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Solution to Process of Elimination Exercise


Yesterday, I asked you how Grandmaster Radoslaw Wojtaszek, playing Black, should get out of check in this position:

Some of my students suggested the most obvious looking move, 1...Qxg8?. But this move loses on the spot! White plays 2.Be6+, and after 2...Kxe6, safely promotes with 3.hxg8=Q.

There is a clear reason for this type of mistake: Failing to consider the opponent's forcing moves. Before every move, you must consider all of your opponent's possible forcing replies to your move! When I was 16, I thought I had 'discovered' this key to avoiding silly tactical mistakes in OTB games. Later, when I became a chess teacher and coach, I discovered that many instructional books wisely direct readers to critically examine all the possible checks, captures and threats for both sides.

One of my students, having understood the problem with 1...Qxg8?, said "Oh, it's 1...Kf6". I'll leave you to discover the problem with this move!

So there we have it: By process of elimination, the only playable move is 1...Ke7. There are a couple things you can take away from this exercise:

1) Before making a move, carefully consider all the opponent's possible forcing replies.

2) If your options are extremely limited, you can use process of elimination. Because 1...Qxg8? and 1...Kf6? lose immediately, you have to play 1...Ke7, regardless of the possible consequences. And that's what Grandmaster Wojtaszek did, going on to draw this endgame with solid defense.

I'll be back tomorrow with another position to think about!