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Sunday chess riddle February 8, 2009

Posted by dorigo in chess, games, internet, personal.
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Here is a rather simple chess riddle for you, taken -as I’ve taken a habit of doing- from a blitz game I played a minute ago on the Internet Chess Club. Below I give you all the moves of the game leading to the position:

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.Nc3 Nxc3 4.dxc3 d6 5.exd6 exd6 6.Be3 Be7 7.Qd2 0-0 8.0-0-0 a5 9.Nf3 a4 10.a3 Nc6 11.Bc4 Be6 12.Bxe6 fxe6 13.Nd4 Nxd4 14.cxd4 d5 15.Bf4 c5 16.Kb1 Qb6 17.Be5 c4 18.Ka2 Ra5 19.f3 Rb5 20.Qc3 Rc8 21.h4?

I am black. Can you guess the move I played and the possible followup ? I will give the remainder of the game tomorrow.

(A disclaimer: the moves of the game listed above are not to be taken too seriously: as I said this was a blitz game played on the internet, and I am sure there are imprecise moves from both sides leading to the diagrammed position…)


1. carlbrannen - February 8, 2009

I wasn’t able to see the secret move in a couple minutes thinking of it, so I started up the chess engine. Fritz liked this game other than a pair of blunders on move 15, and the somewhat less serious error 21 h4, which I wouldn’t have taken advantage of.

2. carlbrannen - February 8, 2009

I forgot to add, that it appeared that White was working on getting into an end game and winning on time.

3. piscator - February 8, 2009

Rb3 looks quite tempting, white’s forced to take and then after 22. cxb3 cxb3+ 23. Kb1 Rxc3 24. bxc3 Bxa3 it doesn’t seem white has enough going in time to prevent Black gently withdrawing his bishop and finishing off with a pawn roll to a2 and b2.


4. Fred - February 8, 2009

What about 21… Rb3! (White queen threatened) 22.cxb3 c4xb3+! 23.White resigns?

Like Carl, I was stumped within the reasonable allotted time for blitz chess playing. The first clue was that you wouldn’t have posted it unless there was a dynamic ending. I kept wanting to sacrifice the rook at 21… Rxb2+ but this was a losing proposition for black. (Light bulb flash) Ah, ha! Tomasso is up to no good with a trick up his sleeve. Thanks for a classic example of why chess often reveals a long and incestuous association with fencing.

5. Singlino - February 8, 2009

Rb3 after which white should resign

6. dorigo - February 9, 2009

Hi all,

indeed, 21…. Rb3! wins on the spot. White has three options.

The first is 22. Qd2 c3! 23.cxb3 (23.Qd3? Rxa3+! followed by Qxb2 mate; or 23.bxc3? Rxa3 mate) Qxb3+ 24.Ka1 cxd2 and wins;

The second is 22.Qe1 c3! 23.Rb1 (23.cxb3 Qxb3+ and mate; or 23.bxc3 Rxa3 mate) cxb2 24.Rxb2 (or 24.cxb3 Qxb3 mate, or Rxa3 mate on other moves) Rxb2+ and wins.

The third, and best one, is 22.cxb3 cxb3+ 23.Kb1 Rxc3 24.bxc3 Bxa3 and black wins easily.

In the game, to my disappointment, white resigned at once.


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