A Quickie

by admin on October 5, 2011

When I give chess lessons at the Aptos Public Library, it’s always a challenge to make them concise enough. For this age group (roughly 6 to 12) I have found that 15 minutes is about the limit of their attention span, or 20 minutes if the lesson is going well. That makes it hard to show them any complete games.

Yesterday, however, Mike Splane sent me a game that is a complete lesson in a pint-sized container. It’s a speed game he played this weekend, which has forks, pins, and double check(mate), all in 10 moves!

Name Withheld — Mike Splane

1. a3 Nf6 2. h3 g6 3. d3 Bg7 4. e3 O-O 5. Ne2 c5 6. Nd2 Nc6

Of course White was just messing around, but I did point out the difference between White’s development (2 pieces developed, both in the way of other pieces) and Black’s (4 pieces developed). Curiously, though, that really isn’t what causes White to lose the game.

7. Ne4 d5

White to move.

Now, as Mike points out, we will see a remarkable series of tactical tricks. On each of the remaining six moves in the game you can imagine the player saying to his opponent, “Betcha didn’t see that coming!”

8. Nxc5 …

Pawn hanging. [Typo fixed 10/7/11.]

8. … Qa5+!


9. b4! …

Defense with attack!

9. … Nxb4!


10. Nb3?? …


10. … Nxd3 mate

Double check!

To my utter and complete amazement, the kids guessed 5 of the 6 final moves correctly on the very first try. The only one they didn’t guess right was the one that isn’t any good anyway — White’s tenth move. The best defense of course is 10. Bd2, pinning the knight, but for some reason they had a lot of trouble seeing this. Other suggestions that came up first were 10. d4, 10. Qd2, 10. Rb1 and 10. Ra2. The whole lesson fit easily in 15 minutes. In fact, we probably would have finished in 10 if they had found 10. Bd2 faster.

Thanks, Mike, for a great lesson!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Aman October 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm

(typo) That should be “8. Nxc5” to capture the pawn, right?

Great blog, by the way — thanks!


Aman October 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm


It would be nice if one could click on any chess notation to see what the board looks like at that point in the game. I bet that would greatly encourage chess readership.

If that doesn’t exist already, I would love to help make that happen.



admin October 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Hi Aman,

Thanks for the correction and the offer. There are in fact a variety of widgets that let you embed an interactive chess board into a blog or a web page. It’s just my laziness that has kept me from getting one and figuring out how to use it. Also because I’m partial to old-fashioned chess writing, where you have a diagram every few moves.

But one of these centuries I’ll wake up and realize that the old ways are dead and buried!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: