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There are now 21 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. Tom says

    Umm, couldn’t the king take the pawn in front of the bishop?

    • In the rightmost column, all grey men are in fact black (compare with the diagrams in the other columns, it’s the exact same position) but less (or not at all) relevant to the smothered mate pattern. So, no, the black king could not take his own pawn. ;)

  2. Rob says

    I believe B’s attack will also work. King moves left, return the knight. King moves right, Queen moves to knight’s previous position. Both are mate.

    • It does not show the entire board. Perhaps white’s queen is defended by a bishop and attacked by a black queen just below it. Black could trade queens and white could still be behind. Barring something like that, you’d be correct.

      • It doesn’t need to go to the corner, Rob just missed a step. If the knight takes the rook on h8, black king is in check from queen. King must go to either d8 or f8 (f8 would be mate in 1 move – queen to f7). After king goes to d8, knight goes to f7 check, king can only move back to e8. Knight to d6 double check, king must move either to d8 or f8. If d8, queen to e8 will be mate. If f8, queen to f7 mate.

        The sequence used in the actual game is simply fewer moves. There’s no need to take the rook first to achieve mate.

  3. Interesting. I certainly don’t see myself as an expert in any field, but I feel like my memory works most like the last example.

    • Speaking as someone who left a job where I was an ‘expert’ to a similar one in a different field, I am feeling this difference keenly. I keep forgetting things I had been told and having to remind myself that I am not an idiot.

      Conversely, if I remembered what my memory could do with the old material I was an expert in and just assumed I could still do that with the new material I would be in a lot of hot water.

      At my old job we were well built for this facet of the human mind. We categorized everything into 5 digit codes, all of the materials people from the lowest material handler to the directors could master the system quickly and use it to think about several combinations of materials.

  4. YumAntimatter says

    Where are the second and third reading passages from? I don’t recognize them and can’t find them anywhere.

  5. Cerby says

    I don’t get it. Why can’t the black king go to F8 rather than D8? Would avoid the “blocked by his own side” situation.

  6. Tom says

    Got it! My bad, should pay better attention.

  7. LDD says

    Coming soon, The Illustrated Guide to Chess.

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