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It’s Your Move: daily chess puzzle # 32

June 27, 2015

Can White save himself?

Friedmann v Paterson, Johannesburg 1962




Well, actually, no.

The question is almost 'trick', since when you realise white is in schtuck, with g5+ Kh5[] Qh3 mate threatened, the save 1 Qh6+! comes to mind.

The point of course is that 1…Kh6?? 2 g5+ K moves is stalemate, but Black can instead play 2…Kg8! Then White has to retreat his queen, and c1 is best, to defend the Pa3.

As a child, I might assume it is a draw, but having seen countless Carlsen or Caruana grinds, I now know you have to play on, and see what happens. The best start is to improve the queen, moving it to d4. 2…Qf2+ 3 Kg5[] Qd4:

The queen now biffs the Pe5. If white defends it with 4 Kf6 he is mated by 4…Qd8; and same after 4 Qf4 Qd8mate.

If white defends the e5 pawn by Qc7, the a3 pawn is a LPDO, and, as we know, loose pieces drop off. Here after 4…Qe3+ 5 Kf6 (say) Qf3+! 6 Ke7 Qa3+ (nice that it is with check) 7 Kf6 Qf8, defending everything, and the a pawn will advance.

(Thinking about it, 4…Kg7 is even better, spoiling white's chance to cause a bit of a problem with Kf6/e7)

So, by elimination, 4 Qe1, when Black simply improves his king, 4…Kg7, and white's king is still in danger of being in a lethal net. White is in fact lost. One sample line, quite pretty, is 5 Qg3 (re-defending the Pa3) 5…f6+! 6 Kh4 (6 ef+ Qf6 mate) Kh6!

and white might then be gentleman, and play 7 ef permitting 7…g5 mate, which would be a fitting end, or else he loses the e5 and the win is trivial.

Teschner's answer is 1 Qh6+ Kh6 2 g5+ and stalemate, and if 1…Kg8 2 Qg7+, but if that, then 2…Kg7 isn't stalemate!


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