The one thing that struck me the most at the last RJ Shield Tournament was the large number of oversights made by even the better players in the tournament.

One of my best students twice overlooked that his opponent was threatening mate in one and even the tournament winner, Terrence, missed that he could have mated on the move in one of his games.  Why are players missing these obvious moves?  Are they moving too quickly perhaps?   I tried suggesting to Callum that he would blunder less if he slowed down but in his next games he made an instantaneous move which lost a rook for nothing.  Oh well … at least I tried.

Of course everyone makes mistakes.  I can remember back to one game I was playing against Doug Hamilton and I could play Qg7 mate.  Unfortunately I missed it and instead delivered mate in two moves. So my problem now is how to persuade my students to slow down and not overlook tactics.  I decided to start with Callum and set a little trap!

Callum is in my On-Line group and we always start with a little puzzle.  This week the puzzle I presented was the diagram below and the task is to choose between the candidate moves 1.f6, 1.exg6+ and 1.Kf4.  The students selected their preferred move and Callum choose 1.Kf4.

[iframe width=”500″ height=”685″ src=”” frameborder=”0″>]

He had fallen for my trap hook, line and sinker!   “And did you look at your opponent’s reply” I questioned, because Black can now play 1…Qb8 mate!!!!   I hope that Callum was suitably shamed and will take more care in choosing his moves in future.

Of course the ability to see mate in one should be very simple …. shouldn’t it?  Let me test you with the position below.   White to play and mate in one move.  Don’t take too long!

[iframe width=”500″ height=”685″ src=”” frameborder=”0″>]