chess-april-7I was working up the nerve to launch a massive frontal assault that would cost both sides dearly when my arch nemesis Paul Mangone changed the entire game with a single move. He castled—shifting my focus from the center of the board to the side of the board. Problem: most of my pieces are near the center and will have to run a nasty gauntlet to reach the Black King.

Here’s what happened:

Last I left off, I had moved the White Queen to e2. Over the next few days, Mangone and I traded moves, roughly one move a day. Mangone’s next move was Black KNight to e5.

I countered by sending my White Bishop to b5, placing the Black King in check. There was a risk in this move: it was easily countered and would force me to either sacrifice my Bishop at little or no profit—or force me to waste time on protective measures. Still, I did it.

Mangone moved a Black pawn to c6. This protected the Black King and threatened my Bishop.

I could have pulled my Bishop back, but I tend to think Gen. George Patton (or the movie incarnation of Patton) had a point when he advocated constantly advancing. I could have captured a pawn at the cost of a Bishop.

Instead, I moved my White pawn to c3, capturing a Black pawn that had come too close to my side of the board. (A pawn that reaches the far side of the board may be promoted to a higher rank—and is usually promoted to a Queen. The last think you want is the enemy’s most powerful piece on your side of the battlefield.) I assumed my Bishop would be captured at the next move.


Mangone castled. His Black Rook now standing at f8 and his King at g8. The books tell you to castle a soon as possible. Mangone apparently decided to delay the castle until I had committed my chessmen to the center. Smart.

I moved my Bishop to c4, pulling it away from the pawn. Too late I realized that a Black KNight was poised to take that position. Is this a blunder—or an opportunity?

Meanwhile, I must plan on moving my pieces toward the far right corner of the board. There will be casualties, but I have to at least try to win.


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