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March 11, 2017

Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread 03-11-2017

simpsons chess 4.jpg
Chess Lessons For A Young Homer

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 in the middle of a hockey brawl on a Saturday afternoon. Except maybe hockey fans.

Pic Notes

This screen grab doesn't show the book titles very well, but they are "Masters of Checks", "Boogie Knights: Chess In the Disco Era" And "Why Can't Black Move First?" by Malcolm X.

Problem 1 - White To Play (96)

There are two solutions that are just as good.

Hint: Find both mates in 3

20170311 - Problem 1.jpg
8/1p1n1r1k/pqn1RpNp/8/2p2Q1P/1P4P1/P1B4K/8 w - - 0 1

simpsons chess 2.jpg
"Homer! You're playing like Polugaevsky at Mar Del Plata!" ( *BELCH!* )

(I like the "Absolut Krusty" vodka bottle on the shelf behind Homer's left elbow )

Problem 2 - White To Play (113)

Hint: White can win a rook

20170311 - Problem 2.jpg
r4bk1/p4p2/Bpbr2p1/n2Np3/1Q2P1q1/4B1P1/7P/3R1RK1 w - - 0 1


A couple of weeks, back, there was a chess subplot on an episode of the Simpsons. Magnus Carlsen put in an appearance, primarily for Norwegian jokes. And Homer does a simul in Moe's bar.

There's an article about this episode on the USChess site with more screen grabs and all of the "insidery" chess references that non-players would miss. I think it's pretty impressive. To me, it looks like there's someone on the Simpson's production staff that's a serious player. For example, when they show games being played, sometimes the positions are from famous games. And not very many viewers would know that Barney's compliment of Homer's prowess was a reference to Lev's domination of the 1962 tournament at Mar Del Plata, where he finished two points ahead of the 2nd place finisher, World Champion Vassily Smyslov.

You can watch the episode on the Fox-TV website.

Problem 3 - White To Play (WCSC 9)

Hint: White wins material

20170311 - Problem 3.jpg
2rr2k1/1pbb1ppp/4p3/pP1nN3/P7/1B2P3/1B2KPPP/2R4R w - - 0 1

Problem 4 - White To Play (432)

How many winning paths can you identify?

Hint: There's a mate in 5 or 7

20170311 - Problem 4.jpg
rn1q1r2/ppp2pk1/5n1p/3P4/2P3b1/1P1B1R2/PB4PP/R2Q2K1 w - - 0 1

The Bobby Fischer Defense

Garry Kasparov's 2011 review of Frank Brady's biography, Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall—from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness is a long but interesting read.

Keep in mind that the chess world of the pre-Fischer era was laughably impoverished even by today’s modest standards. The Soviet stars were subsidized by the state, but elsewhere the idea of making a living solely from playing chess was a dream. When Fischer dominated the Stockholm tournament of 1962, a grueling five-week qualifier for the world championship cycle, his prize was $750.

It's amazing to me that Fischer, or anybody else not subsidized by a government, was able to be a full-time professional chess player under those conditions. Thankfully, it's better nowadays.

Endgame of the Week (119)

It's White to play. Can he win here, or can Black force a draw? As always, show your work.

Hint: Force Black into the corner

20170311 - Endgame.jpg
8/4pkPp/7B/3K4/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1


Solutions Update

Problem 1 - White To Play

20170311 - Problem 1.jpg
8/1p1n1r1k/pqn1RpNp/8/2p2Q1P/1P4P1/P1B4K/8 w - - 0 1

Solution #1:

1.Ne7+ Kg7
2.Qg4+ Kh8

Solution #2 is when Black responds to the initial check with Kh8 instead of Kg7

2.Qxh6+ Rh7

Problem 2 - White To Play

20170311 - Problem 2.jpg
r4bk1/p4p2/Bpbr2p1/n2Np3/1Q2P1q1/4B1P1/7P/3R1RK1 w - - 0 1

1.Qxd6! Bxd6
2.Nf6+ Kg7

White gets his queen back with interest.

Problem 3 - White To Play

20170311 - Problem 3.jpg
2rr2k1/1pbb1ppp/4p3/pP1nN3/P7/1B2P3/1B2KPPP/2R4R w - - 0 1

1.Nxd7! Rxd7
2. Bxd5 Rxd5
3. b6 pins the bishop and wins it

But 2...Rxd5 is a bit problematic. Perhaps better is


There follows:

3.Bxb7 Bb6

Black will not succeed in winning back the bishop with 3...Rd2+ because 4.Kf3 Rxb2 5.Rxc7.

4.Rhd1 Rxb7
5.Rxd8+ Bxd8
6.Rc8 Rd7
7.Bc3 Kf8
8.Bxa5 Ke8

And now the winning path lies through simplification:

9.Rxd8+ Rxd8
10.Bxd8 Kxd8

White's 2-pawn advantage is enough to prevail

Problem 4 - White To Play

20170311 - Problem 4.jpg
rn1q1r2/ppp2pk1/5n1p/3P4/2P3b1/1P1B1R2/PB4PP/R2Q2K1 w - - 0 1

1. Rxf6!

Now, watch what happens if Black takes the queen:

2.Rg6+ Kh7
3.Rg7+ Kh8
4.Rh7+ Kg8

So, is there anything better Black can do? Well, instead of snarfing the queen, he could always try:


But, ultimately, he'll just die tired:

2.Qxg4+ Kf8
3.Rxf7+ Kxf7
4.Rf1+ Qf6

Not 4...Ke7 5.Qe6#. Or if 4...Ke8 then 5.Qxg8+ Kd7 6.Qe6#

5.Qe6+ Kf8
6.Rxf6+ Kg7

Congrats to my chess app for finding the second, longer, line.

To sum up, it's either a mate in 5 or a mate in 7.

Endgame of the Week

20170311 - Endgame.jpg
8/4pkPp/7B/3K4/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1

Short answer: White can force a win.

Longer answer: Ordinally it is not possible to mate with a single bishop, but there are certain circumstances where it's possible. Like if you can force him into the corner. However, the first move is counterintuitive"

1. g8=Q+! Kxg8

The capture is forced, and Black is driven back

2. Ke6 Kh8
3. Kf7 e5

Black's position is so restricted, this is his only legal move.

4. Bg7#

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 05:02 PM

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