A review of 1000x Checkmate by Lubomir Ftacnik

by Albert Silver
11/8/2012 – Without tactics all the best laid plans fall apart, and Lubomir Ftacnik himself reminds us that players all too often get caught up and lose sight of the most fundamental goal of chess: the checkmate. Checkmates revolve around repeated themes and this course will teach beginners and more how to achieve their goals. Buy it now, or read the review.

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Lubomir Ftacnik: 1000x checkmate

Review by Albert Silver

Tactics, tactics, tactics. These are the building blocks of chess, and while strategic planning might seem the more sophisticated approach to the game, without tactics all the best laid plans fall apart. Lubomir Ftacnik himself reminds us in his video introduction that players all too often get caught up in the nitty gritty of the game, and lose sight of the most fundamental goal of chess: the checkmate.

Designed for rank beginners to those still covering some those occasionally embarrassing oversights, GM Ftacnik has put together a rich collection of one thousand checkmates, all designed to pound every variation on the theme into a player’s mind.

Aside from a comforting introduction, he also includes three video presentations of games which not only illustrate the themes, but also emphasize his goal and selection process. You will not find those esoteric problems with mates in two and three that can baffle even the master strength players due to their seemingly illogical solutions, here there are only the most common and essential themes. The reason, as the grandmaster explains, is that the themes will repeat themselves and will serve the player over and over.

The themes covered are:

1.  Queen sacrifice
2.  Luring the king
3.  Motifs on the h-file
4.  Quiet move
5.  Diagonals
6.  Back rank
7.  The pin
8.  King in the center
9.  Rook and light pieces
10. Luring away the piece
11. Making way for the piece
12. Preventing escape
13. Knight mates
14. Smoothered mate
15. Doublecheck


Lubomir Ftacnik uses a game between modern giants Levon Aronian and Alexander
Grischuk to illustrate the need to dominate the themes.

For the rank beginner still getting to grips with the multitude of simple, but fun checkmates, there are text files illustrating the various ideas and themes teaching the budding player the questions to ask himself when he feels there is a final solution but is unable to define it.


There are courses to help teach the concepts behind the themes

To help inspire the player, the essential themes are explained and illustrated in a separate base containing some course material with a number of exemplary games.


For the rank beginner who finds it confusing, the basics, such as the questions to ask
oneself, are explained with many examples.

With a thousand checkmates to train with, there is no shortage of material, and grandmaster Ftacnik is quick to emphasize that doing only a dozen here and there will probably not be enough to help reach their ambitions, but as someone who has crossed that bridge, I can attest that the process is usually quite fun, and the mates will come to you faster and faster as you gain experience. As pattern recognition does its magic, the thousand checkmates will go faster than one might think.

The collection is aimed at rank beginners to players rated 1700 or so, and is highly recommended.


A sample of one of the videos from 1000x Checkmate

1000x checkmate can be purchased in the ChessBase Shop.

Copyright ChessBase



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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