Chess Puzzle of the Week (227): Solution

On Monday I left you with this position with White to move, taken from the game Jelen – Larsen (Vidmar Memorial 1977), one of the most remarkable I’ve seen. The black monarch has bravely ventured up the board into the teeth of the white army.

Jelen could have gained a winning position against the Great Dane had he found 34. Qd8! (one idea is 34… Qxf7 35. h3+ Kf5 36. Qd3+), but over the board, with the time control (move 40) approaching, it’s not so easy. Did you manage to find the winning move?

Instead he continued with the imaginative but sub-optimal 34. Rxd2!? Rxd2 35. f3+ Kh3 36. Qc8!+ Qg4! 37. Ng5+! Rxg5 38. fxg4 Rg2+ 39. Kh1 Rc5 when 40. Qd7 or Qe6 would have drawn, but, with his flag probably about to fall, he understandably erred with 40. Qd8?, after which, although he was a queen for a rook up, he was losing.

An extraordinary conclusion: I’m grateful to Yasser Seirawan and Bruce Harper for reminding me of it in their book Kingwalks: Paths of Glory (Russell Enterprises Inc.): my review of this book will be published shortly on British Chess News.

Here’s the complete game: click on any move for a pop-up window.