Chess Puzzle of the Week (188): Solution

Mongredien – Ward
City of London CC Championship 1908
Black to play

This game continued 15… Bxh3 16. Kxh3 Qe6+ 17. Kh2 Ng4! 18. Kh1 Nxf2+ 19. Rxf2 Bxf2 20. Qf3 (to prevent Qh3#) 20… Bxh4 and Black soon won.

Very nice, too, but there’s a big problem with this.

I wonder how many of you were, like William Ward, tempted into playing 15… Bxh3??, overlooking, as both players did in the game, that 16. Qf3! would have tuned the tables, winning two minor pieces for a rook.

Black’s best continuation would have been 15… Qd7! (not Qe6, which will meet a future Bc4) 16. Qf3 Nh7! followed by Ng5, leaving Black with the two bishops and a better pawn formation.

To gain full credit you had to find this variation as well as the refutation of 15… Bxh3. If you wanted to play this unsound sacrifice, go to the bottom of the class!