Mother Hammer had an early Epiphany present, from a very wise man, in the form of GM Daniel King who brought a heavily laden basket of chess gifts and knowledge to the Anvil this past Monday. To those Hammers who missed the evening you missed a treat. Here is the lowdown.
I always say nice things about our guest speakers and GM DK will not be spared. He is the most natural of presenters – his easy-going style and ability to communicate clearly and involve everyone in the lecture is second-to-none. Combined with a voice that draws you in and makes learning very easy.
The first half of the talk was about a current lockdown obsession of his – two-move checkmates. The ulterior motive was to make us see and understand mating patterns, The first four involved the same four pieces – Black King, White King, White Queen and a White f-pawn on the 7th rank ready to promote. Simply by changing the position of all the pieces except the pawn on f7 you got four different kinds of two-move checkmates. This was fascinating and immediately all the Hammers were engaged.
Two more puzzles followed that were more complicated but again 2-move checkmates. One by the great Austrian player Karl Schlecter. Again, valuable lessons and processes were learnt.
White to play and mate in 2
For me certain things stood out:
- Always ask what function and reason every piece has in the puzzle. They are all there for a reason. This is the first clue to solving the puzzle.
- With this accomplished then look at what squares need to be covered and what the escape moves are available for the King.
- The value in the exercise for me was so useful as in an era of blitz chess online you tend to never win in the most effective way possible – these exercises really help you see mating opportunities.
The second part of the lecture looked at a game between two Russian GM’s Kupreichik and Sveshnikov that was a brutally direct game that involved an intense psychological battle as well. With the former ensuring that he avoided the Sveshnikov version of the Sicilian with an initial clever move order and then initiating what looked like a hack attack on the Black King. The game was so complex with some stand out moves but a game worthy of Alekhine or Tal.
This game provoked so much interest from the Hammers followed by numerous suggestions from the audience – it really was a tactician’s dream. I think there was a way for Sveshnikov to save the game but in a game situation with the clock ticking and the pressure on he cracked. I strongly advise you to play through this game you will learn so much.
The evening ended with an extended Q & A sessions – with a variety of questions ranging from Nepo’s collapse, to the Kings Gambit and to improving or even changing your openings. All answered directly and with additional information given.
For me, his reasoning behind Nepo’s collapse was both mental and physical – however, he thought there was too much criticism of Nepo. He recounted there have been blunders by all world champions and their challengers– simply the pressure gets to everyone.
The evening ended with a huge round of applause from all present – yes Hammer 2022 just got off to the best of starts.
Please check out Daniel’s YouTube channel – there is a wealth of learning and fun to be had.
Remember GM King is a Hammer!!!!!