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April 01, 2017

Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread 04-01-2017

The Scholar's Mate (c. 1857-1859)
Photo by Oscar Gustav Rejlander (1813–1875)

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 enthusiasts.

Pic Note

According to that date, this has to be one of the earliest photographs still extant. I wonder how long they had to hold that pose for the primitive lens to gather in enough light for a decently exposed photograph.

Of course you can click on it to see a larger version. Or click on this link, click the photo, and use your mouse's scroll button to make it bigger or smaller. The pieces are interesting. At first I thought they were Staunton design, the pawns look reasonably Staunton, but then I noticed the bishops don't look quite right. And the rooks are kind of funky, too. Unfortunately, the knights aren't visible. So, sort of Staunton, but not quite. Maybe a design that Staunton designers could have used to work from.

Also, they appear to be using a large book for the board(?). Was there some kind of checkered pattern imprinted on the book binding that allowed the volume to be pressed into service as a chessboard? Or are they using the book to support a thin board, like a table? Mysteries abound.

(h/t Barb the Evil Genius for today's pic)

Problem 1 - White To Play (77)

Hint: White mates in 2

20170401 - Problem 1.jpg
4rr2/1ppb4/2q3pB/p3k3/3n3Q/1BP5/PP3PP1/2K5 w - - 0 1

Problem 2 - White To Play (448)

Hint: White wins material

20170401 - Problem 2.jpg
7k/1p2Qbpp/1q3r2/p2P3r/4Rp2/P4P2/1P4BP/3R3K w - - 0 1

steampunk chess 2.jpgSteampunk Chess
Click For Larger Version

Problem 3 - Black To Play (BWTC 203)

Hint: it's a bit tricky, but Black can mate in 3

20170401 - Problem 3.jpg
r1b2r1k/pppp2pp/8/4N3/1PBn3q/2Q5/P2N1nPP/R1B1KR2 b Q - 0 1

U.S. Championships

The 2017 U.S. Men's and Women's Chess Championships are under way:

The 2017 U.S. Championship is a 12-player round-robin tournament featuring the strongest players in the USA, who compete for USD $194,000 in prize money, as well as the coveted title of U.S. Champion. If two or more players are tied for first place, a tiebreak playoff will be held. For the 9th consecutive year the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis hosts the championship.

Any scores or standings I put here will be obsolete by the time you read it, so just click here for further informa

Problem 4 - Black To Play (452)

Black is down a bishop. What should he do now?

Hint: Black can trickily regain some material

20170401 - Problem 4.jpg
3Q4/5p1k/5Pp1/pB5q/Pr6/6P1/6KP/3R4 b - - 0 1

Endgame of the Week (453)

White is to move. What's the best course of action?

20170401 - Endgame.jpg
8/8/B3P3/3k4/5K2/2P4b/8/8 w - - 0 1


Solutions Update

Problem 1 - White To Play

20170401 - Problem 1.jpg
4rr2/1ppb4/2q3pB/p3k3/3n3Q/1BP5/PP3PP1/2K5 w - - 0 1

This is from the 1892 Steinitz v. Tchigorin match.

1.Qxd4+ Kf5

Problem 2 - White To Play

20170401 - Problem 2.jpg
7k/1p2Qbpp/1q3r2/p2P3r/4Rp2/P4P2/1P4BP/3R3K w - - 0 1

1. Qe8+!

You might be tempted to think that there's a quick win here starting with 1.Qf8+, but no, actually, there isn't: 1...Bg8 2.Re8 Rxh2+ (2...Rxf8 3. Rxf8) 3.Kxh2 Rh6+ 4.Bh3 Qf2+ 5.Kh1 Rxh3#

1... Bg8 (and not 1...Bxe8 2.Rxe8+ Rf8 3.Rxf8#)
2.Qxh5 and White has won a rook outright.

Problem 3 - Black To Play

20170401 - Problem 3.jpg
r1b2r1k/pppp2pp/8/4N3/1PBn3q/2Q5/P2N1nPP/R1B1KR2 b Q - 0 1

Another embarrassing failiure for me. I tried and tried, could not see the solution. I had to have my chess app solve it for me. Duh. Especially since the moves are all forced:

2.Kd1 Qe1+
3.Rxe1 Nf2#

...after which my app told me "Duh. What a dope."

Problem 4 - Black To Play

20170401 - Problem 4.jpg
3Q4/5p1k/5Pp1/pB5q/Pr6/6P1/6KP/3R4 b - - 0 1


Forced. Anything else is disastrous: (2. Kf1 Qf3+ 3. Ke1 Qf2#)


You don't often see one of these "cross pin" type positions.

3.Rxb2 Qxd8

Black has forced White to exchange his queen for a rook. It should be enough to enable Black to escape losing.

Sometimes, you just have to take what you can get.

Endgame of the Week

20170401 - Endgame.jpg
8/8/B3P3/3k4/5K2/2P4b/8/8 w - - 0 1

1.Bc8! Bf1

White has nothing to fear from 1...Bxe6 2.Bxe6+ Kxe6 3.Ke4 Kd6 4.Kd4 Kc6 5.Kc4 winning

2.e7 Bb5

White schlongs Black!

4.Ba6 Bxa6
5.e8=Q and wins

Black's possession of a bishop is not enough to stave off checkmate. The rest of the game might go like this:

6. Qe2+ Kb4
7. Qb2+ Kc4
8. Ke5 Ba4
9. Qd4+ Kb3
10.Kd6 Ka3
11.Kc5 Bc2
12.Qc3+ Bb3
13.Qb4+ Ka2
14.Qd2+ Ka3
15.Kd4 Ka4
16.Qg5 Ka3
17.Kc3 Bd5
18.Qxd5 Ka4
19.Qg5 Ka3

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 05:07 PM

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