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Daily Chess Puzzle #127

January 18, 2015

White to play and win

M Katz v E Pfister 1974

 

Solution

Full credit to white for finding the solution: knowing it is a problem, this was was a 'toughie', so in a game, it would have been far, far, harder. The obvious move to play, 1 Re6, leads to what I suspect could be a drawn position after 1…Qe6[] 2 Qe6 Re6[] 3 Ra8.

White's winning plan in such positions is to play his pawn to a7, and then his f pawn to f6, forcing black's king out from his safe haven of g7/h7; often a skewer following (…Kf7 Rh8 Ra7 Rh7+ skewering). Here, though, black can play 3….g5! 4 f3! g4! though even here white has 5 Kf2! gf 6 gf!

And I think black's h pawn means that he might be able to draw this position: although 'further investigation is required'.

However, I am very confident that in a game, as white, I would have played for the line, and hoped to win it (some months back, I saw an excellent video series by Alex Yermolinsky on ICC on similar to endings, and this taught me some of the common themes of this type of ending, or R+3 each on king side/ white having a passes offside pawn.

Knowing that there is more to the original position than this, one has to look at (examine all biffs) 1 Rg7+! (1 Rh8+?? also has to be looked at, but can quickly been to do nothing) after which Kg7 is forced. Then what? White has three plausible checks, Qb7+, Qd4+, Rd7+ (the fourth biff Rg8+?? being a patent blunder.

Position after 1 Rg7+! Kg7[]

The move I opted for was 2 Qb7+! Kf6 3 Rf8+ Ke5.
Here, I chose 4 Qb5+ and saw enough lines to believe white wins, which indeed he does: too many lines to record, but all with the same task of precise checking, or herding the king. However, Stockfish improves with 4 f4+, which, once it is seen, is natural: it brings another piece to the party. Again, too many lines to show, so I will leave it for the reader.

Instead, 2 Rd7+ also wins. One line worth noting is 2…Kf6 which is met by 3 Qg6+! Kg6 4 gh:

And here the the rook ending should be winning. Black has to play 4…Ra6 to prevent the 'Yermo' line of Rd7-a7-a8; Pa4….a7, and f pawn advance. After 4…Ra6, white plays Rd4, and brings his king over to the a pawn.
Having written this blog so far, I now see that 2 Rd7+ is quite easy, since the simplification to a winning ending is a repeating motif once the g pawn has been taken. 2…Kf8 3 Qf4+ Rgf6 4 Qf6+! etc, for instance.

Finally, the third check, 2 Qd4+, is a blunder, the assessment then being dead equal: 2…Ref6 3 Qa7+ Rf7 4 Qd4+ with a perpetual. (2..Kf7? 3 Qd7+ is similar to the other winning lines; 3 Rd7+ Kg8 4 Qc4+ Qe6! brings the queen to safety).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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