Aye aye! It's time for another Solitaire Chess Quiz with Mrs Jessica E Prescott (aka BoundingOwl). Take out a pencil and paper. I will wait...
This opening is called the SCOTCH. Have you heard of that? What country do you think it comes from? (This is not part of the quiz.) In the Scotch, white goes full steam ahead into the center of the board with pawns. White can't always keep that center, but it is fairly easy for white to find good squares for his or her pieces. Remember CDC?
Here are the first 4 moves of the game. Watch carefully!
Now it's black's turn. Black probably ought to play Nf6 and develop the bishop along the f8-a3 diagonal and castle. Then black could go for d5 and attack the center more. But watch what happens with a slightly inaccurate developing move...
White continues to develop and black plays another poor developing move. Since his knight is blocking his bishop from getting out, he plays g6. He is planning to fianchetto (remember to pronounce that like a hard "k" not like there's cheddar in the word). But this is a waste of black's time. How can you take advantage of the weakness the pawn on g6 has created?
1. Your first decision. Where to develop the bishops? A. Bc4 B. Bf4 C. Bg5
No peeking! Write your answer down before going to the next diagram.
2. Now that you've made the pin, what do you do to pinned pieces? (pp on the pp) A. Nd5 B. Bb5 C. Bc4
3. Wow. It's time for crazyhouse. Black just played Bxd4. Did you notice how trapped black's king looks? Maybe this will jog your memory....[click for memory-poke-hint]. A. Qg4 B. Qxd4 C. Nf6+
Write it down!
4. IF black has taken back, I hope you see mate in two!!
5. IF black castles instead, your next move should still be forcing. A. Nxe7+ B. Nf6+ C. Bh6
6. And now? Notice how the queen, knight and king are all lined up. If your memory wasn't jogged before, click here for a refresher on this mating pattern.
Who needs queens?!
Answers: Tally your points!
1. C. Bg5 will get you 5 points! A and B only get 2 points. Yes, all of those moves develop a bishop, but putting the bishop on g5 makes a pin! Plus it's hard to get rid of that bishop now. Very annoying for black!
2. A. Nd5 is the right answer for 5 points. This move puts pressure on the pinned piece! You should have seen that there was some trick coming, because all of the moves listed lose a knight on d4...for now! B and C get 0 points.
3. B. Qxd4 is correct! 10 points. Yes you sack your queen! You have to see why though. When you notice that the king is trapped you should look for patterns. This is a classic knight and bishop pattern. A and C get 2 points only, at least these moves develop something...
4. If you found Nf6+ and Bh6# you get 10 more points!
5. B. Nf6+ still! 5 points. A. Nxe7 doesn't work because the knight or queen will capture you back. Remember YOUR queen is still hanging. 0 points. C. Bh6 is an interesting idea, but it doesn't quite work. Black can take your queen then hide his king in the corner. 2 points.
6. Did you solve the puzzle correctly the first time? 1. Ng4 discovered check! Nxd4 2. Bf6+ Kg8 3. Nh6#. A little move order switcheroo. 10 points if you got that right. 5 points if you got it after one mistake.
45 points total. How many did you get?
Tip of the week: Try the Scotch next time you play. Remember to put your pieces directly in the center of the board and not block anyone's development!