Puzzle of the week #165

Submitted by Eugen on Sat, 05/21/2011 - 23:47

Zugzwang (1)

Chess Diagram
[Event "Puzzle #165"][Date "2011.05.21"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "7k/4K1p1/6Pp/5N1P/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"]
This past Thursday we have talked about zugzwang. You can find a definition for it (a bit harder to understand) here on the website under "Glossary". What we said in class is the word comes from the German language and basically means a position where no matter what the player moves, it will lose. Now this sounds pretty cool to achieve (believe me I thought the same thing when I was a junior), when in reality it is very hard to get there. This week's position is a perfect example for it; your task:
a) White to move and win
Let's see how easy or hard you will find it. Total available points for this puzzle is 10. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #166.

Puzzle #164 solution:
Zgurev - Mecikarov, Sofia 1949. I got quite a few answers, some showing a lot of inventive solutions; congratulations for looking at ways to win! It means you understood the next step after your pieces reach their best position is the final assault on the opponent's position. Out of all solvers James was the most precise from the first try:
a) Material: The material is even right now.
King Safety: The White King is safer since the Black King is attacked by so many pieces.
Centre: White has the centre controlled with the Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen, and the c- and f-pawn.
White: White's pieces are really active, especially the Rook. It's on an open file and also on the seventh rank. The Queen and the Bishop are controlling the centre. The Knight plays a key role to attack the King.
Black: The Rook and Bishops are basically defending, but not doing anything on attacking. The Queen only attacks the pawns on the Queen-side.
b) White: White should attack the king since the main pieces are at ideal positions and there are not many defenders.
Black: Black should find a way to save its King first.

[Event "Puzzle #164"][Date "2011.05.15"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "2b2rk1/pp2R1bp/1qpp2p1/6N1/2P2PP1/3Q1B2/PP4PK/8 w - - 0 1"]1.Bd5+ cxd5 (1...Kh8 2.Qc3!! Bxc3 3.Rxh7#) 2.Qxd5+ Kh8 3.Nf7+ Kg8 4.Nh6+ Kh8 5.Qg8+ Rxg8 6.Nf7#

Correct solutions:
James - 25 points
Philip - 24 points
Leo, Daniel, Harmony, Ziyao - 23 points
Frank - 20 points
Derrick - 18 points
Leroy - 12 points

Ziyao - 349 points
Harmony - 345 points
James - 311 points
Philip - 302 points
Alex - 258 points
Leo - 243 points
Derrick - 200 points
Leroy - 178 points
Daniel - 175 points
Jeffrey - 158 points
Frank - 134 points
Kevin - 92 points
Eric - 29 points
Danny - 19 points
Karl - 13 points