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Daily Chess Puzzle

May 5, 2018

Today’s problem is from the recent US Chess Championships, won by GM Sam Shankland

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: what would you play?; form a plan

1

Onischuck v Shankland, St Louis 28/4/18

Solution

I watched this, and many of the US championship games live- on my new favourite app, Follow Chess: great for watching up to 6 games at once on the iPad.

Sam has just written a book for Quality Chess on pawn play, so in most of his games, I watched how he handled his pawns (his piece play was also great too).

This position impressed me. I would have played 1…Ke6 (which can’t be bad) and maybe 2…b5 (to create a passed pawn) but Sam played 1…b6! (exclam for the plan, not the move).

2

The move defends the b pawn, without causing a block. The K moved to c4:

3

Black’s Q side pawns never moved: Black aimed to win the Pa3; White sacrificed the Pd4 to free up his bishop, but resigned when the position was hopeless.

4

Classic endgame play: using the power of the King. 1…b5? would have blocked its access to c4.

FEN

2r5/pp3k2/5p2/3n4/3P4/P4R2/6P1/4B1K1 b – – 0 35

 

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