Thursday, March 29, 2007

New Knight and new puzzle

Another new Knight has begun his journey toward tactical monstrosity. Let's welcome and sidebar Rise and Shine. Check out his solutions manual to the concentric squares exercises. That could be useful to read while on lunch breaks.

Here is another nice problem from Phase 4 of CTB (white to move):I give the solution in the next paragraph. I like this problem because it really forces you to hone your counting skills.

The solution is 1. b8=Q Nxb8 2. Qc7+ Nd7 [or something else to get out of check] 3. Qxh2. You might think, hey but you just took a rook for a pawn when you could have effectively traded a knight for a queen with 1. Qxd7+ Kxd7 2. b8=Q (this is what I tried on my first attempt!). However, this "obvious" move is actually materially weaker if you count the material before and after both trades (for the correct move you go from being a pawn down to being three up, for the second you end up only one pawn up!). This initially seemed almost magical to me, showing that I have some kind of cognitive blinder blocking my vision of the truth in this exchange. Also note that the incorrect move leads you to a drawn endgame where the black rook protects the base of the pawn chain and the pawns protect the rook, whereas the correct move leads to a fairly easy win.

I'm sure there is even more to the position than I appreciate, but even with my limited chess knowledge I think this is a beautiful problem.


Blogger BlunderProne said...

These problems are always very subtle and riddled with nuances.

I see black has 3 connected passed pawns and a rook which could be amble compensation for the queen. If the knight and other pawn were off the board, White would actually have a harder time winning. A perpetual check draw may be the only hope as Black can slowly advnace the massive pawn chain.

After the Qxh2 move in the solution, White should still work on neutralizing the pawns on the king side so he can bring the king in to help the queen win. Everytime he moves the king and not threaten Black with a check, Balck brings the pawns closer and closer to the first rank.

You ought to check out my last post on the subtlies of the Lucena position.


3/30/2007 06:43:00 PM  

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