Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday puzzle

White to play and win

(Duras, 1927)


Jonathan B said...

If I'm understanding this correctly then it's a bit like those Reti puzzle's we had recently isn't it?

1. Kb6 intending 2. Kc5 if the Black king heads for the g-pawn or 2. Kc7 if Black king goes for the pawn on e2.

Is that right?

Jonathan B said...

oops - I meant 2. Kc5 if the Black king goes for the pawn on f5 (by 1. ... Kc3)

Jonathan B said...

Double oops...

I've just realised after
1. Kb6 Kd2
2. Kc7

Black has

2. ... Ke3

instead of 2. ... Kxe2 as I'd expected

so instead:-

1. Kb6 Kd2
2. Kc6!

if now

2. ... Ke3
3. Kd5 Kf4
4. Kf6
5. e4

if Black goes for
2. ... Kxe2
then White can play
3. Kd7
just as easily from c6 as c7.

Curiously noticing this problem - and fixing it - has increased my confidence that I'm right.

Am I?

Jonathan B said...


The Agatha in this position must be 1. Ka8. I did try to make it work for a moment or two but it quickly became clear it couldn't be the solution. Shame.

ejh said...

Not bad at all, if we assume that you meant 4.Ke6 rather than 4.Kf6. In fact very good indeed. And interestingly rather better than the late CHO'D Alexander in The Penguin Book of Chess Positions who makes an error (as far as I can see - and I am not looking unaided) in the solution he gives for 1...Kd2. He continues 2.Kc5 - but that loses to 2...Kxe2 as White can't get at the e-pawn from c5, whereas he can after your much superior 2.Kc6.

Anonymous said...

btw Alexander' analysis is also sloppy in regard to why Kb7 is the wrong starting move for White. He gives 1. Kb7 Kd7 2. Kc7 Ke3! 3. Kd7 Kf4 4 Kxe7 leading to draw when 4. Ke6 transposes into the winning line. Of course the real reason 1Kb7 only draws is 1...Kc3 2.Kc6 Kd4 3.Kd7 Ke5 4. Kxe7 Kxe5 5. e4+ Ke5 6. Kf7 drawing.
The study also appears in 'Test Your Endgame Ability' by Livshits & Speelman with correct but less detailed analysis.

James McDonnell

Jonathan B said...

Yes Ke6 was my intended move 4

I'd also found that 2. Kc5 doesn't work against ...Kxe2 for the reasons you pointed out.

btw: I was inspired to study this position and find the solution by reading the "Why study the endgame?" chapter in Aagaard's Excelling at Chess earlier this afternoon.

ejh said...

James - thanks very much for that. I have to say I didn't realise the error when I selected the puzzle, I just like simple-looking puzzles! But once I'd seen JB's analysis and turned on Rybka....