Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Friday chess puzzle 4: the solutions

Last Friday's chess puzzles seem to have posed an interesting challenge to the Chess Tales readers:

Friday chess puzzle 4 Friday chess puzzle 4

The solutions to these first 2 puzzles share a common theme, sacrificing a piece to allow the pawn through to queen.

i.e. for the left hand puzzle, the solution is

1 Ng7+! Nxg7; 2 h6 and not only can the knight not stop the pawn, but it also prevents it's own king from helping.

For the right hand puzzle, it looks as though the White king and bishop are just spectators and that Black will gobble up the c3 pawn with a draw, but

1 Bd5! Kxd5; 2 Kb5 with a winning king and pawn ending. Here the bishop sacrifice deflected the Black king, allowing the White king into the crucial b5 square.

I also asked you to assess this position (it's Black to move) and let me know if it is a loss or a draw:

Black's only hope is to keep the White king trapped in corner, he has two ways to try this 1 ... Kf7 or 1 ... Kf8

Unfortunately the first loses: 1 ... Kf7; 2 Nd3 Kf8; 3 Ne5 and the king can't return to f7, so White escapes from the corner and wins.

However, 1 ... Kf8 draws, e.g. 2 Nd3 Kf7; 3 Ne5+ Kf8; 4 Ng6+ Kf7 and White can't force the Black king away from f7/f8. This solution relies on the fact that a knight by itself cannot 'lose a move'. The rule is, put your king on same colour square as the knight (i.e. if the knight is on a light square go to f7, if it is on a dark square go to f8).

Go salvage some half points!

These positions were all taken from Averbakh's Chess Endings: Essential Knowledge.

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Chess Tales by Roger Coathup: A collection of online articles about chess and chess players.