Puzzle of the week #72

Chess Diagram: 

[Event "Puzzle #72"][Date "2009.06.05"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "7r/1R6/4p1r1/1P2Ppk1/3P2p1/4P1Kp/2R5/8 b - - 0 51"]

When chess is part of your daily life, playing a bit every day feels like drinking water when you are thirsty. You simply find time to make a move or two. During my childhood going to the club was pretty much the only choice if you wanted a good game. Today we are so spoiled with the internet at our fingertips!... I play a few internet games in the same time, each with around 5-7 days per move and each more or less important. This gives me the time to play some decent games and every now and then a game turns out really nice, rewarding my work with lots of pleasure.
The above diagram is from a friendly team match played not long ago on Gameknot against a player called Juozas from Lithuania. We played 2 games, each one of us having White in one of them. Playing White I attacked and sacrificed, but in the end Juozas defence was very strong and I ended up down a full Rook with nothing to show for it. In the second game: Juozas (LIT) - Valer Eugen Demian I got a small advantage carried over in the endgame where both sides decided to take their chances on opposite wings. Your tasks:
a) Analyse the position to identify the positives and negatives for each side (10 points)
b) Black to move and win (10 points)

Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #73.

Puzzle #71 solution:


This one proved to be a serious challenge during our 3 weeks hiatus caused by our visit to Romania. You guys definitely have talent in finding Divine solutions (wouldn't it be nice to be able to remove some of the opponents' pieces in our games every single time?...). However we need to practice some more in doing research, as none of you found the historical solution! Here are the solutions:
Andy Q wrote:
a) The position of the puzzle is illegal because Black has nine pawns instead of eight. Even when you promote a pawn, you cannot promote it into another pawn - one must promote as a minimum to a Bishop or a Knight. Therefore, Black has to remove one of his pawns. Regardless of Black's choice in terms of which pawn to remove, White can then mate in one. If Black takes off:
a7, Qb6#
b7, Nc6#
c4, Qb4#, Qa1#, or Qb2#
d3, Qe4#
e3, Bxf2#
f2, Bxe3#
f7, Ne6#
g6, Rg4#
h3, Rh4#

b) The historical solution required you to go all the way back in time to the 9th century, the time when chess (called shatranj) was fluorishing in Persia. Now once we got the approximate correct location, will focus on mansubat in general and famous ones such as Dilaram mansuba in particular. That provides the needed clue! In those days the Firzan (Queen) would be able to move only 1 square diagonally in any direction, while the Elephant (Bishop) would move only 2 squares along every diagonal while also being able to leap over pieces. Now the solution is obvious:

Correct solutions:
Andy Q, Wilson, John, Joshua, Andy Y, Karl, Katerina, Nathaniel - 10 points

John - 417 points
Joshua - 403 points
Andy Qian - 370 points
Andy Yee - 343 points
Karl - 336 points
Jeremy - 307 points
James - 255 points
Wilson - 224 points
Mark - 223 points
Humphrey - 174 points
Marcus - 146 points
Katerina - 123 points
Nathaniel - 83 points
Jacky - 80 points
Alex Ge - 56 points
Ricky - 48 points
Joanne - 47 points
Danny, Owen - 40 points
Jin-Lang - 37 points
Darren - 20 points


Rooks and passed pawns endgame