Monday, January 03, 2011

The twelve puzzles of Xmas

Kubbel, 1927

Mate in ten

[Thanks to Sean]


Martin S. said...

Well, if anyone (excluding ejh, of course) has a clue what's going on here, please let me have it.
So far I've managed to mate black with 1. Qa8, but then don't have a way of dealing with his counterattack with 1..Ne3+ and 2...Bd3+ etc. BTW what are those h pawns all about?

Just a clue, would do. Not yet the answer. Ta.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I've got that far as well and I don't see an answer to 1. ... Ne3+.

However, this is Kubbel and he is famed for absolutely brilliant studies and mates.

Hey, aving written all that I think I am on the right track. A Queen sacrifice followed by a pawn-only mate, perhaps? I vaguely remember a mate in X where the eighth or so move was a quiet king move and Black, with oodles of material, couldn't stop mate. Now, how do I sacrifice that queen?

Richard James said...

Looks like it's a study (White to play and win) not a problem, which is what you'd expect from Kubbel. Fritz & Rybka can't find a mate in 10. White is indeed winning, and the main line, as Anon suggests, is a queen sac leading to a pawn only mate, but this, according to my silicon friends, is in 11 moves, and Black has several ways of avoiding the immediate mate by giving up his queen.

ejh said...

Oh, do we have a cook? That's a shame. I'd already spotted a flaw in planned mate in seven and mate in three, but I must have missed this one. Apologies to all if this is so.

I'll get it check out (though not quickly, as the electrician is coming round shortly and I'll have no electricity for most of today.

Anonymous said...

A pawn-only mate. That's new to me. Can someone explain or give an example, please? thanks

ejh said...

Right. Sorry for the delay in getting back to everybody - the electricity's not been off for a week, but I was dealing with other writing commitments. Anyway. Apologies that this puzzle doesn't work as we presented it: the fault is mine. We actually took it from Whitworth (ed), Leonid Kubbel's Chess Endgame Studies, TG Whitworth, 1984, p. 166-7.

The stipulaion is actually not given as "mate in ten", but as "win": the longest variation given was a mate in ten and I therefore felt safe presenting it as such. My own foolishness, I should have known better.

ejh said...

Thanks, by the way, to Simon King for helping with the bibliographic details, and my apologies again to anybody who I inadvertently misled.

ejh said...

(Oh, and the puzzle was originally from Bakinski Rabochi, 1927.)

Campion said...

This has been bugging me ever since Richard James' comment, and for ages I took Martin S at his word in thinking that 1. Qa8 gave Black enough time for a counterattack. However, I think I've got the intended main line -- anyone mind if I give my (mis)working here?

Campion said...

OK, it seems that anyone originally interested in this problem has already solved it but not bothered to says so in comments. So belatedly, for what it's worth, here is what I think happens. (All done `blindfold' without physical board or moving things around a computer screen, so there are probably howlers.)

1 Qa8

[what else? Black king can't be allowed to b8]

1 ... Ne3+

[any other checks allow e.g. 2 Kc1 and then Qc8/c6 mate]

2 dxe3

[if White runs with 2 Kb3 then 2 ... e5+ and 3... Kxd7 when the Black king escapes through e6 and f7]

2 ... Bd3+

[I got hung up for a while on 2 ... Qg6+, missing the fact that White can now block with 3 e4. Possibly 3 f5 intending 3 ... Qxf5 4 Kc1 also works with extra comedy value.]

3 Kxd3 c4+
4 Kxc4 e5+
5 Kb4 Kxd7

[So as in one of the variations above, Black has cleared e6 with tempo and given the king a flight square.]

6 Qc6+ Ke6
7 Qd5+

[Well, I wouldn't have got this far without the hints in previous comments about a queen sac. Of course this wouldn't have been possible in the variation mentioned above where Black has a knight on e3.]

7 ... Kxd5
8 f5

[Kubbel-esque? in any case, threatening c3-c4 mate. Black can wriggle a bit more but to no avail]

8 ... Qg4
9 hxg4

[I guess this explains the presence of the h-pawns in the starting position?]

9 ... e4
10 f4 and
11 c4 mate

ejh said...

Annoyingly, eleven....