Monday, December 26, 2011

More holiday puzzles

Ottó Bláthy, The Chess Amateur, 1922
White to play and win

NM Adarsh Jayakumar showed me this problem when he was ten years old.  (His teacher, IM Stan Smetankin, had given it to him for homework.)

If you enjoy this problem, Steven Dowd's latest column in Chess Life Online has similar fun stuff!  As you've doubtless already learned from your PlayStation or Xbox, sometimes a king and one other piece can take out an entire army.

1 comment:

Frederick Rhine said...

Took me a while. 1.Kxe1 Qa1 2.h3!! (Since this is a composition, you know that this move, not h4??, must be the solution. The more principled explanation is that White knows that for the rest of the game he will be moving first to a light square, then a dark, then a light, etc., first with his pawn and then with a knight. Neither the pawn nor the knight will be able to gain or lose a tempo, so the choice here between 2.h3 and 2.h4 is critical. White knows that he must set it up so that Black's queen responds by matching the color to which White moves: when White eventually moves Na5 (a dark square), he must ensure that Black has to respond by moving Qa1 (dark square.) Thus 2.h3!!, moving to a light square, to which Black must respond by moving to a light square.) Qa2 3.h4 Qa1 4.h5 Qa2 5.h6 Qa1 6.h7 Qa2 7.h8(N)! Qa1 8.Ng6 Qa2 9.Ne5 Qa1 10.Nd7!! (The second critical moment. Not 10.Nxc4?? - allowing Black to change the parity of the position - Qa2 11.Na5 c4! 12.Nxc4 Qa1 13.Na5 Qa2, drawing.) Qa2 11.Nxc5 Qa1 12.Nb7 Qa2 13.Na5 Qa1 14.Nxc4 Qa2 15.Na5 (zugzwang) Qa1 16.Nxb3#