# Puzzle of the week #154

Level:
3-Bishop
Chess Diagram:

All players prepare how to play in the opening; some learn from others (amateur players), while others spend countless hours to choose the opening they like and know at all times the latest ideas developed (professional players). Still surprises can appear in the opening when you expect them the least. You play the opening moves with confidence and ease; how wrong can you be? Take this position for example: White has finished the development, while Black is almost done as well. None seem to be aggressive yet, even if White is threatening to win a pawn on "b6". It is Black's turn to move and looking at the position he needs to do something to save his pawn. His options are:
a) 12... Qc7
b) 12... Bc5
c) 12... Bd8

Please choose the best one in your opinion, explain your choice and present a line which best follows your plan. If you do not like any of the options, propose your own.
Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #155.

Puzzle #153 solution:
Troitsky study, 1906. Leo's answer was a beauty. His dad wrote the following:
"We would say Puzzle 153 is the trickiest one we have ever met. It cost us three nights thinking about the solution. We searched internet. Almost all the chess articles telling us the same thing - King with one Knight can't checkmate a lone King (Draw for sure). Until we found one saying that there is some exception - King with one Knight can mate King with a pawn sometimes; example:  White: King f2, Knight f5;   Black: King h2, Pawn h3. White to move to win:
Answer: 1.Ne3 Kh1 (forced) 2.Nf1 h2 (forced) 3.Ng3#
Normally to checkmate Black King, White needs to keep both Knight and the Pawn. But in the position like this puzzle, White will lose the Pawn in one move. So the only possibility for White to win is to keep the Black pawns as many as we can and make use of forced moves, i.e. to force the Black pawns to move forward and block their King's way and eventually checkmate by the Knight just like the above example.
Came up with a winning plan:
1.Ng2! ... (black King has no way out)

1... hxg3+ 2.Kg1 h5 (forced)
3.Kh1 h5 (forced)
4.Nf4# (What a beautiful checkmate)

But this checkmate is only based on the condition that Black wants to take the g3-pawn which is our common sense. If Black chooses to go Pawn h5 or King h2 instead of taking g3-Pawn, White Knight will capture the h4-pawn and then Black will also lose the h5-pawn. When the Black Pawn chain collapses, White will be up one pass pawn and one Kight for an easy win ahead."

Correct solutions:
Ziyao, Leo, Alex - 20 points
Harmony, James - 18 points
Leroy, Derrick - 15 points
Philip - 12 points
Daniel, Jeffrey - 10 points

STANDINGS:

Ziyao - 142 points
Harmony - 118 points
Alex - 113 points
James - 105 points
Leo - 87 points
Philip - 81 points
Jeffrey  - 72 points
Leroy - 63 points
Derrick - 60 points
Frank - 33 points
Kevin - 29 point
Danny - 19 points
Karl - 13 points
Daniel - 12 points

Comment:

What say you: A, B, or C? (3)