The beauty of pattern recognition in chess

Focussing on patterns in chess is a good idea. Depending on who you listen to, the number of patterns a chess player knows could be the difference between being mediocre and good, or between being a master and a grandmaster.

This is one reason I started building a pattern bank a few months ago. When I see a pattern that I think has meaning and is worth remembering, I add it to my pattern bank. I then go over the patterns to get them ingrained. I use Chessbase for this; with a database showing an initial position and normally a move or two to show the value of the pattern. I export it to Chessable to train using spaced repetition.

When doing a few tactics problems from Ivashchenko’s Manual of Chess Combinations 1a (MOCC) today, one of the patterns was helpful is solving two of the problems. Admittedly they are easy problems, but they were made even easier by using what I know about the pattern.

Here is the basic pattern. Key factors are:

  • The attacking Queen is diagonally in touch with the defending King.
  • The attacking Queen is protected.

The two key factors mean that the defending King has only two escape squares, in this example f8 and g7. The squares covered by the Queen are shown in red. So whenever you see the opportunity to give a check with the Queen in that position, one of the things to consider is whether you could take the two escape squares away from the King. In the example above, this was done by playing Bh6 earlier, which meant Qe6 was checkmate.

Here are the two tactics from MOCC. See if you can use this pattern to solve them. It is White’s move in each case.

Solution for the first problem.

Solution for the second problem.

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About becomingachessmaster

I am a 46-year old chess player with a goal to be as good a chess player as I can possibly be. I hope you find some value from following my experiences.
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