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Daily Chess Puzzle

August 4, 2018

Today’s problem is what I think is the prettiest combination I’ve played in 2018, to mark the birthday of a close friend.

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

Pos17

Allan Beardsworth v Alan Walton, Rapidplay, 21/6/18

Solution

With some hesitation, I played 1 Ne5!, thinking that at least I wasn’t worse after it. The game was a 30 minute per player Rapidplay, and I spent a lot of time on 1…Qf2+!!; but my opponent didn’t play it, immediately replying 1..Bd1.

There are numerous possibilities, too many for me to calculate, but with the LPDO Bg4 I felt the tactics wouldn’t work against me; besides, 1 Ne5 unpins, and otherwise I could have been in difficulties.

In the game, after 2 Nf7 Nd5 3 ed Be2 4 Re1 Rf7 5 Re2 White emerged with a pleasant plus.

Pos18

I thought with R+B vs R+ opposite bishop I would have a big advantage, and indeed in the game I converted it; see my previous posting for the finale. But the engine tells me White is only somewhat better.  It is the sort of position where practice against the engine is educational, to see Black’s resources. The FEN file is: r2b2k1/pp3rpp/3p4/3P4/1P6/2R3P1/P3RPBP/6K1 b – – 0 23  for anyone interested.

Black could have played for strongly with 1…Qf2+! which as I suspected is equal after an engine line. White can even be worse if not careful, given Black has the two bishops and White’s pawns are fairly broken. 2 Rf2[] Bd1 3 Ne7+ Be7 4 Nd3 Rf2 5 Kf2 Bg4 6 Rc7 Bd8 7 Rb7 Bb6+ 8 Ke1 Kf8 9 e5! Rd8 10 Nf2 Bc8 11 Rb8= is my engine’s line.

Pos19

FEN

r2b1rk1/pp2nqpp/3p4/3Np3/1P2P1b1/2R2NP1/P4PBP/3Q1RK1 w – – 0 19

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