The Skewer

This week we’ll have a sign-up sheet for Decorah Chess Club that will gather just some basic information from each of you (Name, email, phone number) so that we can keep in contact with you about Decorah Chess Club meetings and events. With the increased turnout, let’s try and follow this schedule tonight (2/16/22, 6pm at The Landing):

  • 6 – 6:15 PM : Arrive, sign-up, and set round schedule
  • 6:15 – 7 PM : First round of games
  • 7 – 7:45 PM : Second round of games
  • 7:45-8:30 PM : Third round of games
  • 8:30-9 PM : Final fast round

After signing up, we’ll get the first few rounds scheduled and alter as needed with late-comers. We’ll have 45 minutes for each game (some pairs may be able to get 2 or more games in), so the use of a timer is encouraged using 20 minutes each with a 2 second delay.  For those that finish early, we’ll have some puzzles that you can explore printed out while you wait for the next round.

If you haven’t already, please sign up with an email at the bottom of this site as well to have a weekly update delivered to your inbox. You can unsubscribe from that list at any time.

The Skewer

Yesterday’s puzzle of the day on (named Fever Pitch) was a good lesson in using a skewer! Let’s look at the puzzle to begin thinking about a good move for white.

“Fever Pitch” – 02/15/2022 puzzle on

Reading the board, we can see that white is two pawns down in the game and the rook is under attack by the d4 pawn. While the black queen has an attack on white’s knight, the rook on a1 is guarding it so that is not the issue.

What to do with the rook then? If this were a real game, you may consider Rd3 or Re5 as some moves to put your rook into safety. Or, maybe an exchange of knight for bishop with Nxb7. It turns out that all of these moves are not very good for white, and would miss out on a great opportunity! If you began to consider the rook taking the bishop with Rxe7 good job!  You may think that this is bad, exchanging a rook for a bishop, but look at what it sets up!

The skewer! After the queen takes your rook with 1. … Qxe7 we find the beautiful move 2. Ba3 which skewers the queen to the king. The only thing that can get in the way is the pawn on b5 (which is something you would have wanted to think through before playing the initial move in the first place).  If black moves the pawn on b5 to b6 to block, the bishop can simply take it since white has the protective pawn on c3.

The best move for black is to take the bishop with the queen immediately, and save a pawn. In summary, the best line for each color is the following:

  1. Rxe7 Qxe7
  2. Ba3 Qxa3
  3. Rxa3

Although difficult to see, black’s best response after white’s first move is as displayed: to take the rook.  Not taking the rook leads to gaining more material and a much better position.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s