Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Answer to Chess Puzzle No.1

Hi, there,

Remember that the puzzle was to discover the flaw in the analysis from this position:

[White to play]. It seems that mate was unavoidable after 19. f4, kicking the knight away and then play 20. Nc6+ bxc6 21. Qxc6! However, after 19. f4 Ng4! 20. Nc6+ bxc6 21. Qxc6 we have this position:

[Black to play] And there should be alarm bells ringing in your mind, because of the Queen check on e3 and also the placement of the black queen and knight should remind you of a classic mating pattern:

21. ... Qe3+ 22. Kh1 Nf2+ 23. Kg1 Nh3+ (double check) 24. Kh1 Qg1+! 25. Rxg1 Nf2 mate.

And instead of White who is giving mate - it's White who has been mated. Ooops!
If you saw that, then well done. Luckily, I did too when playing the game; otherwise my answer to Andy Morley's enquiry when he saw the above position in the post match analysis: "Did that happen?" would probably have had to be a sheepish "yes".
So, instead of 19. f4, in the original position, what would have been a better move? Award yourself bonus points for 19. Na5! which is really threatening Nc6+ and also the b7 pawn.

The next puzzle - Walter's bombshell move in his game against John Robinson - is well worth keeping an eye out for.