Benefits From ChessSpending a reasonable amount oftime in chess can improve yourconcentration in other subjects.In addition, playing chess withanother person can be a positivesocial experience, far better thanspending time alone in front ofa television screen.
Diagram-1: White to move and win
In Diagram-1, White may have more than one way to winthis queen-versus-rook end game. Let’s look at one method:Qe4+ forces the black king to a2, for moving to a1 or b2 willallow the queen to win the rook with Qd4+ (putting the blackking on a1 would not save the rook, for after Qd4+ and Rb2+,the white king would move to c1, winning the pinned rook,not to mention checkmate soon with Qxb2#).In Diagram-2, we can see why White chose e4 for the queento check the defending king: Notice that the white king maynow advance on the black king, for the queen covers c6, preventing a rook check there. This illustrates a techniquethat is sometimes available to the attacker. It’s when the rook is greaty separated from the defending king in this queen-versus-rook end game: The queen can sometimesprevent a rook-check, before or after the attacking kingadvances on the defending king.The first thing to watch for, when you’re the fortunatechess player with the queen in this kind of end game, isif a checking maneuver by the queen can eventually forcea forking of the rook. This is not always available, so youneed alternatives. The combination shown in these fewdiagrams is not easily forseen over the board, even by agrandmaster, unless the attacker has prior knowledge ofqueen versus rook end game variations.Notice White’s threat in Diagram-3: immediate mate withQa4#. If Black now moves Ra6, to prevent that mate, thenWhite would move Qb7, maintaining an eye on c6 andthreatening the rook that would be on a6, not to mentionthe threat of another mate.If Black moves Ka3, in Diagram-3, Qe3+ wins the rook. Onthe other hand, if the rook moves to b3, White can moveQd5, pinning the rook and winning it. If the black king thenmoves to a1, the white king may capture the rook withoutany stalemate (capturing with Qxb3, would be stalemate).Black appears to have only one reasonable move, in theposition in Diagram-3: Rb2+. The problem with this checkis that it will be the last check available to Black withoutjust throwing away the rook.In Diagram-4, black just moved Rb2+. White now makesthe right move: Kc1, which wins quickly.Notice the problem Black has in Diagram-5. It’s not justthe threat of Qa4#. The white king is touching the rook,meaning that moving the black king to a3 or b3 allows the queen to win the rook by a skewer tactic. Moving the kingto a1 allows White to win quickly after Qd4.In the queen versus rook end game, both sides need tobeware and be aware of a check that forces a king to move aside and lose its friendly piece. That’s one kind of skewer.In Diagram-5, if Black moves Ka3, then Qa8+ forces thatking to the b-file. The queen can then move Qb7+, forcingthat king off the b-file. So what? The queen will then justcapture the rook, as the white king would support thatcapture, protecting the queen from the black king.What if Black moves Rb3 in Diagram-5? It prevents an immediate checkmate from White moving Qa4#. Italso allows a mate in three (after Rb3):1.Qa4+ Ra32.Qc2+ Ka13.Qb2# checkmate