Puzzle of the week #131

Chess Diagram: 

[Event "Puzzle #131"][Date "2010.08.20"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r5k1/1q3pp1/r3b2p/p2N4/3R4/QP3P2/2P3PP/1K1R4 b - - 0 26"]26...Rb8

The last move in this position (see diagram) is showing Black's attacking intentions. The attack is upon you. How do you react in moments like that? They can be some of the most stressful moments in the game and the way you react to them determines how good of a player you are and will be. Do you panic and run for cover hoping for the best? Do you methodically consider the best defensive plan and execute it with precision? Do you still look for an opportunity to strike back at anytime, but especially when the opponent is least expecting it? It is up to you to choose. Your tasks:
a) Analyse the position for both sides and propose the best plans you can come up with
b) White to move; do your best to execute both plans you proposed

Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #132.

Puzzle #130 solution:
It is the game Stepanov - Romanovskij played in 1926, a time when attacking chess was all it mattered. Mating the other King at all costs was all they were looking for. All of you got the main line and good analysis. Hope you will remember that keeping the King in the center will always be punished. This is helpful expecially when the win is not so obvious; keep searching for it and something will come up for sure. It is one of those advantages you do not normally count with points (such as for pieces), but it is there. Rick's response:
a) Analysis:
Material: White has a Queen for a Rook and Knight, giving him a 1 point advantage.
King safety: Both Kings are terribly placed, to say the least! White's King is stupidly in the center, and where on Earth did Black's pawn shield go to? These guys need a lesson on protecting the King!
- Sadly, both players aren't fully developed!
- each side has 3 pawn islands
- If it was White's turn, Qg2+ followed by Bd3 and Rg1 gives White a terrific position
- A lot of pieces were traded off, but there are still lots of chances for threats and tactical tricks
White's plan: develop, protect the King, and start creating trouble!
Black's plan: basicallly the same idea as White, but it should be faster because he is slightly more developed, a tad more safe, and just a smidge more deadly at the moment.
b) See solution

[Event "Puzzle #130"][Date "2010.08.16"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r1b2r2/p2p2kp/1pn1p3/8/1PP5/P3KP2/2Q4P/R4B2 b - - 0 1"]1...Rxf3+ 2.Ke4 (2.Kxf3 Nd4+ {Black wins}) (2.Ke2 Nd4+ {Black wins}) (2.Kd2 Rf2+ 3.Be2 Rxe2+ 4.Kxe2 Nd4+ {Black wins}) 2...d5+ 3.cxd5 exd5+ 4.Kxd5 {I was stumped here for some time, but the insane solution eventually came to my head. My plan here was to force Black to capture Nc6, followed by Rc8+, skewering the royal couple. The Bishop had to move away first, so...} 4...Be6+ 5.Kd6 Rd8+ 6.Kc7 {Taking either minor piece will lose in the exact same way as before, so Black is forced to wander deep into enemy territory} 6...Rf7+ 7.Kxc6 Rc8+ {Black wins. This puzzle is so random, yet so brilliant. 5 stars for sure!}

Correct solutions:
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


Under pressure