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Daily Chess Puzzle

April 8, 2018

Today’s problem is from the presently ongoing Grenke Chess Classic. This posting was written mid-play on 4th April, astounded by the turn of events in the game Caruana-Naiditsch. The game had been level throughout, and I thought was heading for a draw, making it five draws in the round {and the other four games won’t be going into the anthologies).

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

1

Caruana v Naiditsch, Grenke Classic, Germany, 4/4/18

Solution

Black has just played the losing move Qa4-a2. In a game, if I were White, I would have no idea whatsoever that I was winning, and would fear a loss by Black advancing his a pawn. My only hope would be his weakness on h6.

So, maybe 1 g4, perhaps?  No, 1g4?? Nd3! 0-1

Therefore, maybe 1 Qe4 instead? No, 1…Qe6  2 Qc2 Qc4! and if 3 Qb2, 3…Qe4+ and picks up the Nf5.

Caruana played 1 Ne3! and somehow…he is winning.

2

It only slowly dawned on me that Black is in a form of zugzwang; 1 Ne3 controls the Nb2; and thus controls the Qa2; giving White time for a later g4 and Nf5, returning to the outpost once defended, and Black is defenceless. Often, when Black’s Queen retreats to defend the K, his Nb2 becomes LPDO and is lost.

In the game, Black resigned after 1…Kg7 2 Qb4! (further controlling key squares; or 2 Qb5) Qb1 3 g4! Kg8 4 Nf5 Qc2 5 Qb8+ Kh7 6 Qg7 Kh8 7 Qe7 1-0.

3

If say 7…Qc6+ then eventually a Qe5+ will fork K and Nb2.

Astounding. And (subject to the rest of the tournament, a marker laid down by Fabiano for Magnus in November!

FEN

8/pQ3p1k/7p/5Np1/8/6PP/qn3PK1/8 w – – 0 36
wKg2,Qb7,Nf5,Pf2,g3,h3/bKh7,Qa2,Nb2,Pa7,f7,g5,h6

 

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