The endgame is such an important part of the game; we have less pieces to play with, plus there's lots of space everywhere on the board to attack and be under attack. All the time we have to watch out for the opponent's plans, as the smallest error can cost us half or full points. The art of playing good endgames does not develop over night; this is the reason why we need to practice it as much as we can. This time we have to solve a tricky position invented by no other than Mikhail Botvinnik (3 times World Champion) back in 1935. See diagram. It is hard to say if both Kings are protected or in danger. White has connected pawns, but the Black ones are not under attack; also we have a Bishop vs Knight with Queens on the board. Tasks:
1. White to move and win. Find the winning line.
2. Which rule does not apply here?
Responding correctly to both questions will give you 2 points. The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #9.
Puzzle #7 solution:
Interesting position isn't it? The Knight seems more powerful than Black's Bishop with all those Black pawns on dark squares. However "b5" and "d5" look very vulnerable and Black's King more active. Alexandra had a tough time deciding what to do and was probably not in the mood to setup tricks. What was she supposed to look for? Well, how about the fact the active Black King cannot move and is stuck on "c5". Now if she can only deliver a check, we could have a nice mate on the board. How can we check without dropping the d5 pawn? We can do that with the Rook, if "b5" makes way. There it is! Let's verify it:
1.b6!! ... (now the simple but deadly threat is Rb3-b5#)
1... Rxb6 (forced since if 1... Bxb6?? 2.Rb5#) 2.Na4+ ... worth mentioning that a Knight on the rim is what White needs here
2... Kxd5 (forced) 3.Nxb6+ Bxb6 4.Rxb6 1-0
Correct solutions (perfect):
Jacob, Karl, Jeremy, Bryant, Joanne, Frank, David and Katerina - 1.0 point
Partial correct solutions (mistakes, not finished):
Karen - 0.5 points
7.0 Bryant and Jeremy
5.0 John D and Karl
2.5 Algerd, Joanne and Katerina
1.5 Jakab and Nicholas
0.5 Alejandro, Vera, Mark, Kenneth and West
Epaulette mate (1)