You’ve probably been wondering, “Hey, what happened to that RogueDragon guy who was writing strategy for Devilant’s Guide?”  Well, the truth is that RogueDragon has been begging me to let him contribute some more strategy, but I had to put my foot down and tell him I wouldn’t accept any more of his nonsensical British spelling.  It’s for his own good, really.  Sometimes the only way to teach a chick to fly is to throw it out of the nest and say, “Fly or fall to your death!” Rogue, as soon as you learn some real English you are welcome to contribute some more strategy to the guide!


Anyhow, it is with great pleasure that I present


Topic 19 (Advanced) – Blocking!


I discovered while writing Topic 17 that I haven’t really covered blocking—only two tricky blocks in Topic 10!  This is an oversight that I will now rectify by devoting an entire Topic to the subject!


I usually begin with a simple example, and this Topic is no exception.


Blocking Example 1!



This is pretty mundane.  White captures the queen, and sticks his bishop in the way so the rook can’t recapture.



I start with this one because for some reason a lot of players don’t defend the bishop with their pawn in situations like this, since they aren’t making a capture. 


Blocking Example 2!



Here white would once again like to capture black’s queen with his own. The problem is that black has defended his queen with four pieces.  Fortunately, white can block all of them from protecting the queen by sticking his pieces in the way!



And the queen is defenseless.  Piece of cake, right?  Let’s take a look at an even more complex scenario.


Blocking Example 3!



Here’s one that comes up often and is usually completely overlooked.  Black will try to play his knight to e4.  White should respond as follows:



As the knight moves toward e4, white quickly plays the two indicated pawns forward.  You should recognize this tactic—it’s from Topic 1!



White plans to capture the knight, and the two pawns protecting it, in one fell swoop.  Of course, this is a blocking example, so there should be a block involved shouldn’t there?



There we go.  This knight move blocks the black rook from defending the knight.  If you needed me to tell you that, perhaps you should revisit Topic 8a.




Without the knight, the rook could capture white’s bishop.


And now for something completely different.


Blocking Example 4!



Black has just moved his queen to g4.  In the previous examples, all the blocks were to prevent one piece from defending another.  This block, however, is intended to cut the queen off from the rest of the board.



The queen has nowhere to run to escape the bishop, a neat blocking play by white!



Black resigns—his queen is lost.


Blocking Example 5!



Similar to example 4, black uses his knight to block in white’s rook, completely neutralizing it.



White’s rook cannot move!


Blocking Example 6!



This time white can make a very tricky play to force black to block his own rook!



With only one square to dodge to, black must either lose the bishop or block his rook.



White captures the pawn and survives to claim a draw.



Topic 18 Official Strategy Puzzle Solution!


Here is the solution to the Topic 18 strategy puzzle.


Devilant’s Strategy Guide: Topic 19 Official Strategy Puzzle!


White to win.