Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday puzzle

I saw this puzzle briefly over a cup of coffee in the bar of a near-deserted business hotel in an industrial park north of Zaragoza a few weeks ago.

It was in El Periódico de Aragón but the paper didn't seem to give any details as to the origin of the puzzle, so let me know via the comments box if you know it. But please, only post solutions and suggestions that you've worked out yourselves without computer aid!

White to play and draw.


Dávid Balogh said...

White's main idea is to stalemate himself. 1.gxf6!! - Not only eliminates the g-pawn, but also creates a mate threat against the wrong coordinated black king. Here is a sideline to show that black is the one to fight for a draw: If 1. ..a3? 2.fxg7 a2 3.g8=R (Why not? :) ) 3. ..a1=Q+ 4.Ba5# is mate. So black must capture the pawn: 1. ..gxf6 2.Bxf6 a3 3.Bd8! - the bishop goes to a5. 3. ..a2 4.Ba5 , and here white threats to stop the a2 pawn with the following Bc3 , so black has no other option: 4. ..a1=Q and here black survives. 1/2-1/2 I must add that unfortunately white is not able to win this position after 1.Bxf6? because black can simply ignore this sacrifice by playing 1. ..a3! 2.Bd8 White has nothing but he tries to play for a stalemate again, but now he fails after 2. ..a2 3.Ba5 a1=Q and the difference is that there is a possible move for white: 4.g6 and now 4. ..Qf1 is mate.

Anonymous said...

I guess the first move has to be Now black has to take because white promotes first and blocks the check with checkmate. So 1…gf 2.Bf6 a3 3.Bd8 a2 4.Ba5 now a1Q or R is stalemate and I guess a1N would be trouble for black after Bd8-h4.
That leaves 4…a1B and 5.Bc3 creates another stalemate.


Anonymous said...

I reckon it starts 1 gxf6 . The recapture is forced as otherwise White will queen and give mate. So 1. .. gxf6 2. Bxf6. Now Black attempts to promote the pawn. 2 .. a3. The save is to return the Bishop to d8 and then to a5 3. Bd8 a2 4. Ba5. The only legal moves are to promote or move the King. Moving the King allows 4. .. Bc3 at least drawing. Consider the promotions:-
4. .. a1Q and 4. a1R are both stalemate because of the pin. On 4. .. a1B, threatening Bxd4, there's 5. Bc3 putting the Bishop en prise, but it's another stalemate if taken. Finally 4. .. a1N appears to allow the game to continue, so it's a judgement call that White can hold the draw. It looks quite obvious that Black won't have anything with the King stuck on a8.


Jonathan B said...

There's one more trick after ... a1=N!

Mark Donlan said...

The puzzle is in the fourth edition of Harold van der Heijden's endgame study database. It is attributed to J. Fischer, De Telegraaf 1828.

ejh said...

Mark - thanks very much!

GM_Knockout said...

1) gxf6 gxf6 2) Bxf6 a3 3) Bd8! a2 4)Ba5!! a1=Q/R #Game drawn with stalemate 1/2 - 1/2