Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Chess Club is Busy! Stop on in - It's Chess Season 2018-2019

Good luck Fabiano Caruana-in current Championship match against Magnus Carlson!
We are averaging over ten players per evening right now. There is no better time to stop by the Club and play some chess!

We have players at all levels and the top guys are always willing to review games or give lessons.
It's cold outside but the chess action inside the Hartland Senior Center on Monday nights is hot!
Looking forward to seeing you there!

Here are a couple interesting positions to look at. They have to do with pawn promotions.
Usually when we finally are able to get one of our pawns to the opponent's back rank, grabbing a queen to replace that pawn is automatic. But careful......nothing is 100% - except death and taxes.

White to move and WIN!

Take a closer look before grabbing the queen.

Black is all set to promote, thinking he has successfully won with beautiful endgame play. But do you see the surprise White has for him?

1.  Kf1 !!      

Now if 1. ......b1 = Q, White simply plays 2. Nc3 mate!

So Black realizing that killer threat has to stop it.

1. ........             b1 = N!

This prevents the immediate loss, but not the loss. White has another tricky more at his disposal.

2. Kf2!!

Poor Black! He is in a chess situation known as a Zugzwang! No matter where he moves he is in trouble. And in this case, the worst trouble. White will mate with either Ne3 or Nc3.

Black to move and try and win!

What about this one. Black to move. Take a look at this position before reading on.

If Black promotes with
1. ........               g1=Q

it would appear to be an easy win. However White has the stalemate trap of :

2. Rd7 +         Ke8
3. Rd8+          etc

If Black captures the rook, White has no legal move, so it's a stalemate draw. If Black moves the King, the rook simply keeps checking the King, offering himself as a sacrifice - as long as he is careful not to let the King escape outside the e-file.

Black's surprising winning line is:
1. .......           g1 = B!
2. Rd7+         Ke8
3. Rh7           Nd5
4. Kg2           Be3

And Black should win from there. However, Igor3000 sees a way White still draws or drags the game out so long that Black just takes the draw in spite of being ahead over a pawn (-1.5). That line looks like this:

1. .......           g1 = B!
2. Kg3          Nd5
3. Kf3           Bb4
4. Kg3          Ne7

And the computer Igor3000 had the game going on another 30 moves without a mate in sight. Could Black eventually get the win! Possibly. With perfect play or White blundering.

The game was not the point of the article. The need to "under-promote sometimes" is. Black could only win with an under-promotion in the last example. And in the first example, Black's only chance was an under-promotion.
So take a look before you automatically slam a queen down on that square.