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  1. Arabian Mate Examples
    This game collection is intended to be a source of Arabian Mates in the strict definition of the term. The Rook attacks the King and the Knight covers an escape square of the defending King and also protects the attacking Rook. This mate pattern is common in the corner, but may be used in other parts of the board as well.

    Smothered Mate and the Arabian Mate are equally appealing to me, but I have found that many beginners and some near-intermediate chess students find the Arabian Mate difficult to understand and use. It only makes sense to them when I break it down by escape squares and danger/attacked squares, then show the process of how the Arabian Mate can be reached.

    Many chess authors seem content to allow equivocation among the Anastasia's Mate, Arabian Mate, Hook Mate, Vukovic Mate and others. However, these mate types are given distinctive treatment in several books. For brevity, THE ART OF ATTACK IN CHESS, by IM Vladimir Vukovic should be sufficient as a citation. Chapter 4: Mating Patterns has distinct sections for these and other checkmate processes.

    Here is an example of the Arabian Mate, from the game Z Andriasian vs B Burg, 2013

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    This game collection is a project in progress. Games are listed in date order, not in order of importance.

    27 games, 1860-2013

  2. Removing the Defender Tactic-- OTB Examples
    You should have heard that you need to coordinate your chessmen, but it is also important to notice how your opponent is coordinating their chessmen and see if you can take advantage of any weaknesses there.

    Removing the Defender is one tactic that can readily serve this purpose. Also called Removing the Guard, Annihilation of Defense (whew!), Undermining and Driving Off, Destruction and other names, it is an essential tactic to learn and use wherever you can.

    Once you find a relationship of protection between two pieces, attack the one with support and then look for a way to displace the protector, even if that piece is protected. By pulling away that supporter (here's the idea of undermining), your first attack could win you that piece. So, a little "chain reaction thinking" may get big results. The big idea is that having only one level of protection can be a weakness.

    Remember that a successful tactic often spells a winning advantage or even a checkmate process for the aggressive player.

    This game collection is a project in progress, culling OTB (over the board) examples from several chess training books. The games are listed in chronological order, not in order of importance or relevance.

    13 games, 1849-2018

  3. Skewer Tactic-- OTB Examples
    One of the most basic and truly essential chess tactics to learn is the Skewer. This tactic is an in-line operation where a chessman of higher value is being attacked while a chessman of lower value is behind it. Thus, when the big one moves out of the way, the little one is taken.

    Another way of looking at the arrangement is to say that you have three pieces lined up, an attacker against one defender directly and a second defender at the rear. This third chessman is being indirectly attacked.

    Edward Winter cites Kenneth Harkness as having written in the April 1947 issue of the CHESS REVIEW that: There is another type of double attack in which the targets are threatened in one direction. The attacking piece threatens two units, one behind the other, on the same rank, file or diagonal. This double threat has lacked a good descriptive name. We suggest 'X-Ray’ attack.'

    Only a few players try to use the term X-Ray tactic as a synonym for Skewer. However, the Skewer can only be an attack, never a defense, while the X-Ray tactic can be either offensive or defensive. Further, the Skewer has one unit actually attacking both pieces, whereas the X-Ray has two pieces attacking just one piece. See my game collection X-Ray Tactic-- OTB Examples for more details.

    The name Skewer is also used when the two defending chessmen are the same kind (two Rooks, for example) or have the same value (such as a Knight and Bishop). The chessmen attacked in the front and back are equal, then. The BALANCED SKEWER is my own term for these special cases, in spite of the fact that the Bishop and Knight may have differing values. To wit, some chess writers will give 3-1/2 points or 3-1/4 points for the Bishop.

    My point is that they are so close in value that Balanced Skewer should still apply when the defenders are Knight and Bishop. A few games with this particular form of the Skewer tactic are provided here. One that is not available yet at CG is Gurevich, Mikhail vs Garcia Ilundain, David 1995, 32 moves, 1-0 that has two Rooks being skewered. The material was even for both sides, before the Balanced Skewer was made! Here is that winning position:

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    There are two other special cases for the Skewer. An ABSOLUTE SKEWER occurs when the King is in front and any other chessman sits behind that King. Since the King is being attacked, the first law of chess must apply and the three possible responses to check must be carefully thought about. Kasparov vs Lutikov 1978 and Short vs Vaganian 1989 have the Absolute Skewer tactic.

    The ROYAL SKEWER is a more colorful name for the Absolute Skewer. Although both terms are uncommon in the literature, my preference is the Royal Skewer as Absolute Skewer came to my attention only recently.

    A RELATIVE SKEWER occurs when some other chessman is under attack in the vanguard, with a less-valuable chessman behind it.

    Only the line pieces-- Queen, Rook and Bishop-- have the power to work together to attack the way the Skewer needs. The Skewer can only be done on a rank, file or diagonal and then over several squares on one of those lines. Therefore, the King, the Knight and the Pawn are not able to make the Skewer tactic.

    Some of these games were included in LEARN CHESS TACTICS by John Nunn, Chapter 4, Skewer. He makes the interesting point that you may need another tactic first to get to a Skewer next. In other words, you may need to be sneaky to do it! For example, here is an Absolute Skewer study that is commonly shown (altho not by Nunn in this book) that wins a Rook:

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    White to move

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    ... Rxa7

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    Rh7+ (Absolute Skewer) and the Black Rook is lost!

    Wikipedia has a short but useful article on the Skewer tactic with a few helpful diagrams as well. Here's their link: The Short-Vaganian game was mentioned there with useful comments.

    Edward Winter has the excellent article, THE CHESS SKEWER from 26 Oct 2014, The Kasparov-Lutikov 1978 game is mentioned there. This article is a worthwhile read for the history of this tactic and other jewels of information.

    Do not underestimate the usefulness of this tactic! Just because it is easy to explain does not mean that it can be easily avoided. It does indeed deserve your time and effort to learn! Keep on the lookout for chances to use it, because the Skewer will often be a game-winning tactic.

    This project is a work in progress, culling games from several chess training books and personal research. The games are ordered by date, not by importance.

    30 games, 1860-2016

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