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wschmidt 29 ( +1 | -1 )
Novice Nook #5 It's Friday, so it's time to open discussion for the next Novice Nook article. This on is June, 2001. The topic is one Heisman refers to a lot - The Seeds of Tactical Destruction.

Here's the link: ->
wolstoncroft1 78 ( +1 | -1 )

My problem with Heisman and his column is that he complains about tactics books only showing situations with tactics, but he does exactly the same thing. He says the tactics books set you up in the position knowing that there is a mate in 4, well he sets us up in a position with tactics the same way. Instead of saying mate in 4 he just explains the moves. What do you get more out of? Instead of explaining how to develope positions rich with tactics, he falls back on showing attacking themes that beginners probably can't see but average and better players are bored by.

IMO your time is better spent getting to the American Idol website and voting for that Blues Singer with the Ray Charles twitch that plays the harmonica,., He is GOOD.
ionadowman 71 ( +1 | -1 )
Nice... ...Very instructive. Good choice of combinations. Not too hard, but not too easy, neither. In the second, though 32.Qxc8 came to mind fairly quickly, the possibilities against h7 were something of a distraction! I saw only the consequences of Black's recapture on c8 (??) and should have looked more closely at 32...Bxd1.
As for the 37...Bf3! kicker in the 32.Qxb4? line - it's easy to spot once you've reached the 37th move, but possibly not so easy 5 moves deep in a line that, though fairly straightforward, involves a lot of sweeping long-range moves! Further, it is a retrograde Bishop move, in order to protect a distant back rank square (a8), ThrougH an enemy B on d5 (i.e. an 'X-ray' effect) at that! I'm not surprised the opponent missed it!
alice02 36 ( +1 | -1 )
weak back rank If you develop pieces strongly Isn't it inevitable that the back rank non- castle side of the board would be weak? Most of the pieces would have been moved forward.

If you had a strong back rank - would your pieces be correctly developed?

Could someone please clarify the definition of a strong vs weak back rank?
ionadowman 109 ( +1 | -1 )
'weak back rank'... a rather odd way of expressing it, I find. It describes the situation the castled king finds himself in when the row of pawns on the second rank in front and to either flank prevent his advancing in the event of a rook or queen check along the back rank. This really becomes a problem only if you lack the means of defending the rank, preventing the check, or of blocking the check safely. Threats against such a vulnerability can discourage an attack, or force an opponent onto the defensive. Early players sometimes attempt to obviate this problem by creating a 'luft' or 'airhole', advancing a pawn, usually a rook-pawn one square. Whilst reducing the risk of a back rank surprise (be it noted: it doesn't eliminate the risk altogether!), such a nervous reaction takes time that could be used to better purpose, whilst creating a weakness around the king's position that is likely to be more easily exploited.
I have no idea what a 'strong back rank' is - maybe a back rank that isn't weak!?
alberlie 140 ( +1 | -1 )
Hi Alice, "weak" and "strong" refer more to the amount of pressure you can generate against them - and what that pressure would result in. So, you are right in terms of piece value: When you develop and put your pieces on active squares (which may or may not include your rooks), your back rank gets 'weak' of defenders.
However, imagine you having the white pieces, short castle and having played h3 at some time. Now there might be a whole bunch of back rank check threats but none will threaten mate anymore since you can simply escape by Kh2 (of course assuming that this square isn't covered by any other enemy piece - but you get the picture).

So a "weak" back rank refers more to the status of your king: can he escape a possible back rank attack? If yes, your back rank is at least not "weak" (though not necessarily strong). You can go about your game without having to wory about your backrank because if everything goes bad, you can always move your king out of the line of fire by Kh2.
If your king can't escape of such an attack, you have to constantly watch over your back rank, might even have to put a few extra pieces near it to defend against possible attacks. That's what a weakness is - something you have to constantly worry about. :o)
wschmidt 84 ( +1 | -1 )
For awhile, after reading this Heisman column for the first time a few years ago, I started adding an extra step to my tactical studying. Whether I got it right or wrong, I stopped before I went on to the next problem and asked myself, "What were the seeds of tactical destruction that allowed that produced this result". I didn't do it as methodically as I probably should have, but I'm going to try to go back to that exercise.

When I have Fritz review a game after it's over, whether it's OTB or here on GK, I'm constantlly amazed at the number of tactical possibilities I've overlooked (either mine or my opponent's). It's my hope that raising my awareness of them by slowing down and identifying them when I do a problem will help in being able to more consistently identify them in real game situations.