 Rg8 3.Rh5#.   Thanks for that.   Now let’s move on and watch some of the more interesting games.