Monday, January 04, 2010

The twelve puzzles of Christmas

Afek, 1978

White to play and win


Anonymous said...

I didn't get very far with this. I eliminated the obvious 1.Ba4 because it simplifies to a knight v pawn ending where the black knight gets back in time to stop the white pawn.

I then found myself attracted to the grotesque-looking 1.Nc2, which limits the scope of both white minor pieces and leaves them both en prise. It's so weird it has to be right...

Unfortunately I couldn't see a way past Black's forced response 1...Nb3. I needed computer help to find the beautiful sequence of moves that follows. When you play through the whole line, it all seems wonderfully clear.


an ordinary chessplayer said...

1 Na5(d3) also doesn't work: 1...Kxd1 2 Nxc5 Ke2 3 Ke4 Nc2 4 Nd3 Na3 5 c5 Nb5 looks like a draw.

No computers. I suppose 1 Nc2 Nb3 2 Na1! is it. 2...Nxa1 (2...N-other 3 Nb3+) 3 Ba4 Kc3 4 Kd5 Kb4 5 Bd1.

This just reminds me of one of my favorite tactical themes -- meeting a threat to occupy a square by placing a piece on that square(!).

an ordinary chessplayer said...

The precision of ejh's posts is alarming. Quite bot-like.

ejh said...

Think of me as a modern-day Immanuel Kant.

The solution is, as suggested above, 1. Nc2! Nb3 2.Na1! and I sourced it in Jan Timman's column in New In Chess 2004/8, wherein it is stated that it previously appeared in an earlier edition of the magazine (1997/6).