Did this really happen?
When I looked at the position, I immediately pulled out my endgame book and started reading the chapter on Rook vs Knight with unequal pawns on the board. I found 9 sample puzzles nicely balanced between real games and chess composition with some famous players being involved: Fine, Reshevski, Alekhine, Botvinnik and the Platov brothers. All were showing how difficult it is for the Knight to hold the position together, but there were special situations when it could; unfortunately this position was not one of them. Then I stopped searching and remembered this was from a real game where no book consultation was allowed. Hmm, what should a player do in such position as the first instinct?...
a) Analyse the position;
b) White to move and win.
Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #117.
Puzzle #115 solution:
This has been a puzzle presented on Susan Polgar blog. More than half of you found the correct solution, but only 3 managed to write down a correct analysis and propose good plans. The best answer and also the fastest was sent by Edwin. He wrote:
"In this position here it may seem like Black will win surely because it will promote on the next move, but Black will not.
- Black's one move away from promoting
- Black's King is not in good position
- White is up in material (but after h1=Q black is up material)
- White has a good defence for the King
- White's g2 pawn is useful because sometime after h1=Q, it is blocking it's moves
- White must try to stop Black from promoting
- White must attack now, if it is one move late, it would be totalLY different
- Black should try to prevent checkmate
Most players wouldn't think of playing 1...Kxh5 but this is what would happen if they did: 2.g4+ Kxg4 3.Bc6 ... Black has now even less material to win the game. So back at move 1....h1=Q is the best.
If 2...Kf5 3.Ng3+ ... and captures the Queen. This way white should be able to win. This means that the best move now is:
2...Kh6 3.Ng3 ...
The Queen is harmless to check or checkmate, so the best move for Black is:
It is also the only way to prevent "Nf5#" checkmate.
White gets the Queen and should win easily after this move."
Edwin, Jeffrey, Andy Y - 20 points
Owen - 14 points
Nathaniel - 12 points
Karl - 10 points
Alex - 8 points
James - 6 points
Owen - 303 points
Andy Y - 298 points
Karl - 281 points
Edwin - 256 points
Andy Q - 214 points
Jeffrey - 203 points
Alex - 182 points
Humphrey - 180 points
James - 170 points
Nathaniel - 128 points
Amir - 103 points
Rick - 18 points
Marko - 10 points
Decision time: your way or the highway?