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Test your chess: daily chess puzzle # 151

February 11, 2015

White to play and win

 

 

MC Harris v E de Klerk 1980

 

Solution

I failed on this one, not seeing the beautiful, wonderfully strong, winning move.

Alas, I also slipped up: after studying it for a while, I decided, as I sometimes so, to start drafting the blog post, and saving it, with the picture of the game position, to study later. I set my iPad Stockfish app to not show analysis, input the position, posted by blog in draft, and left it. Later, I reopened Stockfish, to input another position, and the app flashed the solution to the present problem. Once seen, it is obvious. Seeing it is anything but obvious.

I instead chose 1 f4, which, because white is: a pawn up, better developed, and with the safer king, also wins, or at least leads to a dominating position. Say 1…Be7 2 Be6 fe 3 Ne7 Ne7 4 Nf3. I would fancy my chances vs Carlsen.

So, what is the winning move? It is the little move 1 Qf4!!: a pearl.
1… Be7 2 Nc7+ Kf8 3 Ne6+ 1-0; 1..Rb8 2 Nc7+ Ke7 3 Qg5+! f6[] 4 Qc5+ Kf7[] 5 Be6+ 1-0; 1…Bh3 2 Nc7+ Ke7 3 Qd6 mate.
Comment
It would be interesting to know how many readers found the move, and how long it took them/why they think they found the solution. Once seen, the weakness on c7, the Ra8/Ke8 pin, the Nc7/Qd6 entry into the king's guts are obvious, but removing the pin, especially with the Bh3 attacked, is not obvious. I chose the tame/lame/standard approach of bringing more pieces to the party. Yes, it was good enough, but prosaic.
 

 

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