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Ace of Spades Pet Thread | Main | Are You Ready For Some Elbows Football?
January 14, 2017

Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread 01-14-2017

Harry Potter chess.jpg
Harry Potter and the Passed Pawn

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 Black Friday brawl on a Saturday afternoon. Because, after all, it's not Black Friday.

Problem 1 - White To Play (382)

Hint: White can win material

20170114 - Problem 1.jpg
8/p1n5/1p3k2/2p2B2/8/2P2R2/Pr5r/2R3K1 w - - 0 1

Problem 2 - White To Play (81)

Hint: White mates in 5

20170114 - Problem 2.jpg
2rqnrk1/pp3ppp/1b1p4/3p2Q1/2n1P3/3B1P2/PB2NP1P/R5RK w - - 0 1

Pic Notes

When Tolkien wrote his "Lord of the Rings" novels, he, of course, invented a number of different languages for the peoples who inhabited the world he had created. One of the exceptions is the language of Rohan. Here, Tolkien just used an obscure dialect of old English, which was good enough for his purposes.

We see something similar going on in the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Harry is shown playing chess using odd, funky pieces that look just like the kind of pieces you'd think you'd find in an academy of magic. But, those red and white pieces weren't invented for this movie. They're actually replicas of the famed Isle of Lewis chess pieces, which were originally carved from walrus ivory in the 12th century.

The original set was discovered on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland by a local shepherd in 1831 [when] the sea carried away a sandbank...uncovering a mysterious building that had been buried under the sand. A peasant working nearby found what he concluded to be a collection of Elves and Gnomes...He sold them to a local collector who realized they were chessmen. There were 78 pieces in all belonging to eight or more sets; 67 are now in the British Museum and the rest in the National Museum, Edinburgh. Experts are unanimous in regarding them as the most astonishing collection of ancient chessmen in existence.

Here are some of the actual Isle of Lewis pieces as displayed in the British Museum:

Isle of Lewis chessmen_525.jpg

The photo, which you can click on for a larger version, was sent to me by CBD, who apparently had to flee the country for reasons he did not reveal -- although I suspect some ill-advised sports betting might have been involved. So he paid a visit to the British Museum, probably to establish an alibi, and snapped a few pics. Thanks, CBD, and if Vinnie comes around, I'll swear I never saw you.

A number of different replica sets are readily available. The House of Staunton sells a replica set that looks enough like the photo that I suspect it might be the one they actually used.

Problem 3 - White To Play (BWTC 189)

Hint: Mate in 2

20170114 - Problem 3.jpg
1rb1r1k1/2q1pp1p/p2p2pB/2pP4/1pP2Q2/1P1n4/P4PPP/2R1R1K1 w - - 0 1

Problem 4 - White To Play (BWTC 190)

OK, here's one that will prove to be quite challenging. What's best for White?

Hint: White can mate, but it's 8 moves out

20170114 - Problem 4.jpg
r2q1r1k/pppbNppp/3p1P1n/2b1n1NQ/4P3/1B5P/PPP3P1/R1B2R1K w - - 0 1

Endgame of the Week (Endgame 254)

It is Black's move. Can he force a stalemate or a draw by some other means? Show your work.

20170114 - Endgame.jpg
5K1k/7p/6p1/6P1/7P/8/8/8 b - - 0 1


Solutions Update

Problem 1 - White To Play

20170114 - Problem 1.jpg
8/p1n5/1p3k2/2p2B2/8/2P2R2/Pr5r/2R3K1 w - - 0 1

Establishing a rook on your opponents 2nd rank is a good thing. Putting a second rook there is, in most cases, decisive. But in this position, White can use a discovered check to cut off the defense of the rook near his king:

1.Bc2+! Ke7

Black has no choice


And now White should win.

Problem 2 - White To Play

20170114 - Problem 2.jpg
2rqnrk1/pp3ppp/1b1p4/3p2Q1/2n1P3/3B1P2/PB2NP1P/R5RK w - - 0 1

You can almost guess how this is going to go, what with 3 white pieces bearing down on the g7 pawn and all. But there is a bit of a hazard getting there.


Of course.

2.Rxg7+ Kh8

And now, the hazard. If you were White, you might be tempted to play


Because discovered checks are tactically useful, most of the time. But not this time.


Oops. Forgot about that knight, didn't you? So 3.Rg5 is a mistake. Also bad is 3.Rag1 because of, get this, 3...Nxb2. Instead, you should play

3.Rg8+! Kxg8

Don't worry, you have another rook available.

4.Rg1+ Qg5

Problem 3 - White To Play

20170114 - Problem 3.jpg
1rb1r1k1/2q1pp1p/p2p2pB/2pP4/1pP2Q2/1P1n4/P4PPP/2R1R1K1 w - - 0 1


This places Black firmly on the horns of a dilemma. If he takes the queen with 1...exf6 then 2.Rxe8#. But any other move by Black results in 2.Qg7#.

Problem 4 - White To Play

OK, here's one that will prove to be quite challenging. What's best for White?

20170114 - Problem 4.jpg
r2q1r1k/pppbNppp/3p1P1n/2b1n1NQ/4P3/1B5P/PPP3P1/R1B2R1K w - - 0 1

I futzed around with this problem for about an hour, with no success. Finally, I said the heck with it and set it up in my chess app. I felt bad for cheating, but on the other hand, the app's analysis told me I was actually on the right track. But I lost my way.

1.fxg7+ Kxg7
2.Qxh6+ Kxh6
3.Ne6+ Kh5

I had managed to get this far. Yay me. But then


The threat here is 5.Rh6#. And this is the move I didn't see. I kept trying to continue the attack with checking moves such as 4.g4+ and 4.Nf4+, but the Black king kept slipping through my hands like a greased pig, and I eventually ran out of checks. But with White's rook now in play, all Black can do is throw pieces in the way to delay the mate:

5.Bxe3 Ng4
6.Rf5+ Kh4
7.Bg5+ Kh5

There's also a mate in 10 that I completely did not see. I suspect not many of you saw it, either:

1.Nxh7 Qxe7
2.fxg7+ Kxg7
3.Qxh6+ Kg8
4.Ng5 Qxg5
5.Qxg5+ Ng6
6.Qxg6+ Kh8
7.Bxf7 Be3
8.Bxe3 Rxf7
9.Bd4+ Rf6

Told you it was challenging.

Endgame of the Week

20170114 - Endgame.jpg
5K1k/7p/6p1/6P1/7P/8/8/8 b - - 0 1

Black can't escape. He can either move 1...h6 or 1...h5:

2.Kf7 Kh7
3.Kf6 Kg8

Ignoring the 'h' file pawns, this is a classic won position for White. Black has to move his king to either f8 or g8, and whichever one he chooses, White will take control of the queening square at g8. So:

5.Kh7 Kf7
6.g6+ and wins


5.Kf7 Kh7
6.g6+ Kh8
7.g7+ Kh7
8.g8=Q+ Kh6

So let's look at Black's other first move:

2.h5 Kh7

Again, Black has two moves, either 3...gxh5 or 3...hxg5. The first one is the easy one:

4.g6+ Kh8
5.g7+ Kh7


4.hxg6+ Kh6
5.g7 Kh5
6.g8=Q and wins.

Hope to 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 05:20 PM

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