First Principles: Endings, Middle-Game and Openings
The first thing a student should do, is to familiarise himself with the power of the pieces. This can best be done by learning how to accomplish quickly some of the simple mates.
1. SOME SIMPLE MATES
Example 1.—The ending Rook and King against King.
The principle is to drive the opposing King to the last line on any side of the board.
In this position the power of the Rook is demonstrated by the first move, R - R 7, which immediately confines the Black King to the last rank, and the mate is quickly accomplished by: 1 R - R 7, K - Kt 1; 2 K - Kt 2.
The combined action of King and Rook is needed to arrive at a position in which mate can be forced. The general principle for a beginner to follow is to
keep his King as much as possible on the same rank, or, as in this case, file, as the opposing King.
When, in this case, the King has been brought to the sixth rank, it is better to place it, not on the same file, but on the one next to it towards the centre.
2...K - B 1; 3 K - B 3, K - K 1; 4 K - K 4, K - Q 1; 5 K - Q 5, K - B 1; 6 K - Q 6.
Not K - B 6, because then the Black King will go back to Q 1 and it will take much longer to mate. If now the King moves back to Q 1, R - R 8 mates at once.
6...K - Kt 1; 7 R - Q B 7, K - R 1; 8 K - B 6, K - Kt 1; 9 K - Kt 6, K - R 1; 10 R - B 8 mate.
It has taken exactly ten moves to mate from the original position. On move 5 Black could have played K - K 1, and, according to principle, White would have continued 6 K - Q 6, K - B 1 (the Black King will ultimately be forced to move in front of the White King and be mated by R - R 8); 7 K - K 6, K - Kt 1; 8 K - B 6, K - R 1; 9 K - Kt 6, K - Kt 1; 10 R - R 8 mate.
Since the Black King is in the centre of the board, the best way to proceed is to advance your own King thus: 1 K - K 2, K - Q 4; 2 K - K 3. As the Rook has not yet come into play, it is better to advance the King straight into the centre of the board, not in front, but to one side of the other King. Should now the Black King move to K 4, the Rook drives it back by R - R 5 ch. On the other hand, if 2... K - B 5 instead, then also 3 R - R 5. If now 3... K - Kt 5, there follows 4 K - Q 3; but if instead 3... K - B 6; then 4 R - R 4, keeping the King confined to as few squares as possible.
Now the ending may continue: 4...K - B 7; 5 R - B 4 ch, K - Kt 6; 6 K - Q 3, K - Kt 7; 7 R - Kt 4 ch, K - R 6; 8 K - B 3, K - R 7. It should be noticed how often the White King has moved next to the Rook, not only to defend it, but also to reduce the mobility of the opposing King. Now White mates in three moves thus: 9 R - R 4 ch, K - Kt 8; 10 R - any square on the Rook's file, forcing the Black King in front of the White, K - B 8; 11 R - R 1 mate....