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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mating Square And Focal Point.

Pin It The mating square is that on which the king stands when it is mated, and

the mating focal-point is that from which an opponent's piece ( other than King, Knight or Pawn) mates the king at close quarters. To carry a mating attack successfully it is always useful to survey the posible mating patterns, to prepare a mating net accordingly, and to concentrate on the focal-point, that is to deprive any opposing pieces of their control over a square which woud be convenient as a focal-point.
The side diagram shows us an example of this:

White to move, observes correctly that the square d4 is a potential focal-point and that his queen could mate from there, if it were not for its being controlled by Balck's Knight and Bishop. So he clears the focal point d4 as follows.

1 Rxe2 ---dxe2 ( 1---Kd5 2 f4#, if ---Qc1 2 Qd4#, if 1---f4 2 Qd4+ Kf5 3 Qf6) 2 f4+ (forcing the Bishop away from d4) 2 ---Bxf4 3 Qd4#


Many readers will object that the patterns of mating attack shown here are so obvious, indeed banal, that they need not even have been mentioned. However, I think it is useful to strengthen just this simple kind of knowledge, since in fact there are many mistakes made precisely in this field. Here are a few instances of mistakes concerning mating patterns.

1) The attacker fials to peceive that he can neigher stop his opponent from moving his king nor drive him into a mating net, but still plays for mate. Such a course of action is naturally futiele, and though it may possibly produce perpectual check, it cannot produce mate.

2) The attacker plays on the basis of typical mating patterns, ovelooking the posibility of an 'atypical' one in a particular continuation.

3) The player sees all the possible mating patterns based on one focal-point, but fails to realize that all this is cancelled out when the king moves, and that what matters then are new mating patterns, for which he has not made preparations.

4) The player decides on a course of action based on a certain focal-point, without realizing that he cannot provide cover for it or even clear it of the influence of his opponent's pieces. Mistakes made in the selection of a focal-point will be found even in the games of the masters.

So it is useful to get to know the general pattern and structure of mating; less experienced players are especially recommended to study games to see whether a player had amde a mistake with regard to the pattern and, if so, where he has made it.


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