Chess Puzzle of the Week (136): Solution

On this day in 1858 (perhaps I should present themed anniversary puzzles every week) Howard Staunton and John Owen reached this position against Paul Morphy and Thomas Wilson Barnes. The White team are faced with the double threat of Rxb8 and Bxe2. Do they have a way out?

The game continued 27. Qh2? Bxe2 28. Rd7 Qh6!, when the Black allies maintained their extra piece, winning a few moves later.

There was a draw for the taking, though.

27. Qf4! prevents Qh6 and should lead to a peaceful conclusion after 27… Bxe2 28. Rd7.

The main point, which you had to see to gain full credit, is that if Black tries to keep the bishop with 28… Be7, White can force a perpetual check by continuing 29. Ne6 Qf6 30. Rxe7! Qxe7 31. Qe5+ Rg7 32. Qb8+ Rg8 33. Qe5+.

Alternatively, 28… Qxb2 29. Qxh4 Qa1+ 30. Kh2 Qe5+ 31. Kg1 and this time it’s Black who has to take the perpetual check.