Checkmate in 2

A challenging puzzle, testing your patience and spirit of observation. Please email me your solutions or post them as comments. You need to have a website account to be able to post comments.

[Event "Study by Alberto Armeni"][Date "1981.??.??"][Result "1-0"][FEN "8/2P1pR2/1KPk4/2N1r3/2P3b1/8/7B/8 w - - 0 1"]

BCYCC 2017

This year's BCYCC was much better attended by our students. Seven of them decided to play: Eric, Yakov, Shya, Benjamin, Cody, Lyvia and Jalen; after two days of competitive games, 4 of them managed to qualify for CYCC. The qualification conditions were linked directly to the number of points scored in each section and the number of games played. Our successful students were:
Eric Shan 3.0/ 5 games - boys U10
Lyvia Shan 3.0/ 5 games - tied for 3rd place girls U12
Cody Ruan 2.5/ 5 games - boys U12
Jalen Huang 2.0/ 4 games - boys U14

Congratulations! Eric was playing in his first major tournament. Lyvia improved considerably from her first participation last year and managed to get a trophy for finishing tied for 3rd. Cody and Jalen played solid, proving they can hold their own if they decide to play in more junior tournaments.

Each of the four qualifiers accepted to share a moment from their favorite game played. The analysis is their own. You can access each selection by choosing it from the pull down menu above the diagram. Hope you like them!

[Event "BCYCC 2017"][Date "2017.03.26"][Round "4"][White "Shan, Eric"][Black "Sun, Sam"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r3k2r/2p2ppp/p3b3/8/1q1P4/5Q2/PPP2PPP/R1B1R1K1 w kq - 0 1"]{Black wanted me to take both rooks and then checkmate me. I had a nice trick ready for him} 1. Qxa8+ Ke7 (1... Kd7 2. Qe4 {Here I would be up a rook}) 2. Bg5+! {Now my Re1 is defended and I can take on h8} 2...f6 3. Qxh8 1-0<br />
[Event "BCYCC 2017"][Date "2017.03.26"][Round "5"][White "Shan, Lyvia"][Black "Kelman, Samantha"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "8/8/p7/k7/1pQ5/6P1/PP3P2/2R3K1 w - - 1 45"]{Here my opponent was hoping for a stalemate} 45. Qc5+ Ka4 46. Qc6+ Ka5 47. Rc5# 1-0<br />
[Event "BCYCC 2017"][Date "2017.03.26"][Round "3"][White "Fan, Elaine"][Black "Ruan, Cody"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "1r6/5pk1/6p1/7p/3pP3/1pq4P/1R3PPK/1Q6 b - - 0 1"]{I think black is better. Material: black is up a pawn. Kings: both safe. Center: white has more control of the center than black. Piece positioning: White: - queen and rook attacking the passed b-pawn; - king near the corner; - down a pawn. Black: - up a pawn; - Queen supporting the passed b- and d-pawn; - pawn chain; - rook supporting the passed b-pawn. The winning combination:} 1... d3 {Advancing the passed pawn} 2. Kg1 {Trying to come over and stop the passer} 2... d2 {Too late} 3. Kf1 Qc1+ {Now it is all over} 4. Ke2 (4. Qxc1 dxc1=Q+ 5. Ke2 Qxb2+ {Does not change the result}) 4... d1=Q# {A beautiful checkmate} 0-1<br />
[Event "BCYCC 2017"][Date "2017.03.25"][Round "1"][White "Chung, Alec"][Black "Huang, Jalen"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r4rk1/pppq1ppp/3p4/b2Pp3/4P3/P2PB1P1/1P2QPKP/R4R2 w - - 1 15"]15. Rfc1 Rac8 16. Rc2 f5 {Here, I had an attack inside an attack. I acted like I want to weaken his pawn structure, but I was really threatening f5-f4, attacking the bishop. If the bishop moved away then I would play f3+ and fork the king and queen} 17. Rac1? {Does not see the attack inside the attack} 17... f4 18. Bxf4 exf4 19. gxf4 Rxf4 {Even after having a bishop for a pawn, it was still hard to win. It was very hard to exchange without losing material but in the end, I had a bishop and pawn versus 2 pawns}

A A Troitzky - In Memoriam

Alexey Alexeyevich Troitzky (March 14, 1866 – August 14, 1942) is one of the main founders of modern study composition, defining its principles in 1910. He is the first one to solve the “2 Knights versus pawn” endgame back in 1906, inventing the Troitzky winning line in the process. Later on in 1924 he published his classic book “500 endgame studies”; some historians says he composed more than 1,000 studies. He was blessed with an extraordinary chess mind, composing unbelievable game like positions for anyone’s enjoyment. Unfortunately, he died of starvation in WWII during the siege of Leningrad in 1942; in the same time, all his papers and notebooks were destroyed. We are truly lucky his published books survived and could be enjoyed by latter generations.

It is hard to choose a favorite from the studies he published. His positions and solutions are so deep and rich in content, they really "Wow" you time and time again. One of them for my liking is this present one; white sacrifices its Rook 6 times in a row until black cannot refuse it anymore. Any capture leads to a decisive fork and in the end black has no choice. Hope you will enjoy it!

[Event "Deutsche Schachzeitung"][Date "1910"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "8/1qp1k3/p4p2/3PN3/3RP3/8/PP3Pn1/6K1 w - - 0 1"]1. Rb4 Qc8 (1... Qxb4 2. Nc6+) 2. Rb8 Qh3 (2... Qxb8 3. Nc6+) 3. Rh8 Nh4 (3... Qxh8 4. Ng6+ Ke8 5. Nxh8 Nf4 {this is probably the most challenging line found by the engines today}) 4. Rxh4 Qc8 (4... Qxh4 5. Ng6+) 5. Rh8 Qb7 (5... Qxh8 6. Ng6+ Kf7 7. Nxh8+ Kg7 {the King and pawns endgame is won by white}) 6. Rb8 ({Another nice finish also found by the engines today} 6. Nc6+ Kd6 7. b4 {threatens Rh8-d8# so black must sacrifice its Queen}) 6... Qxb8 7. Nc6+

Snatching a victory

White has a very direct Rh7-h8# threat and black's most obvious defences are not satisfactory:
a) 1... Ke8 2. dxc4 ...
b) 1... Re2+ 2. Kxe2 Qe7+ 3. Qxe7+ Kxe7 4. dxc4 ...
Desperate times require desperate measures and black figures out a spectacular way to snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat. Hope you will enjoy replaying the winning combination!

[Event "Baku Open 2016"][Date "2016.09.26"][White "Mamedjarova, Turkan"][Black "Karayev, Kanan"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r4k2/ppq2p1R/5Q2/7p/2bp1p2/3P4/PPP2KPP/4r3 b - - 0 1"]1...Rf1+!! {Forces the white King onto a white square; Rh7 is on a white square!} 2.Kxf1 Bxd3+ 3.cxd3 Qc1+ 4.Kf2 Qd2+ 5.Kf1 Qxd3+ 6.Kf2 Qxh7 {the dust has settled and now black is crushing white}