My first choice was a nice puzzle I saw a couple of years ago about a rambling Rook. I remember it was very funny, as a King kept being chased by the opposite Rook around a pawn chain. Unfortunately I could not find it in time (will still be looking for it), so I had to come up with plan B.
I Ilin (Russia) is one lesser known composer with very interesting ideas. Today I chose a puzzle dealing with the fight between a passed pawn and a far away Knight. How many times have you played games where a passer proved to be a killer? Probably lots as it is something I see quite often especially in games played by juniors. Will the Knight be capable to fight for his King and keep the balance of this position? Your tasks are:
1. White to move and draw
2. Explain your solution
Total available points for this puzzle is 20. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #76.
Puzzle #74 solution:
This was a very difficult puzzle. I was happy to see you guys did some research for the game and I counted that effort. The harder part was to come up with clear cut lines proving Karpov made the rigth choice by sacrificing the exchange when he did. A few of you asked why did White resign so early. The reason was simpler than expected: he lost on time. During tough moments I normally go back to solid choices and one of those is John's solution:
"White's positives: White has good, defensive pieces, ready to charge foward with counter-play.
White's negatives: 3 pawn islands, where as Black only has two. White's pieces are defensive at the moment, which gives Black attacking tempo.
White's plan is: Try to efficiently start counter-play, while trying to disrupt Black's play, which will give White tempo.
Black's positives: All his pieces are active, pointing toward the frightened Kh2. Good, strong pawns guarding Kf7, which makes White panic desperately.
Black's negatives: Black has an isolated pawn on b6, but Black doesn't really care, for he has a huge attack on the K-side. White doesn't even have enough tempi to eat it!
Black's plan is: as we saw, White's only positive is his defensive pieces prepared for efficent counter-play. So Black wants to stop this, while efficently attacking on the K-side. So Black comes up with a solution! The best defense if offense! So now, Black must increase his advantage efficiently by attacking with his ferocious positive (his active, deadly pieces)
1... Rxf3!! 2.gxf3 Nh4! and here White lost on time. Some possible continuations:
A) 24.Rb3 Qg5 (Excellent team work between Q+N) 25.Qf1 Qf4+ 26.Kh1 Nxf3 27.Qg2 Qc1+ 28.Qg1 Qxg1#
B) 24.Rxb6 Qc7+ Black wins
C) 24.Rd2 Qxd2 25.Qxd2 Nxf3+ 26.Kg3 Nxd2 Black wins
D) 24.Rc2 Qg5 25.Qf1 Qf4+ 26.Kh1 Nxf3 27.Qg2 Ne1 White has 28.Qb7+ Kg8 29.Rc8+ Kh7 30.Rc7 ... seems to be White's best choice"
Would also like to point out that Andy Q did a lot of work and his answer was very close to John's.
Joanne - 50 points - for providing the puzzle
John - 45 points
Joshua, Andy Q, Karl - 40 points
Andy Y - 30 points
Wilson, James - 15 points
Marcus - 10 points for puzzle #72 + 10 points for puzzle #73
James - 15 points for puzzle #73
John - 499 points
Joshua - 471 points
Andy Qian - 444 points
Andy Yee - 400 points
Karl - 396 points
Jeremy - 307 points
James - 285 points
Wilson - 256 points
Mark - 223 points
Humphrey - 174 points
Marcus - 166 points
Katerina - 123 points
Joanne - 97 points
Nathaniel - 93 points
Jacky - 80 points
Alex Ge - 76 points
Ricky - 58 points
Danny, Owen - 40 points
Jin-Lang - 37 points
Darren - 20 points
Material imbalance endgame