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White to move and win February 3, 2009

Posted by dorigo in Art, books, chess, games, internet, personal.
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Minutes ago I logged on the Internet Chess Club for some evening fun, after an evening spent playing with my kids, feeding them, and reading them a chapter of the first book of the Harry Potter saga (which, I hate to say, is excellently written). And here is the position I worked out with a similarly rated player (I am white):

White to move. Can you spot the move I played ? Mind you, I did not analyze with a chess engine the position yet, and I just spent a minute looking at it post-mortem, so I do not claim that my move is the best one in this position. It might even be flawed. But I am darn proud of it… The game ended two moves later. I will leave this little riddle on for tonight, and will give the solution tomorrow. In the meantime, do write below what you’d have played. But beware: this was a 5′ blitz game, and I had less than two minutes left for all my moves – investing more than 30 seconds of thought on the position would cost you the game in most situations.


1. Pinin - February 3, 2009

g6. I think it’s a good move!

2. tomate - February 4, 2009

I would go g6. He has to eat that pawn, and will do that with his horse, and then H7!!

3. Jim Graber - February 4, 2009

I stopped playing chess thirty years ago, and I should leave it that way. I wasn’t even that good back then, and I have wasted far too much time looking at this position, but I don’t see any easy win after g7,Rxg7;Nxg7,fg.
By the way, I am on tenterhooks waiting to hear what the ghost candidates are.
Best to you and the kids.

4. dorigo - February 4, 2009

Hi Jim, all,

it is true that after 1.g6 Rxg6! 2.Nxg6 fxg6 3.f7 Re7 (Qxh4?? fxe8 ) white still has a lot of homework. However, g6 is still a very pleasant move to play, to a square defended fivefold.

The other variations are all easily winning: besides the obvious 1….Nxg6 2.Qxh7 mate there is 1….fxg6 2.f7! winning a rook.

In the game, my opponent thought 20 seconds and played 1….Nf5 (defending from 2.g7 mate) and ran into 2.Qxh7+!Nxh7 3.Rxh7 mate.


5. carlbrannen - February 4, 2009

My instinct was g6, but I’m a duffer. On the other hand, Fritz 7 and 90 seconds on my laptop says g6 gives white an advantage of +1.63, while the next best move, Re1, is only +0.53. So Fritz agrees.

Strangely, Fritz likes the continuation fxg6 (1.62) better than Rxg6 (2.03). The continuations:

1.) g6 fxg6
2.) f7 Re7
3.) fxg8Q+ Kxg8
4.) Re1 Rf7

Best Rxg6:
1.) g6 Rxg6
2.) Nxg6+ Qxg6
3.) Rg1 Nf5
4.) Qf4 Qxf6
5.) Rh5 Ng6
6.) Rxf5 Nxf4

Best Rxg6, fxg6:
1.) g6 Rxg6
2.) Nxg6+ fxg6?
3.) f7 Kg7
4.) fxe8Q

Note the last move is because otherwise, Qxh7++.

6. dorigo - February 4, 2009

Ah Carl, that’s right! The last variation is the definitive confirmation of the soundness of 1.g6!
I did see that 1.g6 Rxg6 2.Nxg6+ Qxg6 is bad in view of 3.Rg1 (kind of obvious), but I failed to see the Queen sacrifice in the last var.

Nice position indeed.

7. pecaturjogja - May 12, 2009

g6 game over!!

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