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Test your chess: Reitstein problem 153

May 25, 2014

White to play


PNJ Smit v G Stahlberg 1964






This is the sort of position where I wonder whether top players would calculate very far, or whether they would play by instinct, more or less. Here, 1 Rf4! demands to be played (if it doesn't work, then white's position is bad) and after 1…ef[] the choice is between Nf5 and 2 Nh5!, with the latter being intuitively better, since there is a threat of Nf6+ forking the king and LPDO Rd7. I suspect in a game, my only calculation would be to see if 2 Rf4 were any good, but then 2…Qc6: time is of the essence, so the N has to move forward, and the Pf4 can be captured later.

Black's natural defence 2…Qc6 fails to an exchange of queens and 4 Nf6+ winning the rook. So black's real choice is between 2…Kh8 and 2…gh, since 2…Ne6 again drops the LPDO rook (though on further thought, 2…Rc7 and 2…Re7 need to be looked into).

I felt that 2…gh was the move that had to be looked at first- if it is good, then white is lost- So, 3 Qg5+ Kh8[] 4 Qf6+ and then I realised that 5 Rf4 is too slow, since black has 5…d5. I couldn't see anything special for white, and so set the pieces up…and still couldn't find a win, so turned to the solution to find that…it was a drawing line, but in the game (GM) Stahlberg played 2…Re7 which also draws.

My blog doesn't give any hints, and also doesn't say 'and win' so perhaps readers won't feel the same disappointment as I do: I assumed there was to be a win to be found. However, putting that aside, it is a reasonable exercise.


From → Chess

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