Chess Puzzle of the Week (95): Solution

Last week’s puzzle was taken from In The Zone, a new book by the prolific Cyrus Lakdawala: you can read my review here.

This is taken from a game between Edmar Mednis and Bobby Fischer, played in the first round of the 1963-64 US Championship.

Mednis has a strong passed pawn and could have won here by playing 24. Rd5 Rxe7 25. dxe7 Nc6 26. Nd6 Nxe7 27. Nxc8, with two rooks and a knight against Fischer’s queen. Instead he traded queens with 24. Qg5, exactly the sort of pathetic move I would have played. Bobby eventually rounded up the d-pawn and won the ending – followed by his next ten games, finishing the tournament with an unprecedented 100% score.

If he’d lost this game, as he should have done, chess history might have been very different.

Many thanks to all who analysed and commented on Facebook – including two IMs!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (94): Solution

Last week I left you with this position from the Four Knights Game.

Black has several reasonable moves here: 8… Be7 is most natural and the engine choice, but a6, for example, would also be fine.

But 8… d6, which looks plausible, would be a fatal error after 9. Nc6 bxc6 10. Qxc6+ Bd7 11. Nxc7+ Ke7 12. Re1+ Be6 13. Nxa8

Very easy to miss over the board.

This was a position from the lichess.org tactics trainer: in an online game Black played d6 and White missed the refutation.

Not so hard to solve, though, if you know there’s something there.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (93): Solution

Last week I left you with this Mate in 4 composed by Fritz Giegold.

Giegold’s problems offer a very attrative introduction to the world of chess composition. If you see his name above the diagram you should always start by looking at the most improbable move.

This one solves by 1. Qg2! (threat Qxf3#) 1… fxg2 2. Rg3! (threat Rc3#) and, however Black captures, White has 3. Ng8 and 4. Ne7#.

Well done if you managed to solve this without computer assistance.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (92): Solution

I left you with this position last week. This was from my game against Maks from our lichess tournament of 4 August.

I missed the opportunity to sacrifice my queen and force mate in 10 moves:

25… Qxg5+ 26. fxg5 Rg4+ 27. Kf3 Rh3+ 28. Qg3 Rhxg3+ 29. Kf2 Rg2+ 30. Kf3 R4g3+ 31. Kf4 Rh3 32. e6 f6 33. gxf6+ Kxf6 34. e7 g5#

Instead, the game continued:

25…d4 26. cxd4 Rxd4 27. Be3 and now the same queen sacrifice would have been mate in 6 moves:

27… Qxg5+ 28. fxg5 Rg4+ 29. Kf3 Rh3+ 30. Qg3 Rhxg3+ 31. Kf2 Rg2+ 32. Kf3 Bb7#

As it happened, no harm was done: the game concluded quickly:

27… Rd3 28. Rh1 (e6 was the best try) 28… Qd4 29. Rae1 Rxh1 and Maks resigned.

Should I have seen the sacrifices? It’s, I think, forgivable to miss this sort of thing in a quick game, but, in a slowplay game I should (but probably wouldn’t) have taken the opportunity. You really only have to see that you’re regaining the queen in order to play the combination.