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January 07, 2017

Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread 01-07-2017


The Folded Chess Set, Sandro Del-Prete 1975.jpg
The Folded Chess Set
Sandro Del Prete, 1975


My computer beat me at chess... so I beat it at kickboxing.

--Demetri Martin


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 the chessboard. And, for those of you who aren't nerdly enough for chess, you can use this thread to talk about checkers, or other games, or politics, or whatever you wish, only please try to keep it civil. Nobody wants to get into a hockey brawl on a Saturday afternoon. Except maybe hockey enthusiasts.


Problem 1 - White To Play (BWTC 186)

This problem has two similar, but distinct, solutions. Find both.

Hint: Mate in 2


01072017 - Problem 1.jpg
r3qb1r/pppbk1p1/2np2np/4p2Q/2BPP3/2P5/PP3PPP/RNB2RK1 w - - 0 1


Problem 2 - White To Play (104)

Looks like Black is about to get really nasty with 1...Qc2+ followed by 2...Qa2#. So how does White "do unto him" before he himself gets done unto?

Hint: White mates in 4


01072017 - Problem 2.jpg
6Q1/B7/8/8/8/1p6/1K2k3/3q4 w - - 0 1


Chess? Haram!

Apparently, it's more sinful than gambling:

Turkish televangelist Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü, popularly known as “Cübbeli” Ahmet Hoca (Robed Ahmet Hoca), has raised eyebrows by claiming that playing chess is more sinful than gambling, daily Hürriyet reported on Jan. 2.

Ünlü said chess players were “cursed” and claimed that “most people who played chess are liars.”

First, I hope that I'm not the only one who thinks that there is something inherently funny about the phrase "popular Muslim televangelist", and the image that it suggests is extremely silly. And even though the comedy potential for this is obvious, there will be no SNL skit based on it any time soon.

But as for the chess hatin', I tend to think that this boob probably played against some local hotshots down at the coffeehouse, got his butt kicked, and is now religicizing his butthurt.

One wonders what Mahmut thinks about the Arab Muslim players and masters (including some of the caliphs) who had no problem reconciling their love of chess with the tenets of Islam, and were even responsible for introducing chess into western Europe when they conquered the Iberian peninsula.

Lastly, I did not know that Muslims used prayer beads. But they do. Their beads look kind of like a rosary, only no crucifix.


Problem 3 - White To Play (370)

Hint: White mates in 3


01072017 - Problem 3.jpg
5b1r/rpk3p1/p1p1Bpnp/2B5/4P3/8/PPP3PP/2KR4 w - - 0 1


Steiner Will Come

Actually, he won't. It's just that I'm on the House of Staunton e-mail list and their "4th Day of Chessmas" offering is the Steiner Series Chess Pieces.

So who is Steiner?

The set...was designed by the enterprising Hungarian-American International Master Herman Steiner, near the end of World War II in Los Angeles 1945...Steiner’s association with Jacqueline Piatigorsky was a relationship of special importance to American chess history. As it turns out, it was also a relationship that catapulted Steiner’s chess set design into immortality.

So this is a replica of the set designed for the Piatigorsky Cup tournaments in 1963 and 1966. The 2nd of these was the one where Fischer finished in second place, a half point behind Boris Spassky.

The set weighs over 5 pounds, so it's got that going for it. But I'm not overly fond of the aesthetics of the pieces. The rooks are especially unattractive. They remind me of a "no-neck" bar bouncer/union goon. The knights are fine, but the bishops are kind of ugly. A 5" king is impressive, though.

So, all in all, I think I'll spend my $995 on something else.

But what's cool is that over on the HoS site, the pics of these pieces are interspersed with cool-looking vintage photos of their predecessors actually being used at the Piatigorsky Cup by tournament by Fischer, Spassky, and Petrosian.


Problem 4 - Black To Play (334)

What are some good lines of play for Black?

Hint: Black can win the exchange


01072017 - Problem 4.jpg
3rr1k1/bpN3p1/p2Q1pP1/P2P4/2P5/6P1/3q1P2/4RRK1 b - - 0 1


Endgame of the Week (376)

It's White to move. Is this a win, a draw, or a loss fow White? Show your work.


01072017 - Endgame.jpg
8/p1p4k/2Pp4/P2Pp3/4P3/2K5/8/8 w - - 0 1


___________

Solutions Update

Problem 1 - White To Play


01072017 - Problem 1.jpg
r3qb1r/pppbk1p1/2np2np/4p2Q/2BPP3/2P5/PP3PPP/RNB2RK1 w - - 0 1

None of the pieces around Black's king are actually protecting it. In particularly, he is fatally week on the dark squares. White can easily take advantage of this. In fact, he can mate in two ways, either with the queen:

1.Bg5+ hxg5
2.Qxg5#

Or with the bishop:

1.Qg5+ hxg5
2.Bxg5#


Problem 2 - White To Play


01072017 - Problem 2.jpg
6Q1/B7/8/8/8/1p6/1K2k3/3q4 w - - 0 1

1.Qg4+!

1...Ke1

If 1...Kd2 then 2.Qd4+ Ke2 3.Qe3+ Kf1 4.Qf2#. The King fleeing to any other square will result in the loss of the queen.

2.Qg3+ Ke2
3.Qe3+ Kf1
4.Qf2#


Problem 3 - White To Play


01072017 - Problem 3.jpg
5b1r/rpk3p1/p1p1Bpnp/2B5/4P3/8/PPP3PP/2KR4 w - - 0 1

1.Rd7+ Kb8
2.Rd8+ Kc7
3.Rc8#

But Black doesn't have to play 1...Kb8. The c8 square is also available:

1...Kc8
2.Bb6 Bd6
3.Rd8#

But the result is the same.


Problem 4 - Black To Play


01072017 - Problem 4.jpg
3rr1k1/bpN3p1/p2Q1pP1/P2P4/2P5/6P1/3q1P2/4RRK1 b - - 0 1

This is not a simple position. There are a number of threats and counter-threats. One of the approaches Black could take is:

1...Qxf2+

Threatens ...Rxe1.

2.Rxf2 Rxe1+
3.Kg2 Rxd6

And Black is pretty much a rook up. With this advantage, he should win. This is the "not bad" line. But there's a better one.:

1...Bxf2+!

Black can't immediately take the queen. 1...Rxd6 is met with 2.Rxe8#

2.Kh1 Qxe1

Not 2.Rxf2? Qxe1+ 3.Rf1 Qxg3+ 4.Kh1 Rxd6

3.Rxe1 Rxe1+
4.Kg2 Rxd6
5.Kxf2 Re7
6.Ne6

At this point, Black is so far ahead on material he can simply take the knight and lose the exchange, which leaves him in an even better position.

6...Rdxe6
7.dxe6 Rxe6

So, looking at the piece count, Black now has a rook and a bishop, and White has bupkis. Looks like it'll be an early night.

My chess app suggested Qf8+ for White at move 3. So I played it out:

3.Qf8+ Kxf8
4.Rxe1 Rxe1+
5.Kg2 Re7
6.d6 Rxd6
7.Nd5

Which is a similar position to the previous line. The strategy for Black is the same: lose the exchange and pick up White's last remaining piece.

7...Rxd5
8.cxd5 Bc5


Endgame of the Week


01072017 - Endgame.jpg
8/p1p4k/2Pp4/P2Pp3/4P3/2K5/8/8 w - - 0 1

Short answer: Black will win.

The key for these positions with these competing pawn chains is the pawn at the base of the chain, because that's the one most vulnerable to attack.

So can White get to the base of the Black pawn chain on c7? The b-file is open, so that is his fastest route. Let's take a look:

1. Kc4 a6!

And Black effectively slams the door on White's aspirations for a b-file breach. There is now no way for White to get through, so he has to go around the other way:

2.Kd3 Kg6
3.Ke3 Kg5
4.Kf3 Kh4

White would very much like to get to the f4 square, but can't. As a result, he will be forced away from his pawn chain.

5.Kg2 Kg4
6.Kf1 Kf3
7.Ke1 Kxe4 and wins.

OK, so White loses time by trying to invade on the b-file. Knowing this in advance, should he instead just move immediately to the kingside to block Black's own invasion? That would be a sounder plan, but that, too, falls short.

1.Kd3 Kg6
2.Ke3 Kg5
3.Kf3 Kh4

Again, White runs into the same problem: he can't get to the f4 square, so he will be unable to defend his pawn chain.

4.Ke3 Kg4
5.Kf2 Kf4
6.Ke2 Kxe4 winning.

See you all next week!


___________

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. Or, Windows users can just "triple click" on it and the entire line will be highlighted so you can copy and past it into your chess app.

___________

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.

digg this
posted by OregonMuse at 05:00 PM

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