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Puzzle answers

August 31, 2010

White can easily win a pawn by going 1.Bxa6 Nc6 2.Bd3, but this will be insufficient to win. Also the attempt at dominating the black knight by playing 1.Bxa6 Nc6 2.Bb7 Nxa5 3.Bd5 isn’t successful as black will go 3…Kf6 to push away the bishop. White needs to keep his a-pawn. Therefore he needs to find a trick. The solution is as follows: 1.Kd2! Now, if black tries 1…Nc6, white is in time to go 2.Kc3 Nxa5 3.Bf3! trapping the knight. Therefore black tries to activate his king: 1…Kf6 2.Kc3 Ke7 On 2…Nc6, 3.Bf3! Nb8 4.Kd4 should be decisive. Now white faces a difficult decision. He has many promising options, but I think there’s only one clear win. 3.Kb4 Nc6+ 4.Ka4 Nb8 doesn’t achieve too much as black gets his king to d6, covering a lot of important squares. 3.Bxa6 followed by Bb7-d5 is very tempting. Then black will have to play 5…Kd6 6.Kd4. Now the pawn ending after 6…Nc6+ is completely lost, but it seems to me that black has drawing chances after the correct 6…f6. White can solve this with a bit more simplicity: 3.Bxa6 Nc6 4.Bd3! Nxa5 5.Bxf5 Now the h7-pawn is under attack, but if he plays the natural move 5…h6, 6.Be4 with Kb4 next wins instantly. Consequently black is forced to play 5…Nc6, when 6.Bxh7 nets white a second pawn and a winning position.

In this puzzle, the basic idea is pretty straight-forward, but precision is needed to take the full point! 1.Rh8 Kg7 is the obvious start. Now 2.Rxg8+ Kxg8 3.Kg4 (taking the opposition) gives white nothing as black can simply go back and forth between f7 and g7 regardless of who has the opposition. 2.Kg5! is the key move. Now after 2…Kxh8 3.Kg6 Nh6 4.Kxh6 Kg8 5.Kg6 Kf8 6.Kf6, the opposition is no longer irrelevant, and white outflanks to win the d7-pawn. So black plays 2…Nf6. 3.Kf5 is brilliantly refuted by 3…Ne4!! 3.Rd8! is the right move, even though you’re giving up the important d6-pawn. 3…Ne4+ 4.Kf4 Nxd6 (4…Nf6 5.Ke5 is equally hopeless) 5.Rxd7+ Nf7 6.Kf5! White has managed to achieve a winning R vs N position. The rest is easy: 6…Kg8 7.Kf6 Nh8 8.Rc7 Kf8 9.Rc8 mate!

So, how much of this did you see?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Veeeery strong grandmasterrr permalink
    September 2, 2010 01:24

    Since it appears that no one else took any interest in the puzzles I will allow myself a bit of nitpickingšŸ™‚ In the first puzzle, it would appear that in the sub-variation 3. Bxa6 white is nevertheless winning: 3…Nc6 4. Bb7 Nxa5 5. Bd5 Kd6 6. Kd4 f6. Now after 7. e4! I can’t find any salvation for black: 7… fxe4 (7… f4 8. e5!+ fe5 9. Ke4 h6 10. h3 h5 11. h4 with a decisive zugzwang) 8.Kxe4 Kc5 (Ke7 boils down to the same thing, as black has nothing better than to return to d6 in any case, and 8… f5 9.Kd4 does not help) 9. h4 Kd6 10. h5 Kc5 11. g4 Kd6 12. Kf5! Kxd5 13. Kxf6 and white wins since g5 followed by the queening of the h-pawn cannot be stopped. There are other options for black in these lines, but none of them seem sufficient to save the game. Finally 7… Nc6+ wins rather trivally for white: 8. Bxc6 Kxc6 9. exf5 Kd6 10.Ke4 and the white king either gobbles up the h6- pawn or gets in the decisive g5-break with 10… h5 11. Kf4 Kd5 (otherwise Kg3-h4) 12. g4 and the black king is too far away.

    • September 2, 2010 10:27

      You are absolutely right Mr. Grandmasterrr. I wanted to play this Bb7-d5 too, as it’s the more human way of approaching the position, but my computer indicated that it was a draw after 9.g4 Kf8!! which completely startled me, and made me look if there were any simpler solutions. Just to add a variation on your list, 9…h5 should lose to 10.Kf5 Kd6 11.Ba2, keeping control of the diagonal. Black can still hope for a draw, as all he needs is to take the g2-pawn with his knight while getting the king to h8 in the process – but with correct play, I believe white should succeed in sheparding his pawns.

  2. December 9, 2010 02:25

    Ahhh 2…Ke7 is a better try but as you indicate, the rest is still easy.

    In my analysis I was also trying for Mr. Grandmasterrr’s sub-position believing that was winning also, having seen the idea in a game from my youth. Here is that position (not sure if it will let me post a diagram so here is the FEN) :

    8/4k2p/p5p1/1pPBn3/4P2P/P5P1/6K1/8 w – – 0 42

    I was White and sealed (do you know what this means? :P) the inferior move 42.Kh3 and only managed to draw the game. But a FIDE master at the club indicated 42.Kf2! with 42…Nd3+ 43.Ke3 Nxc5 44.Kd4 Nd7 45.e5 with a clear advantage to White. After the game ended about 10-15 kibitzers all had their turns at winning that endgame, which happened most of the timešŸ™‚

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