Friday, December 4, 2009
The Weakest Squares: f2 & f7.
In the starting position, the weakest square on the board for White is f2 and the weakest square for Black is f7. These squares are vulnerable because they are only protected by the kings. The Fool's Mate (1.f3? e5 2.g4?? Qh4#) and the Scholar's Mate (1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qh5?! 3.Nf6?? Qxf7#) exploit this weakness. In fact, in any game that gets decided in the first ten moves, the odds are pretty good that something bad happened on f2 or f7.
What this means is that players should keep a watchful eye on these squares, particularly before castling. If you start to see your opponent's pieces aiming at your vulnerable square, take the time to make sure that you can handle the threats.
Martin v. Kawalek,
On 4th Board in the Rolling Meadows match, the trouble that Prospect's Nick Martin found himself in can be directly traced to his neglect of the f2 square. While Black's king was neatly tucked away after castling, White's king was under fire for the entire game. Meadows' Matt Kawalek missed several opportunities to shorten White's resistance, but he had so many threats against White's exposed king that the result was almost inevitable.