Chess Puzzle of the Week (145): Solution

Last week I asked you what you’d play for White in this position.

This is a possible variation from the game Bridle – Bogoljubov (Flensburg 1947). I was analysing this game for an article about the little-known Dorset and Wimbledon player Cliff Bridle when the computer came up with an extraordinary concept. I wanted to see if you could find it.

In this classic example of a position where bishops of opposite colour favour the attacker, Black’s QR and QB are out of the game, but he’s threatening to consolidate with Re8. White only has one winning move, and it’s pretty remarkable.

29. Be7!!

This ‘quiet sacrifice’ has elements of both clearance and interference: clearing the h2-b8 diagonal for the queen and interfering with Black’s potential control of the e-file.

Look first of all at what happens if Black captures:

29… Kxe7

30. Qc7!!

Also good was 30. Re1+ Kd8 31. Qd6, but this is stronger and cleaner. The main threats are Re1+ and f6+ followed by Qxd7+. Black has no defence.

Black has another important defensive try:

29… Re8

30. Qd6!!

Again, the only winning move, threatening Qf6# amongst many other things. Something else you had to see before committing yourself to Be7.

30… Rxe7

31. f6! with Qxd7+ to follow after the rook moves.

An amazingly beautiful concept, and, I suspect, very hard for most humans to find. At one level, chess is very much about aesthetics, and judicious use of engines can help us discover more of the beauty of our wonderful game.

For more about this game, and more about Cliff Bridle, the unknown who won a brilliancy against a former world championship candidate, do please read my article. While you’re there check out my other Minor Pieces about little known chess players of the past.