Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Norths Winter Challenge

This was a game I played during the Winter challenge 2 weeks ago.

During the middlegame, my opponent made some mistakes and I made some mistakes as well and we quickly transpose into an endgame in the following position.

The question is:

Should White play Qxh5(yes that Knight really is en-prise)? Black's a-pawn is going to head home soon because Black will be trying to play Qd4+ on the next move followed by a2 then a1=Q.

Answer can be found by highlighting the brackets

[1. Qxh5 is correct but there's a hidden reason. Play continued....
1.... Qd4+
2. Kh1 a2

3. Rxg7+!! It's mate in 3]


  1. Nice! I found the more boring 1.Rf8+ Rxf8 2.Qxf8+ Qxf8 3.Bd5+ Qf7 (3...Kh8 4.Rxf8#) 4.Bxf7+ and 5.Bxh5 winning, but your method is more convincing.

  2. Me too, as Aziridine, looked at Rf8+ since after the variation given by Aziridine. One may even sacriface the rook for the a-pawn since the white e-pawn will promote if black goes for a line with Bc3.

    The best for black would be:

    1. Rf8+ Rxf8 2. Qxf8+ Qxf8 3. Bd5+ Qf7 4. Bxf7+ Kf8 5. Bxh5 Ke7 6. Ra1

    But even then black will be a full rook down.

  3. I think taking the knight is playable because pushing the A pawn will require tempi even with the queen check on d4. There's also a rook sac on g7+ :
    1. Qh5 Qd4+
    2. Kh1 a2
    3. Rg7+ Kg7
    4. Rf7+

  4. Aziridine, chesstiger: It was not easy to see the most forcing continuation at first. Initially I too thought of Rf8+ etc. but something in my mind flashed and said there's another tactical combo shot somewhere here that might make my game easier.

    I admit that I had spent a good 10-15 minutes looking at the position and then trying to find the tactic. It was hard to find in an OTB situation for me.

    It was only when I work backwards and saw the sac Rxg7+ that I'd realised that everything then falls into place.

    Chessbuff: Well done! That was what was played out and what I found out as well.


  5. Thanks. It was certainly a point in your game where one should have a long think. Notice that if white plays his king to h2 after the check, there good possibilities for black.

  6. I kept forgetting that the pawn had not promoted so I was missing Rf7+ That's a pretty finish.

  7. chessbuff: That is an interesting thought about Kh2. I didn't think much of it as I just thought I played it safe after Kh1. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    Polly: Thank you for your compliments. I still find it amazing what the lack of one tempo can do to a game.