Puzzle of the week #155

Submitted by Eugen on Sat, 03/12/2011 - 11:07

Endgame intuition (2)

Chess Diagram
[Event "Puzzle #155"][Date "2011.03.12"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "4r1k1/8/3R1Qpp/2p5/2P1p1q1/P3P3/1P2PK2/8 b - - 0 1"]1...Rf8 ({Saving the g6-pawn is not a very good option; see what happens after} 1...g5??) (1...h5 2.Qxg6+ Qxg6 3.Rxg6+ Kh7 4.Rc6 Re5 {We have a Rook and pawns endgame}) 2.Rd8 Rxd8 3.Qxd8+ {White will bother the Black King with checks quite a lot}
As long as there are heavy pieces (Queens and Rooks) on the board, the opposing Kings must be protected. This is valid in the endgame too when on top of this you need to make sure the position is in your favour in case those Queens and Rooks get exchanged. The same applies in this case and you must choose carefully what to do. Of course it is important to know who's turn is to move: it is Black's turn. Options:
a) Of course the first one coming to mind is 1... Rf8; see line
b) Saving the g6-pawn is not a very good option; see what happens after 1... g5??
c) Pushing the other one of the passed Black pawns 1... h5; see line
What is the best choice for Black?
Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #156.

Puzzle #154 solution:
Game Nepomniachtchi - Chernyshov, Irkutsk 2010. Line "c" happened in the game. The best answer came from Harmony, showing a good understanding of the position. Her analysis for option "a" was not the best, but nobody else did better on it anyway. For Harmony's answer see solution below:
[Event "Puzzle #154"][Date "2011.03.07"][Result "0-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r3k2r/pp1q1ppp/1bpp1nn1/4p1B1/2N1P3/1QPP1N1P/PP3PP1/R4RK1 b kq - 0 1"]1...Qc7 {Solution} (1...Bc5 {Solution} 2.Bxf6 gxf6 3.d4 Bb6) (1...Bd8 {Solution} 2.Qxb7 Qxb7 3.Nxd6+ Kd7 4.Nxb7 {White wins two pawns}) ({Harmony} 1...Nh5 {However, for small kids like Harmony, a pawn doesn’t mean really a lot at the opening stage. I always ask her to focus on attacking instead of protecting a pawn} 2.Nxb6 axb6 3.Qxb6 Nhf4 {Black sacrificed one pawn to get a well positioned Knight on f4. Ra8 has a semi-open file}) 2.a4 d5 {The pawn is saved at the expense of others; play could continue like this} 3.exd5 {Opens up the center where the Black King is} 3...cxd5 (3...Nxd5 4.a5 Bc5 5.d4 Bd6 6.dxe5 {Opening the position gives White excellent chances to win material}) 4.Qb5+ {One of the central Black pawns falls}

Correct solutions:
Harmony - 15 points
Philip, Leo, Derrick - 10 points
James - 8 points
Alex, Daniel, Kevin, Ziyao, Leroy - 5 points

Ziyao - 147 points
Harmony - 133 points
Alex - 118 points
James - 113 points
Leo - 97 points
Philip - 91 points
Jeffrey - 72 points
Derrick - 70 points
Leroy - 68 points
Kevin - 34 point
Frank - 33 points
Danny - 19 points
Daniel - 17 points
Karl - 13 points