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Test your chess: daily chess puzzle # 173

March 17, 2015

White to play and win


M Kolnik v KV Grivainis 1957




Reitstein's hint is that in the game white played 1 Bf1 and lost, but Stockfish says that, objectively, white is winning after that move (+1.7). However, knowing that 1 Bf1 is 'not the move' it isn't too hard to find the far better 1 Ba3!- Purdy's approach of ignoring threats and also to examine all biffs both lead to having to look at the move.

It is fairly easy to see what happens after 1…Qa3: 2 Qe5+, and an open king hunt starts. 2…Kb7[] 3 Rb1+ and in practice I would more or less stop there (3…Ka8? 4 Qe4+ mates; 3…Ka6?? 4 Qb5 is mate; so 3…Kc8 or 3..Kc6 are the only moves: if I had time, I would work out how to defeat both moves, otherwise I would rely on intuition.

It is more interesting to work out what happens if Black's queen moves, keeping an eye on d6. 1…Qd5 2 Rb1!! is another example of Ignoring all threats,

and if 2….Rf5 3 Rb5!! ignores all threats one last time.


It isn't over, though. 3…Qd7! still controls d6, so white has to play 4 Bf1, and whilst the engines show +6, after 4…g3 there would be room to be scared as white – or, at least, I would need to keep control of my emotions, knowing that objectively the Q and 2 Bs will either maul black's king, or there would be simplification to a winning ending.


One more line: if after 1 Ba3, Black controls d6 by playing 1…Qd7, the lines are simpler. 2 Qe5+ Kb7 gets the king into the open, and white can follow up by 3 Rb1+ and probably take the Rf8, with a winning material and positional advantage.

I wrote the above paragraph before looking at Stockfish, and, strangely, it drops its assessment from +13 In the above position to +6 after 3 Rb1+; it prefers 3 Bf1: I wonder why? One more conundrum to spend some time on, when there is time…or maybe a reader would care to look at it and comment.



From → Chess

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