FIFA World Cup 2010 goes on with more drama. Brazil lost after an excellent first half, followed by a poor second half, while Ghana could not convert the chance they got at the end of the match. This just shows that nerves of steel are needed to win games; also in set positions (such as penalty kicks) repetition until it becomes second nature can overcome the emotions when stakes are at the highest. One more reason to continue solving puzzles over and over again, no matter how simple or easy they seem. A penalty kick looks like a sure goal; still players are missing them!
It is your turn now, even if the stakes are not as high; however the players involved in this position are World class. Please practice to make it perfect:
a) Analise the position for both sides;
b) White to move and get the best out of this situation
Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #125.
Puzzle #123 solution:
Canada Day and the end of the school year has probably stopped most of you from solving this brilliant puzzle. It has remain in history as a highly entertaining and educative one after been made public by Ponziani in 1782. Remember there was no endgame theory at the time and chess books were as rare as flights to the Moon. Still I am proud of all 4 solvers who did their best to work out the best solution; to my total surprise this included some very nice alternate winning lines, showing that you guys know a lot more and can do much better than your results are showing so far. Following are the best answers of the week.
Owen's alternate and faster solution:
"1.Kb8 Rb2+ 2.Kc8 Ra2 3.Rc7+ Kd5 4.Kb8 Rb2+ 5.Rb7 Ra2 6.a8=Q Rxa8+ 7.Kxa8 ... wins"
Rick's alternate solution, followed by the complete one:
"This puzzle is quite hard because Black can give annoying Rook checks whenever the King is exposed. In order to promote the pawn, White needs to find some shelter for his King. Unfortunately, it won't be easy...
1.Kb8 Rb2+ 2.Kc8 Ra2 3.Rg6+ Kc5
1... Kb5 loses to 2.Kb7 ... and 1... Kd5 is met with 2.Kb7 Rb2+ 3.Rb6 ... wins
4.Kb7 Rb2+ 5.Kc7 Ra2
This is almost the exact same position from the end of move 2. The only difference is that White's Rook and both Kings moved down one square. Interesting, huh?
Now 6... Kb4 allows 7.Kb7 ... wins and 6... Kd4 fails to 7.Kb6 ... (threatening 8.Ra5) 7... Rb2+ 8.Rb5 Ra2 9.Kb7 ... wins
7.Kb6 Rb2+ 8.Kc6 Ra2
Once again, the Kings and White Rook move down a square. Do you notice the pattern here?
If 9... Kb3 then 10.Kb7 ... wins and 9... Kd3 is countered with the main line anyways.
10.Kb6 ... Threatening Rg5 followed by Ra5.
ALTERNATE SOLUTION: 11.Ka5 Ra2+ 12.Ra4! ... wins
By building a bridge, White will soon get another Queen, therefore winning the game. The reason White needed to push Black's King down the board is because you can only build a bridge on the fourth rank. This is one of the longest puzzles I've ever done!
REAL SOLUTION: 11.Kc5 Ra2 12.Rg3+ Kc2 13.Rg2+ Kb3 14.Rxa2 ... wins
I have to admit this is much more original with the Kings and White Rook moving down one square every 3 moves."
Excellent answers guys!
Rick, Owen - 50 points
Andy Y - 35 points
Frank - 20 points
Owen - 482 points
Andy Y - 462 points
Karl - 410 points
Edwin - 375 points
Jeffrey - 305 points
Alex - 247 points
James - 231 points
Andy Q - 214 points
Humphrey - 180 points
Nathaniel - 150 points
Rick - 142 points
Amir - 103 points
Frank - 85 points
Marko - 10 points
Convert your chance