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Daily Chess Puzzle

March 11, 2018

Today’s problem is a game I saw at the recent Aeroflot Open

Since the start of 2018, I have decided to adopt the style of only saying which side is to play: and not giving an idea if the move wins or otherwise, unless on occasion I think signposting would be helpful. Instead, the problems are posed with the instruction to decide what you would play, as in a game.

White to play, after Black’s last move, Ke7-f6

h1

Hakobyan v Wien, Aeroflot, Moscow, 27/2/18

 

Solution

Kf6 seems to be the losing move: something which I found surprising. I think how White won is instructive.

1 c5! bc 2 b5[]

h2

Black’s king advanced, as did White’s, and White played a5, before the instructive move 5 Rd8!

h3

It threatens a manoeuvre I don’t recall seeing before, though I suspect I have just admitted to all my readers my lack of rook ending technique: the idea is a6, Rb8, Rb7, which happened in the game.

h4

Black’s rook had to give way, permitting R*a7, and a few moves later Black resigned.

h5

If here 10..h3, White plays 11 Rg7+ overpowering the rook.

Instructive.

The whole game was interesting. Pieces came off quickly; and here, White played 19 Bf3, ruining his pawn structure.

h6

I would have always played 18 f3 here; this is my engine’s second choice, its first being 19 Rhd1 with the idea that 19..Bg2 20 Rg1 wins the g7 pawn. But after all three moves the engine appraises the position as equal.  It was only Black’s Ke7-f7 which changed the assessment. Instead, Black should have swapped rooks, or advanced his king side pawns, in both cases keeping his rook near White’s majority.

FEN

8/p1r2pp1/1p2pk1p/8/PPP5/2K2P2/3R1P1P/8 w – – 0 26

 

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