, Muskogee, OK

January 16, 2014

Keep a close eye on your guards

By Eric Morrow
Chess Corner

— Darius III was the king of Persia from 336 B.C. to 330 B.C. When his guards abandoned him, he was dethroned in a coup and killed. With this hint in mind, please try to find white’s winning tactical shot.

Black’s queen has just captured a white pawn on d6. As the queens face each other, black’s queen is guarded by her rook on d8.

White removes this protection by checking black from e8 with its e1 rook.

The only defense against white’s rook check is to take white’s rook on e8 with black’s d8 rook.

This leaves the black queen unprotected, as was Darius when his guards abandoned him. White’s queen then captures black’s queen.

White has traded a rook for a queen. This gives white an overwhelming material advantage without black having any positional compensation.

This week’s lesson is guard your guards.

They can be lured away by money and by sacrificial checks.