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Test your chess: daily chess puzzle # 215

April 16, 2015

White played 1 Rf7: with what result?

Is Black winning, losing, or drawing?

 

M Levitt v JL Gluckman 1997

 

Solution

 

This is just the sort of position in which the development of chess engines has taught me that…I am rubbish at calculation. I struggled my way through this, at first thinking Black could take 1…Kf7 since 2 Qe6+[] Kf8[] 3 Qg6 might not be losing, and is probably winning for Black. But then I saw the zwischenschach 3 Qf5+! and white wins. He either collects the Ng6 with check, after which the checks continue, or he skewers Ke7 and Qd8.

 

So 1…Kf7 loses. In the game black played 1…Rc7 and also lost after 2 Re6 Qd5 3 Qe8; I didn't even consider 1…Rc7, instead choosing 1…Qd5! by intuition as the most active defence (having proved that 1…Kf7 loses).

 

But I couldn't fully analyse 1…Qd5; I saw 2 Rg7+ Kf8 but then wasn't sure whether 3 Qf2+ was a draw – to me, just unclear; whereas 3 Rg6 Qc5+ looked at least equal. Reitstein says that indeed 1…Qd5! is best and assesses it as unclear, hard for either side to prevail.

 

I have only given the position cursory engine treatment: this is one for more serious study when time permits. Firstly, after 3 Rg6? Qc5+ the engine tells me that Black is simply winning, since the tactics if 4 Qf2 end with Rc2+ forking Kf2 and Rb2- LPDOs do drop off; and if 4 Kf1 Qf5+ 5 Qf2 the LPDO Bb2 still falls off, to the same fork after queens are exchanged; and if 5 Kg1 the other LPDO drops off, 5…Qg6.

This is one where the position could deserve an hour or more or study.

 

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