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Daily Chess Puzzle

June 17, 2019

Today’s problem is from the January 1979 Chess magazine. I have hundreds (many hundreds) of magazines on my book shelves, and I thought I would dip into them; and thought I would start with going forty years back.


As is my custom, I only say 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: consider what candidates you would look at


Carlsen v Mamedyarov, Norway 13/6/19



Magnus played 1 ef. I wonder if he considered the magnificent 1 Nf7!?!?


I recently read Matthew Sadler’s excellent book “Study Chess with Matthew Sadler”. In one chapter, he identifies three types of thinking: Active, Reactive and Prophylactic.

Using reactive thinking- looking at what you don’t want to happen; or maybe prophylactic- preventing the opponent’s idea might lead top players to identify 1 Nf7!?!?’ but I doubt I would ever notice it, or, if I did, I would reject it at a glance.

But consider: Black threatens fg, so the Knight likely needs to move, And the Qf3 looks at the Ra8, so the Rf8 is tied.

After 1…Ke7 2 Rfb1 Qd8 (2…Qc7 3 Rc7) 3 Rb7


we see the next motif: geometry. The R, N and K are on the same rank, so the N is pinned.

3…Kg8 4 Qc6 is then a double attack on the Rd7 and Pe6, so White regains the N. My engines, of course, assesses the resultant position as three zeroes.

If instead 1…fe then 2 Rfb1 Qx7 3 Rb7 Qc8 4 Rc1 Qe8 and again three zeroes.

There are more lines, and 1 Nf7 doesn’t win the game, but it wins the inspirational prize.



r4rkb/p2n3p/1q2pppP/4P1N1/3P4/4BQ2/5PK1/R4R2 w – – 0 1


From → Chess

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