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The Knights Are Better Here!


3 Ms Of Chess: Mate

Posted by Paul Anderson on May 5, 2013 at 6:50 AM

Game Of The Week


When I started playing tournament chess, I read a pamphlet from GM Arthur Bisguier about how to improve at chess.  Since I had been crushed by him in a simul, I was more than willing to take his advice, even though I knew little about what a GM was.  He had a list of 10 principles to keep in mind when playing.  I thought that was a little too complicated for me to remember.


So, I condensed those ideas into what I considered the 3 strategies of chess.  I also wanted something easy to remember so I decided to use the trick of alliteration to make them even more unforgettable.   I called them the 3 Ms of chess:


  • Mate
  • Material
  • Mobility


The idea was that every chess move was an attempt to accomplish one of these three strategies and provided an ordered thought-process in choosing a move.


The 1st priority chess strategy (Mate) was to protect your King from checkmate.  Once you decide your King is not in harm, you can strategize about trapping your opponent’s King. 


The Mate strategy involves understanding the basic mates.  Basic mates are where your opponent is left with just a King versus your small army of one or two pieces.


  1. Easy = having 2 Rooks, 1 Rook or 1 Queen
  2. Medium = having 2 Bishops
  3. Hard = having Bishop & Knight
  4. Need Help = having 2 Knights
  5. Insufficient = having 1 Bishop or 1 Knight


I quickly mastered number 1 and have stayed there ever since.  Numbers 2-4 are so rare I have never had to use them in a game.


As my rating began to climb, I noticed some differences between how I thought about chess and how my opponents did.  One difference was in the priority of the Mate strategy.  I seemed to put far less importance on it than they did.


I knew that I needed to check for mating attacks and defend them, which I did.  Mostly.  It seemed that when I got mated it was just poor defense or an oversight.  I would also try to set up cheapos, which I did. However, that method was very seldom successful.


So, I thought I would check the numbers to test my feeling on this strategy.  Out of my 672 tournament games only 146 (21.73%) ended in mate or were mating at the final position.  In addition, only 43 of those games (6.40%) were where I was the one getting mated.


Clearly, the vast majority of my games were won or lost because of the other two strategies.


“Whoever sees no other aim in the game than that of giving checkmate to one's opponent will never become a good Chess player.”



So, I began to rethink the goal of chess.  I am sure I was taught the object of chess was to trap the King.  In fact, the USCF rules list this as the goal of chess. However, in my world of adult tournament chess this was more of an exception than the rule.


My goal was to win.


It didn’t matter to me how I got the W. A win was a win. I realized that no matter what you called it, a win was getting your opponent to resign.  If he did not resign, then you would have to force him to resign by the rules.


Of course, there were draws but that just meant you failed to achieve your goal of resignation.


Draws are the same as resignation.  You either agree to draw or you force your opponent to take the draw.


Outcomes In Chess:


  1. Resign
  2. Time (auto-resign)
  3. Mate (auto-resign)
  4. Forfeit (auto-resign)
  5. Adjudication (either)
  6. Draw
  7. Insufficient Material (auto-draw)
  8. Repetition (auto-draw)
  9. Moves (auto-draw)
  10. Stalemate (auto-draw)


I decided to check my chess match with my dad to see how the numbers compared.  Out of 53 games, only 8 (15.09%) ended in mate or were mating at the final position.  In addition, only 3 of those games (5.66%) were where I was the one getting mated.


Here is an example.


Anderson,Paul -Anderson,Douglas [A36]

13–12-9 Email, 03.01.2004

1.c4 c5 2.g3 g6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.b3 e6 6.Bb2 Nge7 7.e3 0–0 8.Nge2 b6 9.0–0 Bb710.d3 d6 11.Qd2 Qd7 12.Nb5 Bxb2 13.Qxb2 a6 14.Nbc3 Ne5 15.Rad1 Bxg2 16.Kxg2 Qb7+


The reason the numbers are lower than my USCF games could be that my dad and I were playing an email match where there is little incentive to play out games that are clearly over.  So far, it looks like neither player has made any effort to get to the King until now.


17.e4 f5 18.f4 Ng4 19.Qd2 Nf6 20.Qe3 Rad8 21.Kg1 Kf7 22.Qf3 h5 23.exf5 Qxf3 24.fxe6+ Kxe6 25.Rxf3 d5 26.Re1 Kf5


I finally saw a tactic to gain a Pawn and had not planned to go after the King.  However, my dad’s oversight on advancing his King to f5 gave me a rare mating opportunity.  Simply backing the King out of the action makes the game much tougher.  Instead, it is mate in 6.


27.Nd4+Kg4 28.h3+ Kxh3 29.Nd1 Ng4 30.Re2 1–0



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  Originally published for


3 Ms Of Chess:  Mate


[Event "13-12-9"]

[Site ""]

[Date "2004.01.03"]

[Round "?"]

[White "Anderson, Paul"]

[Black "Anderson, Douglas"]

[Result "1-0"]

[ECO "A36"]

[PlyCount "59"]

[EventDate "2003.11.01"]

[TimeControl "0"]


1. c4 c5 2. g3 g6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. b3 e6 6. Bb2 Nge7 7.

e3 O-O 8. Nge2 b6 9. O-O Bb7 10. d3 d6 11. Qd2 Qd7 12. Nb5 Bxb2 13. Qxb2 a6 14.

Nbc3 Ne5 15. Rad1 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Qb7+ 17. e4 f5 18. f4 Ng4 19. Qd2 Nf6 20. Qe3

Rad8 21. Kg1 Kf7 22. Qf3 h5 23. exf5 Qxf3 24. fxe6+ Kxe6 25. Rxf3 d5 26. Re1

Kf5 27. Nd4+ Kg4 28. h3+ Kxh3 29. Nd1 Ng4 30. Re2 1-0


This Week In Chess


On May 7th, the Colorado Springs Chess Club held a Speed event.  Dean Brown was convinced that most games would end before time and the possible 4.3 hour double, Round Robin tournament (2RR, G5) started slightly after eight.  Several players dropped out early, but I stayed until the end and claimed the 1st place points:  Here are the results:


Score, Player:


Speed results (2RR, G5):

23.0 Paul Anderson

20.0 Isaac Martinez

19.0 Daniel Herman

18.5 Jeff Fox

16.0 Peter Grigg

15.5 Mark McGough

13.5 Sara Herman

13.5 Alex Torres

9.0 Mojo Monjiyama

9.0 Mike Madsen

8.0 Tom Richardson

8.0 Shirley Herman

7.0 Kathy Schneider

2.0 Evan Baron


Tuesday Night Chess Tour Cumulative and 2nd Quarter Standings


Current Standings (rank, name, total, quarter):


1    Paul Anderson    43.50    18.50

2    Isaac Martinez    20.00    15.00

3    Mark McGough    18.75    6.75

4    Mike Madsen    15.50    8.00

5    Koji DelConte    13.50    7.00

6    Alex Torres    13.00    5.00

7    Tim Brennan    12.00    0.00

8    Peter Grigg    11.00    8.00

9    Josh Bloomer    10.50    8.00

10    Dean Brown    9.00    2.00

11    Jeff Fox    7.25    2.75

12    Daniel Herman    7.00    3.00

13    Sara Herman    6.00    2.00

14    Alex Freeman    5.00    0.00

15    Josh Divine    4.25    4.25

16    Brian Rountree    4.00    0.00

17    Shirley Herman    4.00    2.00

18    Eugin Pahk    3.00    0.00

19    Joe Polanco    3.00    3.00

20    Tom Richardson    3.00    3.00

21    Richard Buchanan    2.75    2.75

22    Anthea Carson    2.00    0.00

23    Mike Wanek    2.00    0.00

24    James Powers    2.00    0.00

25    Wes Smith    2.00    1.00

26    Kathy Schneider    2.00    1.00

27    Rebecca Herman    1.50    0.00

28    Joe Pahk    1.50    0.00

29    Mike Toth    1.00    0.00

30    Buddy Diamond    1.00    0.00

31    Curits Holsinger    1.00    1.00

32    Evan Baron    1.00    1.00

33    Teppei Monjiyama    1.00    1.00

    MAX POSSIBLE    52.00    24.00

Categories: 2013, Mother's Day

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