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July 09, 2016

Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread 07-09-2016 [OregonMuse]

nuts and bolts.jpg

Good afternoon morons and moronettes, and welcome to the Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread, the only AoSHQ thread with content specifically for all of us chess nerds who pay homage in the temple of Caïssa, goddess of poisoned pawns and bad bishops. And, for those of you who aren't nerdly enough for chess, you can use this thread to talk about checkers, or politics, or whatever you wish, only please try to keep it civil. Nobody wants to get into a pie fight on a Saturday afternoon.

“A Chess game is divided into three stages: the first, when you hope you have the advantage, the second when you believe you have an advantage, and the third, when you know you're going to lose.” - (Savielly Tartakower)

Black Mates In 1

Looks like Black has sacrificed a lot of material to get this position.

20160709 - Black mates in 1.jpg
Zurich 1905
FEN: [2k5/pp4pp/1b6/2nP4/5pb1/P7/1P2QKPP/R4R2 b - - 0 1]

Feedback Feedback

Thanks to all of you who provided me with feedback, and the kind words from many of you about the chess thread.

I gleaned a couple of things from the suggestions, though, that I think I could be doing better. The first is a request for problems that illustrate strategic ideas that are good to know rather than one-off tactical tricks. I will try to provide problems like this. I don't know how successful I'll be, but I will try.

The second is my apologies to all of you superior players for my problems not being challenging enough. I sympathize, but unfortunately, there's very little I can do about it. If I'm at the point in my musical training where I have mastered playing 'Chopsticks' on the piano without making too many mistakes, there's not much that Bach or Mozart can learn from me, I'm afraid.

White Mates in 3

This is kind of a tricky one. At least I found it so. Black's moves are extremely limited. Use this fact to your advantage. But be careful of stalemating.

20160709 - White mates in 3.jpg
FEN: [7k/4K1pp/7N/8/8/8/8/B7 w - - 0 1]

Another hint: White's first two moves are not checks.

The Nuts And Bolts of Chess

H/T to lurking moron "cesspit pariah" (wow, what do you have to do be a pariah from a cesspit?) who sent me a link to this article, Make a MacGyver-Style Chess Set Using Just Nuts and Bolts. This is where I stole this week's chess thread pic.

He also says:

Avon once sold a complete chess set with the pieces made of cologne bottles. I haven't done any research into it, but I am guessing these appeared in the late 50's - early 60's during the board game craze. Various pieces and complete sets can be found on eBay, many with unopened bottles.

You can see them right here. One of the listings claims that only 1500 of these cologne sets were ever made. I'm a bet skeptical about that for the simple reason that if that were true, then most of them appear to be on sale at eBay.

White Mates In 5

If Black does not make optimal moves, the mate can be accomplished in 3 or 4 moves, but the best he can do is drag it out for 5.

20160709 - White mates in 5.jpg
FEN: [6k1/1p4p1/p3P3/3p3P/P1r2QPq/8/1P3RK1/8 w - - 0 1]

Endgame Of The Week

No, this is not a twofer. I have some explaining to do. Look at Diagram 'a' on the left:

20160709 - Endgame - 525.jpg
diag. 'b' FEN: [8/4K3/8/3k4/8/1N1B4/6p1/8 w - - 0 1]

It's White to play and draw. The solution is fairly straightforward: Black cannot win, cannot queen his advanced pawn if White keeps his wits about him. 1.Nd1! is the correct move, blocking the pawn. If Black moves 1...Ke2 to dislodge the knight, White responds 2.Nc3. Black cannot now push the pawn as White simply captures it, and the game is now drawn to insufficient material. If Blacks brings his king around to c2 to attack the knight, White moves it to e3 out of harm's way while still covering the queening square.

You may run into this situation in your own endgames, so I think this is a pattern that's useful to remember. Another remarkable feature of this position is that White can achieve the draw even without the use of his King. I don't think you see this in very many endgames. Normally, the king is in the thick of the action. But here, notice how the white king remained at h8 the whole time, and didn't play any part. Now, with all of that in mind, you are now equipped to solve this week's endgame problem, diagram 'b' where, just like 'a', it's White to play and draw. You might be tempted to think that maybe there's some way White could hustle over to the king side and grab that pawn, then force a B + N checkmate, but there's simply no time, pawn is too far advanced.

Hint: For the purposes of securing the draw, White's pieces are expendable

Again, this is a useful pattern to keep in mind and hopefully you'll recognize it when you see it.


Solutions Update:

Black Mates In 1


Note that this move simultaneously uncovers an attack by the bishop and covers the flight square at e1, so there is no escape for the White king.

White Mates in 3

The key move is:


which leaves Black with only one move



Closing in for the kill. Again, there is only one possible Black reply.

2...f5 followed by


White Mates In 5

1.Qf7+ Kh8

If 1...Kh7 then 2.Qg6+ Kg8 3.Rf8+ Kxf8 4.Qf7#

2.Qe8+ Kh7
3.Qg6+ Kg8

If 3...Kh8 then 4.Rf8#

4.Rf8+ Kxf8
5.Qf7# 1-0

Endgame Of The Week

The decision tree for this is rather complicated, but the main line goes like this:

1.Bc4+ Kxc4
2.Nd2+ Kd3

and White has now achieved the piece configuration similar to my diag. 'a'. All he has to do shuffle his knight between the f3, g1 and h3 squares, and there's nothing Black can do to force him out. If he pushes the pawn, White happily gives up his knight for it. So the game is a draw.

But if instead of 1...Kxc4, if Black chooses, say, 1...Ke4, then what? Well, White has a couple of options, the first being 2.Bd5+. Then Black has to play 2...Kxd5 3.Nd2 Ke5 4.Nf3+ and there's the draw again. (Update: see #220)

Or, White could play 2.Nd2+ and then it's Ke3 3.Nf3! Kxf3 4.Bd5+ Kf2 5.Bxg2 with the draw.

Again, the decision tree for all the possibilities is quite complex. So for those of you who use pgn readers, here are all the lines, annotated, in pgn format. You can just copy and paste it to your pgn reader. This problem was a chess.com daily puzzle of a few days ago, and one of the commenters put together the annotated lines, and I thought his analysis was thorough and complete:

[Event "White to play and draw"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.07.06"]
[Round "?"]
[White "N, N."]
[Black "N, N."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[Annotator ""]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/4K3/8/3k4/8/1N1B4/6p1/8 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "5"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. Bc4+ $3 Kxc4 (1... Ke4 2. Nd2+ (2. Bd5+ Kxd5 (2...Ke3 $4 3. Bxg2 {and White wins}) 3. Nd2 Ke5 4. Nf3+ {Draw}) 2... Ke3 3. Nf3 $3 Kxf3 (3... Kf2 4. Kf6 {Black can make no progress.} g1=Q 5. Nxg1 Kxg1 {Draw}) 4. Bd5+ Kf2 5. Bxg2 {Draw}) (1... Ke5 2. Nd2 $1 g1=Q $4 (2... Kf4 3. Nf3 $3 Kxf3 (3... Kg3 4. Kf6 Kf2 5. Kf5 g1=Q 6. Nxg1 Kxg1 {Draw}) 4. Bd5+ Kf2 5. Bxg2 {Draw}) 3. Nf3+ Kf4 4. Nxg1 {White now wins.}) (1... Kc6 2. Nd4+ Kc5 3. Nf3 Kxc4 4. Ng1 {Draw for the same reason as in the main line.}) 2. Nd2+ Kd3 3. Nf3 $1 {This is a draw because black can't stop the knight from going to either g1 (blocking the pawn) or h3, f3, and e2 (guarding the promotion square where the knight will gladly give itself up if the pawn promotes).} 1/2-1/2


Note: that cryptic line of letters and numbers you see underneath each board diagram is a representation of the position in what is known as "Forsyth-Edwards Notation", or F.E.N. It's actually readable by humans. Most computer applications nowadays can read FEN, so those of you who may want to study the position, you can copy the line of FEN and paste into your chess app and it should automatically recreate the position on its display board.


So that about wraps it up for this week. Chess thread tips, suggestions, bribes, rumors, threats, and insults may be sent to my yahoo address: OregonMuse little-a-in-a-circle yahoo dott com.

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:45 PM

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