This fall we have been dealing with some very hard puzzles. It looks like most of the solvers have become tired of these constant challenges; week after week I see less answers sent in and more alarming fewer are correct. Have decided to give you guys a break and challenge you this time around with a straight forward position: White has blocked the Queenside and is ready to face the battle in the center and Kingside. Is Black ready to do something, or he still needs one or two moves to bring in more attackers? Your tasks:
a) Analyse the position and decide who stands better;
b) Black to move; propose the best line you can think of, leading to a clear result.
Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #142.
Puzzle #140 solution:
I was hoping for much better answers; unfortunately I got only two and none very good. It is possible you did not understand very well my questions; still there was an important piece of the position you all missed. This was one of my endgames: David (UK) - Valer Eugen Demian (CAN), Gameknot, Oct 2010. We played by internet in our free time during the month of October. Any situation of this sort needs to be verified to the last detail. You guys should have verified first and foremost if indeed the King and pawns endgame is won by Black. That is where the key of the puzzle lies!
a) The first thing to verify was to see if after the Rooks exchange the White King will still catch the passed c-pawn (will still be in the square); the answer is yes!
57.Rxh3! Rxh3 58.Kxh3 ...
b) Now the second and most crucial analysis is to see if the Black King can penetrate to support the passed c-pawn, while blocking the White King; again the answer is yes, especially since White is forced to move the f-pawn in order to create room for his own King and control the e4-square!
58... Kd5 59.f3 ...
c) The last twist is about pawns: could the two White pawns create in time a passed pawn as dangerous as Black's c-pawn; for the third time the answer is yes and that makes the position a draw:
59... c5 60.Kg3 Kc4 61.Kf2 Kd3 62.e4! ... draw
Here we have a couple of simple choices:
1. Both sides push their pawns down the board as fast as possible; in this case both get a Queen and the position is a simple draw.
2. Black decides to capture the newly created White passed pawn; in this case White has enough time to bring his King in front of the passed c-pawn and hold the opposition.
The answer is very much the same even after 59... h1Q 60.Rxh1 Rxh1 61.Kxh1 ... Give it a try to convince yourselves!
Sometimes you can assess a position incorrectly , but the opponent still needs to assess it as well and do his best to find a way out. White failed to do that and hoped to save the Rook endgame; soon after he realised that endgame would have choked him to death slowly but surely.
Karl - 10 points
Alex - 5 points
Karl - 249 points
Jeffrey - 225 points
Rick - 174 points
Frank - 122 points
Alex - 101 points
Owen - 95 points
Edwin - 72 points
Nathaniel - 60 points
Storming the castle