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Daily Chess Puzzle

March 16, 2018

Today’s problem is from the current Candidates tournament. Levon Aronian finished off an ending in an instructive way.

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.

Black to play

k1

Karjakin v Aronian, Berlin Candidates, 14/3/18

Solution

If I were Black, I would not know what to do; would fear that somehow I would mess up, and let White off with a draw.

Not Levon.

1..f2! 2 Rf1[] Rf5!

k2

And the White rook is now totally passive. 3 Kh3 Kg5 4 Kg3 Rf4 and White resigned.

k3

I imagine both players knew this finale as soon as the ending arose many moves earlier:

k4

Again, here, I don’t know enough about R+BP+RP v R endings, let alone with an extra f pawn, to ‘know’ the result; but I imagine both players knew that the extra f pawn made the win ‘trivial’ because of zugzwangs.

FEN

8/5p2/6k1/7r/8/5p1p/7K/R7 b – – 0 65
wKh2,Ra1/bKg6,Rh5,Pf3,f7,h3

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