Don’t Forget to Use Your King: Short-Timman, Tilburg 1991

Everyone knows that you should centralize your King in an endgame, and that a poorly placed King can be the key feature of an ending; that the King is worth roughly as much as a minor piece on an open board, and obviously should be used accordingly. However, there are a few rare instances where the king has led an attack in the middle game. Below, find two such examples.

The following game between Short and Timman is legendary for Short’s miraculous maneuver with his king, which walks across a crowded board to deliver mate to its helpless counter-part. It’s featured in Sahovski informator 54, and the relevant portion of the game is annotated by Lev Khariton over at chessdom here. Surely, the entire plan must have come as an incredible surprise to Timman, and yet, it’s so clean and “simple.” I think the position on move 31 would be a fantastic “mate in 6” problem.

The following game by Larsen features a similar king march, though here the path is more treacherous and not as clear as in the Short game. Larsen manages to construct a mating net around his opponent’s helpless monarch after sacrificing his queen!