The fastest kili

The most rapid possible game of chess resulting in checkmate is called Fool's Mate —a trick possible to perform only on a complete beginner. Nobody would ever make the same mistake twice. The game is over in just two moves, shown in the diagrams below.

abcdefgh

White continues with 2 f2-f4

and Black checkmates with 2 . . . 1gfd8-h4

A much more common hap for beginners is Scholar's Mate. It is well worth committing the sequence of moves to memory-.

The threat to e5 has been spotted, but not to f7. And now a horrible shock:

White delivers the coup de grâce. Blacks king has no escape route, and none of his other pieces is in a position to attack the white queen. Black has failed in the very basics of chess and martial arts strategy. He has failed to spot White's threats, and has also failed to ensure the safety of his king.

This is not something, in its pure and undisguised form, to try against an experienced player. Mate will easily be averted, and you will find your opponent's emerging pieces harrying your queen all over the board. However, the principle of the weak or blind spot on f7 is important. It often proves to be the focus of a successful attack.

2 Ail-ci AR-cS

4 Sh5xf7 mate

abcciefgh

Keep the forces concentrated in an overpowering mass, —Karl von Clausewitz, On War; 1873

Aiming at the enemy

In kendo, the sword is drawn quickly and aimed directly at the enemy's center l ine. Any delay in unsheathing it puts the combatant at a distinct disadvantage. The same is true of chess. Pieces must be mobilized quickly and "aimed" at the enemy's king via the center of the board. The key precepts are:

1. Move one or two center pawns early on,

2. Castle your king as quickly as possible.

3. Develop knights and bishops quickly.

The following three typical sequences show both sides observing these rules. Note how important central play is in all these examples.

Ruy Lopez Opening

2 fcgl-B fcb8-c6

3 Aifl-bS d7-d6

Queen's Gambit Declined

1

d2-d4

d7-d5

2

c2-c4

e7-e6

3

&bl-c3

&g8-f6

4

figl-ß

Af8-e7

Nimzowifsch-Indian Defense

1

d2-d4

&g8-fö

2

c2-<:4

e7-e6

3

&M-c3

Af8-b4

abcde fgh

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