Thursday, 25 March 2010

Chess Puzzle

Hello everybody,

This puzzle is also from one of my games - but I happy to use other peoples games if you have a nice tactic to show off. In fact, the position is from my last game, part of the key Wigston 2 v Heathcote Arms 1 match. The match was going to be very close, with 2 games already agreed a drawn by the time this position appeared on the board:

[ Mike Cowley (148) v Phil Watkinson (143)]  [Black to play and win]

I had been playing sharply, and up to now Mike had not been able to castle. The thing about playing sharply is that you must continue to play sharply until you have achieved a winning game. The loss of initiative in these knife-edge positions can easily lead to a lost game.

A win for Black would mean a won or drawn match for the 2nd team, securing their place in the Division 1, and more importantly probably giving the 1st team the Division 1 Championship. No pressure, then.

Black to play and win. To get the best out of this puzzle, you need not only to spot the first move, but to treat as a calculation exercise, and see how much of the variations you can find. There are two main variations, one of which is quite forcing so you could probably get quite far.

Have fun,