Puzzle of the week #174

Submitted by Eugen on Mon, 11/21/2011 - 23:06

King left in the center (2)

Chess Diagram
[Event "Puzzle #174"][Date "2011.11.21"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r1b1kb1r/pp3p1p/4p1p1/2PpqnB1/6Q1/3B4/PPP2PPP/RN3RK1 w kq - 0 1"]
This is another position reached by playing the French advanced even if it is not so easy to tell. White has followed a simple plan in the opening: develop as fast as possible. Black meantime has followed the well known idea of blowing up White's center. Each side has given up something to reach their goal so far, so it is time to stop for a minute and think. Your tasks:
a) Considering all positives and negatives, which side had a better plan?
b) What is the best White can do now after losing his pawn center? Show a line to prove it

Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #175.

Puzzle #173 solution:
Game: Estrin - Poliansky, Russia, 1946. I have two solutions to share with you all this time around. They come from Philip and Harmony.
a) Looking carefully at the position name the most possible opening they have played: French defense, advance variation.
b) Analyze the position and explain why Black's last move 1... Nxd4 is a bold move; it is because Black’s King isn’t that safe and Black’s Queen could get trapped if he doesn’t play correctly.
c) See the solution below

b) Nxd4 is definitely a bold and questionable move. Below are some reasons:
1. In French defense, the King is usually quite safe in the middle and there is no need to castle very early. By doing the Queen side castle Black exposes its King to c-file and relies on its Knight to block the check from White. The King is not safe at this moment and the Knight should not move away until the King moves inside. Even after Kb8 Black still has problems and should not rush taking on d4. Usually the Black Knight might just remain there while Black launches its King side attack.
2. The Black Queen is in a quite exposed position and may be attacked fiercely and even find no way to retreat. Black should always keep this in mind.

[Event "Puzzle #173"][Date "2011.11.15"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "2kr3r/pp1b1pb1/1q2p1pn/3pP2p/1P1n1B1P/P1NB1NQ1/5PP1/R3R1K1 w - - 0 1"]1.Nxd4 Qxd4 2.Ne2 Qb6 3.Rec1+ Kb8 4.Be3 {Black must give up a piece to save its Queen} 4...Nf5 5.Bxf5 Qa6 6.Bd3 Bb5 7.Bxb5 Qxb5 8.Nd4 {White wins}

Correct solutions:
Philip - 23 points
Harmony, Ziyao - 20 points
Leroy, Alex - 18 points
Leo, James - 15 points
Daniel, Derrick - 13 points

Daniel - 14 poins for puzzle #172

Philip - 59 points
Ziyao - 56 points
Harmony - 54 points
James - 49 points
Alex - 42 points
Leo - 41 points
Daniel - 39 points
Derrick - 35 points
Leroy - 26 points
Frank - 14 points