Luft

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
e8 black rook
h8 black king
b7 white rook
b3 black pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
h1 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
If it is Black's move, he checkmates White with 1...Re1#. If it is White's turn, he must create luft by moving either his g-pawn or h-pawn. After avoiding checkmate and then capturing the opponent's passed pawn, White should win this game.

In chess, luft (the German word for "air", sometimes also "space" or "breath") designates the space or square left by a pawn move into which a king (usually a castled one) may then retreat, especially such a space made intentionally to avoid back-rank checkmate. A move leaving such a space is often said to "give the king some luft". The term "luft", "lufting", or "lufted" may also be used (as an English participle) to refer to the movement of the relevant pawn creating luft.[1]

Preventing an opponent from lufting a pawn (for example by pinning it or moving a piece to the square in front of it) is a tactic that may lead to checkmate. A king's access to his luft might also be denied by the opponent subjecting the area to attack.

The German "luft" is a close-heterograph to the English "lift"; e.g., rook lift and pawn luft.


Examples[edit]

abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
b8 black king
f8 white queen
a7 black pawn
b7 black cross
c7 black pawn
a6 black circle
b6 black pawn
c6 black circle
d6 white knight
a5 white knight
c5 white knight
d5 white bishop
f4 black bishop
g4 black knight
f3 black knight
g3 black circle
h3 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 black cross
c1 black queen
g1 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
"X"s mark luft to which the king can escape back-rank checkmate delivered by the queen. Theoretical enemy knights in the indicated positions deny the king access to his luft. Black dots indicate areas where threats emanating from enemy pieces capable of capturing diagonally could also deny access. The pawn structure seen in Black's position is less secure, but it is a risk commonly accepted to fianchetto.
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
e8 black queen
g8 black king
e7 black rook
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
b6 black pawn
d6 black knight
g6 white circle
a5 black pawn
c5 black pawn
d5 white bishop
c4 white pawn
f4 white knight
h4 white rook
b3 white pawn
h3 white pawn
a2 black rook
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Being up a queen, Black will win unless he overlooks the threat of 2.Ng6 (which sets up checkmate via 3.Rh8#). Black wouldn't be able to capture the knight or create luft because his f-pawn is pinned by the bishop, and his g-pawn can't move if a piece is on g6 blockading it. White's king is temporarily safe from check in his luft. (The threat can be neutralised by 1...Qb8, as then 2.Ng6 can be met by the discovered check 2...Nf5+ winning White's rook.)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Queen Sacrifices" on YouTube (At the 45:26 mark, GM Ben Finegold of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta examines a game lost because the player is unable to luft due to his own pieces blockading his pawns.)
  • Evans, Larry (1958), New Ideas in Chess, Pitman (1984 Dover edition), ISBN 0-486-28305-4