This past week we went to Tofino for a few days of vacation. I sent a message out to all of you, but I think it did not reach you; my internet provider is giving me trouble lately. Sorry for this! Anyhow this is the reason for delaying present puzzle. I had to choose between waiting until next Thursday to post it, or have an easier one available in the shorter time. I chose the latter and think you will enjoy it! It is very nice once you get around to solve it. Your tasks:
a) Analyse the position;
b) Black to move and win.
Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published on Thursday together with puzzle #131.
Puzzle #129 solution:
Very interesting responses in this case. The reality is a good analysis should have revealed the solution in no time. While three of you were very close, you missed a very simple winning maneuver. It was not easy to choose an answer between the top three. In the end I think Karl has provided the best one, even if I think he had the board setup wrongly; White simply cannot move 1.Rh2 ... or 1.Rb8... right?
Material: White is up 2 points. White has 3 extra pawns, and a Rook for 2 Bishops.
King activity: Both Kings aren't active. The White King is stuck on the edge behind its pawns, while the Black King has to castle to get the Rook out, which means that it will be inactive too.
Position: Black's Rook is a little out of play. Unless Black castles, White is like an extra Rook up in material advantages. Black has one pawn island and no passers, while White has 3 pawn islands, an isolated pawn that can easily be picked off later and 3 passed pawns that can form a pawn chain. White's pawns are definitely better. White has control of an open file and another on the 7th rank. Black, however, has a Rook that could come in play when he castles and 2 very active (placed in very good positions) Bishops.
Conclusion: White has a material advantage and a little bit of a positional advantage. But Black can change that if he castles. White needs to use his time very efficiently or else Black could take advantage of this situation and castle. Then Black might be able to slow down White's pawn charge and start a pawn charge of his own by eliminating the Queenside pawns. White is winning, but Black can make a comeback.
Master plan for White: White should stop Black from castling first and then push the pawns to increase the pressure on Black.
c) Yes, because Black would lose if his Rook wasn't in play. White would simply over power him. The other option is to get the Rook out another way, which can take several moves, which gives White a lot of time to crush black."
Thank you Karl! Now the line you guys should have figured out at the end of such detailed analysis is (big drums roll):
26.Ra7 Bd8 27.Ra8! Ke7 28.Ra7+ Ke8 29.b4! ... Black resigned 1-0
Both puzzles #128 and #129 are from the same game: Ipatov - Shiven, 28th Open d'Andorra 2010
White has forced the King to move while still holding it in the center; now Black can't castle anymore, his Rh8 is trapped and the Queenside pawns can start marching in. Please remember this simple winning idea!
Karl - 24 points
Rick - 22 points
Jeffrey - 20 points
Edwin - 18 points
Frank - 10 points
Alex - 2 points
Karl - 104 points
Owen - 95 points
Rick - 81 points
Jeffrey - 71 points
Edwin - 53 points
Frank - 50 points
Alex - 18 points
Eenie, meenie, miney, moe :-)