Virtual Chess Openings

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Chess to Enjoy

Problem I.

1. b6! queens after 1 axb6 2. a7 or 1 Bb8 2. Kb5 (threat of Kc6-b7, also 2. c6 axb6 3. c7 wins) 2. ... Kd7 3. c6+ Kc8 4. c7 in view of 4 Bxc7 5. bxa7.

Problem II.

1. Bg5! Rg4 2. Rxd8+! Kxd8 3. f7+ and White will win soon—but not 2. f7?? Rxg5+! 3. Kxg5 Ne6+. Problem III.

1. e7! Bxe7 2. Qb8+ mates (2 Kg7 3. Qg8 mate or 2 Bf8/2 Qf8 3. Bxf6+!). Problem IV.

1 Qd5+! and now 2. Kf1 Qh1+ or 2. Kf2 Qc5+ are easy and 2. Kh3 Kg6! sets up ... g4+ and mates. Problem V.

1. Rxf7+! Bxf7 2. Rxd6+! in view of 2 Kxd6 3. Qxd8+ mate or 2 Kc7 3. Qxd8+ and mates. Problem VI.

1. Rxg7+! Kxg7 2. Qh6+ Kf7 3. Qh7+ Kf6 4. dxe5+ Kxe5 and now 5. f4+ is good enough to win. But 5. Qg7+! mates (5 Kxf5 6. Qg6+ Ke5 7. f4+ Kd4 8. Be3 mate).

What's The Best Move?

1. C. GM Sergey Karjakin-GM Evgeny Alekseev, World Chess Cup, Russia 2008.

A. White can win routinely by 1. Bxc4 Bxc4 2. Ne4 Qxe5 3. Nf6+ Kh8 4. Qxe5 Rxe5 5. Nd7.

C. White won with the elegant 1. Nd5!! Qxd5 (if 1 Bxd5 2. Qf6) 2. Bxc4 Qxc4 3. Qf6 and Qg7 mate. Named in honor of Anton Novotny (1829-1871) this theme seldom occurs in real games.

2. A. Composed in 1858 by Joseph Plachutta (1828-1883).

A. The only way to mate in three is 1. Rg7!! (threatens Qg3 and/or Bc7 mate). If 1 Rgxg7 2. Bc7+! Rxc7 3. Qg3. Or 1 Rhxg7 2. Qg3+! Rxg3 3. Bc7. Even quicker is 1 Bxg7 2. Bc7 mate.

B. Mate takes longer after 1. Qxf6+ Kd6 2. Qd4+ Kc6 3. Qxc5+ Kb7 4. Rb1+ Ka8 5. Qc6+ Ka7 6. Qa4 mate.

C. Black can delay his doom after 1. Kxc5 Be7+ 2. Bxe7 Rc8+.

3. A. This mate-in-3 was composed by Novotny in 1854 and is considered the debut of his famed interference theme.

A. The only solution is 1. Rf5! (threatens Rf4). If 1. ... Rf8 2. Bf6!! Rxf6 (also doomed is 2 Bxf6 3. Rf4) 3. Re5 mate. Or 1. Rf5! Bxf5 2. Nf7! Rxh4 3. Nd6 mate.

B. If 1. Nf5? Nxb5 foils the threat of 2. Nd6 mate.

C. Equally inadequate is 1. Nf7? Nxb5 2. N7g5+ Kf5.

4. B. Emanuel Berg - Jurij Zezulkin, Poland 2000.

A. After 1. Qe6? White somehow managed to draw despite a two pawn deficit.

B. White missed a mate via the Novotny theme: 1. Nf6!! (threatens Rg8 or Qxh7). If 1 Rxf6 2. Qg7 mate. Or 1 Bxf6 2. Qf8 mate.

C. Black's extra material will triumph after 1. Qxf4? Bxf4.

Endgame Lab - Benko's Bafflers

Problem I.


White only draws with 1. Kf7 Ke5 2. Ke7 Kd5 3. Kd8 Kc6 4. a7 Na8 5. Kc8 Nb6.

I Nd5+ 2. Kf7 Ke5 3. a7 Nc7 4. Ke7 Kd5 5. Kd7 Na8 6. Kc8 Kc6 7. Kb8 Nc7

White decoys the defender after 7 Nb6 8. Nc4. 8. Nc2 Na6+ 9. Kc8 Nc710. Nb4+ Kb6

No better is 10 Kd611. Kb7 Kd7 12. Nd5 Na8 13. Nb6+.

It is drawn after 1. Kf6 Nd5+ 2. Kf7 Ke5 3. a7 Nb6 4. Ke8 Kd6 5. Kd8 Kc6 6. Na5+ Kb5. 1 Ke5 2. Ke7 Nc8+

The pawn promotes after 2 Kd5 3. Kd8 Kc6 4. Nd4+ Kc5 5. Kc7 Nc8 6. Kb7 (6. Kxc8 Kb6 draws) 6 Nd6+ 7. Kb8.

3. Kd7 Na7 4. Kc7 Kd5 5. Nd2 Nb5+ 6. Kb6 Nd6 7. Nb1 Nc8+ 8. Kb7 Nd6+ 9. Kc7 Nb5+10. Kb6 Kc411. Na3+ queens. Problem II.

1. a4 Ka2 2. a5 Ka3 3. Rb1!! Ka4 4. Kb6 Re6+ 5. Kc5 Re5+ 6. Kd4! Re6 7. Rb6! Re1 8. a6 Ka5

Rb7 (12. Rb1) 12 Ka5 13. Kc6 Ka6 14. Rb1 Rc8+ 15. Kd7 Ra8 16. Kc7 e5 17. Rb6+ Kxa7 18. Rb3 wins.

White has the upper hand after 6. ... Rc4+ 7. Kb6+-7. Ra6+!

There is no edge after 8. b6? Rc4+ 9. Kb5 Rb4+ 10. Kc6 Rc4+ 11. Kd7 Rb4 12. Kxe7 Kc4 13. Kd7 Kb5. 8 Rc4+ 9. Kd5! wins.

9. Kb6? e5! 10. Re1 e4 11. Ka5 Ra4+12. Kb6 Rc4 is even.

Solitaire Chess - ABCs of Chess

Problem I.

Trapping: After 1 Bc4, White must jettison the c2-bishop to save the queen. Problem II.

Trapping: White's bishop is lost after 1 a4. There's simply no safe place to go.

Problem III.

Driving off: White loses the queen after 1 Bxe3+, when 2. Qxe3 is met by the deflecting 2 Nh3+.

Problem IV.

Discovery/Simplification: Black clears the board with 1 Bxc2+, when 2. Ke1 Bxd1 3. Kxd1 Rf1+ 4. Kc2 Rxb1 5. Kxb1 h5 soon queens. Problem V.

Desperado: Since Black's queen is lost anyway, he gives it up to win the b8-bishop and the f1-rook: 1 Qxf1+ 2. Kxf1 Rxb8, and White has a lost position, the Exchange down. Problem VI.

Mating net: Black has a forced win: 1 Be4+ 2. Kg1 Bxe3 mate.

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