As long as there are heavy pieces (Queens and Rooks) on the board, the opposing Kings must be protected. This is valid in the endgame too when on top of this you need to make sure the position is in your favour in case those Queens and Rooks get exchanged. The same applies in this case and you must choose carefully what to do. Of course it is important to know who's turn is to move: it is Black's turn. Options:
a) Of course the first one coming to mind is 1... Rf8 and after 2.Rd8 Rxd8 3.Qxd8+ ... White will bother the Black King with checks quite a lot;
b) Saving the g6-pawn is not a very good option; see what happens after 1... g5?? and send it over together with your answer;
c) Pushing the other one of the passed Black pawns 1... h5 2.Qxg6+ Qxg6 3.Rxg6+ Kh7 4.Rc6 Re5 brings us into a Rook endgame.
What is the best choice for Black?
Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #156.
Puzzle #154 solution:
Game Nepomniachtchi - Chernyshov, Irkutsk 2010. Line "c" happened in the game. The best answer came from Harmony, showing a good understanding of the position. Her analysis for option "a" was not the best, but nobody else did better on it anyway. Harmony's answer:
"We first examined all three options; 12... Qc7 is the best among them.
a) After 12... Qc7 follows:
13.a4 d5 and the pawn is saved.
b) After 12... Bc5 follows:
13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.d4 Bb6 the Bishop just goes back.
c) After 12... Bd8 follows:
13.Qxb7! Qxb7 14.Nxd6+ Kd7 15.Nxb7 ... white wins two pawns.
However, for small kids like Harmony, a pawn doesn’t mean really a lot at the opening stage. I always ask her to focus on attacking instead of protecting a pawn. Here is her solution:
12... Nh5 13.Nxb6 axb6 14.Qxb6 Nhf4
Black sacrificed one pawn to get a well positioned Knight on f4. Ra8 has a semi-open file. I think this is better than 12... Qc7 for small kids like Harmony."
Excellent choice to sacrifice the pawn for a counter attack on the King side. This is what the Grand Masters also suggested. The only comment I have is about line "a" when after:
12... Qc7 13.a4 d5 Black has saved the b7-pawn at the expense of others; play could continue like this:
14.exd5 ... (opens up the center where the Black King is)
a) 14... cxd5 15.Qb5+ ... and one of the central Black pawns falls;
b) 14... Nxd5 15.a5 Bc5 16.d4 Bd6 17.dxe5 ... opening the position gives White excellent chances to win material.
Harmony - 15 points
Philip, Leo, Derrick - 10 points
James - 8 points
Alex, Daniel, Kevin, Ziyao, Leroy - 5 points
Ziyao - 147 points
Harmony - 133 points
Alex - 118 points
James - 113 points
Leo - 97 points
Philip - 91 points
Jeffrey - 72 points
Derrick - 70 points
Leroy - 68 points
Kevin - 34 point
Frank - 33 points
Danny - 19 points
Daniel - 17 points
Karl - 13 points
Endgame intuition (2)