How do you improve quickly?   I’ve just started on-line coaching with a promising junior in Queensland and my advice to him was to work on his tactics.   Specifically get one of those “1001 Checkmate” books and go through every puzzle.   Mark the ones that you don’t solve then go back and do those ones again until you can solve them.   That way you will get the various tactical patterns into your memory bank and hopefully your brain will recognise the patterns when they come up in your own games.

I then showed him one of my old games against Doug Hamilton which ended up in the diagrammed position with White to play.   White is a pawn ahead and trying to attack but Black has just played Nc6 attacking White’s “d” pawn.   How should White proceed?  I also suggested to my student that he “examine all checks and captures” if he thought that there may be a tactic around, but try as he could he couldn’t find a clear winning line for White.   Can you do better?   That’s today’s puzzle.

[fen caption=”White to Play”]6k1/p2bp1q1/1pn5/3pP1PQ/3P2N1/1P1B4/P7/6K1 w – – 3 32[/fen]


He kept analysing 1.Nh6+ but couldn’t find anything.   In the game my first instinct was to look at 1.Nf6+!! exf 2.exf Qf7 3.Bg6 Qe6 4.Qh7+ Kf8 and its mate in one.  Unfortunately I played 5.Qh6+? Kg8 6.Qg7+ with mate in two.  I should have paid attention to the old saying “If you find a good move look for a better one!”