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Test your chess: daily chess puzzle # 36

September 25, 2014

Blog updated 20/8/16: updates in bold and italics, underlined


White to play and draw




J Gluckman v J Plaskett 1991

(Black is the British GM Jim Plaskett)




This is a position which no matter how long I sat at the board and stared, I wouldn’t be confident with my analysis. And yet I would play 1 c5+! instinctively. Perhaps more in hope than anything else, supported by the thought it can’t be worse than the alternatives.

Black then has to choices

a) the winning line, 1…Bc5


Reitstein just dismisses this line as “if 1…Bc5, 2 Kc4” implying is is drawn, but it is a win.

1…Bc5 2 Kc4 Ba7 (maybe Bb6 is better to have Bd8 in reserve, looking at e7) 3 Kb4 Ke5 4 Bb3 Ke4 5 Be6

Diagram A

Here it is black to play, so Kf4-g3-h3, white Kc4-d3-e2, 8…Kg2:

..and I fear that black wins. (He does: he is a tempo ahead of the lines after 1…Kc5)


Update 20/8/16: I wrote the original posting a long while ago, whilst on holiday, and suspected the problem was cooked. I didnt have Reitstein’s book with me at the time, and forgot about updating the blog until when again on holiday I found the photocopy I had kept in the pocket of my Kindle case.

As suspected, the problem is cooked. Black missed a win in the game.

b) a drawing line, 1…Kc5


1…Kc5 2 Bb3 Kd6 3 Kc4 Ke5 4 Kb4 Ke4  (or 4…Kf4: makes no difference) 5 Be6

Diagram B

Here, in diagram B, it is similar to diagram A, but less advantageous to black, since the B is in the way on g1, taking a square from the black king, biffable should white get his king to f1, and not as helpful in controlling the white e pawn. So here Kf4-g3-h3, white queen to e2, 8…Kg2 9 Bd5+ Kg3 10 Kf1 Bc5 11 Be6

And I think this position is drawn. White shuffles his bishop on the h3-c8 diagonal until black pushes his pawn to h2, then white plays his bishop to the h1-a8 diagonal, and after K*g4 white sets up a fortress with Kg2.

The key difference is that 1…Bc5 moves the B from the g1 square, so that when the King is checked by Bd5+, Black’s King can move to g1 (rather than g3) therefore denying White’s King access to f1. The Black King on g1 can then support the h pawn to its promotion, from when it is easy. Quite a subtle difference: who would have thought, without analysis, that the B is in the way on g1? Once you see it, it is ‘obvious’, but before then it isn’t clear at all.


Posted with BlogsyPosted with Blogsy

From → Chess

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