Chess and Windmills

This article was originally published in Derby & Mickleover Chess Club’s Summer Moves in June 2011

Recently my interest was caught by a very beautiful tactic. In “My System”, Nimzowitch called it a “zwickmuhle” which translated means “double mill”. In English we know the tactic as a “windmill” or “see-saw”. In essence it is a repetitive series of attacks where a piece moves, giving discovered check and then returns giving check. The specific variant I examined was where a rook and bishop work together. Usually the rook is on g7 (or g2 if Black) and the bishop is on the long diagonal a1-h8 (or h1-a8 if Black). To give a simple example:

The following game demonstrates the danger of opening up the g-file in front of your king:

Finally, it is important to be aware that the windmill tactic can lead to mate, especially where the h-pawn is still on its starting square.

Kevin D

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