Friday, 13 April 2007

Friday chess puzzle

Capablanca vs Lasker Blitz Game
Here's the first "Friday chess puzzle" on Chess Tales.

I was shown this position earlier this week, and it's allegedly from a blitz game between a young Capablanca and World Champion Emanuel Lasker in 1914. Tim Krabbe casts some doubt on whether it's an actual game position, or something the pair cooked up in the game post-mortem. Either way, it's a great position, and even featured on a Cuban stamp.

The question is: How does White (to play) force a quick win?

(Answers by Wednesday to roger AT 21thoughts DOT com)


yemon said...

Nice position! It does seem almost too good to be true (not because of the quick win but because of the `echo' effect that's usually found in problems).

Would love to see the stamp.

Ryan Emmett said...

Is the answer Ra8+? If Kxa8 then Kxc7 Ka7 Kc6 and White wins the b6 pawn and the game.

But the nice bit is if Black takes the rook with his Knight (so after Ra8 Nxa8) Kc8 Black has only one move - Nc7 - putting the Knight back from where it came! Beautiful!

Roger Coathup said...

Hi Yemon,

if you click on the Tim Krabbe link in the post, he has a picture of the stamp.

Best regards, Roger

Roger Coathup said...

Hi Ryan,

yes, Ra8+ is correct.

Well spotted.

Best regards,

Prashant said...

Look at the board co-ordinates, Ra8+ is just not possible. Rh1 is possible, which means that black plays from the bottom and white's first move must be 1.g5 after which there is no forced win.

Roger Coathup said...


good spot... the board has been printed with the co-ordinates in the wrong way round!

The 8th rank should be at the top, so yes, 1 Ra8+ is the correct solution.



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