, Muskogee, OK

December 26, 2013

Unwrap this present: White mates in two

By Eric Morrow
Chess Corner

— In this week’s position black has attacked white’s knight on g5 with its h6 pawn.

This is a gift.

Please unwrap your Christmas present and find the mate inside.

White’s knight on g5 supports the invasion of the white queen onto h7 with mate in the air.

White’s e4 knight blocks its queen’s path to h7.

White packages these two ideas and strikes by moving the e4 knight to f6, checking black, as illustrated in the next diagram.

If black captures white’s knight on f6, white’s queen mates from h7 with the support of the knight on g5.

If black alternatively retreats its king to h8, white’s queen still pounces on h7 and delivers mate.

The lesson this week is that a knight and a queen are like trees and Christmas.

They make a good pair. And if they’re chasing a wooden king or expecting a fat, bearded man in a red suit, they are seldom denied.