Sunday, April 24, 2011

Puzzles With Imbalances

These are actual games I've played (don't scroll past the diagrams if you don't want to look at the solutions).

Game 1 - Winning Attack

Black (Me) has a winning attack, time to bring home the bacon....

(Black to play)

Game 2 - Find The Best Move

White had traded a Knight+Bishop for a Rook+Pawn to pry open my King position. I knew that Black has a slight advantage but I was thinking of how to best activate my pieces here. I sank into a deep long think.... and came up with a move. What move was it?
Black to play) :

Game 3 - I Didn't See It Coming

My opponent thought that he could defend with Black and played 1.... Qd6. What did he miss?

(White to play)


Game 1

1... Bf1+ 2. Rxf1 Rh2#

Game 2:

The move I played was 1.... Nh4! Suddenly the dawn of realisation came when my opponent realised that the Knight on h4 is untouchable. White tried 2. Qb3+ Bd5 and resigned a few moves later.

Added Question: Can you figure out why White cannot play 2. gxh4? Because it ends in mate!

1... Nh4
2. gxh4 Qxh2+
3. Kg1 Qh1+
4. Ke2 Qf3+
5. Kg1 e3!! and mate cannot be prevented

Game 3 -

The winning move was 1. f4! And mate cannot be stopped as the the next move is Qh7#. If
1. f4 Nxf4
(else 1.... Rh8 2. f7=Q+ Bxf8 3. Qg5#)
2. Rxf4 also results in mate after Qh7+ and Qh4#


  1. Hi interesting concept. Game 1 Bf1+ Ng2 Bxg2# Game 2 Nge5 can't be that bad either Game 3 I thought Qh7+ Kg5 f4+ Nxf4 Qf5+ works in a similar way

  2. Hi HeinzK!

    Thanks for the addendum on Game 1. Ooops, I forgot to put that variation in! :)

    For Game 2, Nge5 is indeed good. But what I didn't like initially about the move was that it blocks the Queen's diagonal and I felt that if I were to maintain this clear line of diagonal, White will forever have to worry about piece sacrifices around its pawn structure. It was only after I started to calculate Nh4 and that it could not be taken that I realise that White is in huge trouble after this move.

    For Game 3, Qh7+ was nice. But I latched onto the idea of f4 because the problem was that pesky Knight that could provide the King with some cover and I could not calculate that it works as well within the time constraint.

    Thank you for the comments! You've certainly given me something to think about!


  3. I saw Bxg4 for the first one, although your path was shorter.

    I got f4 for game 3.

    Game two I would have managed to lose somehow.

    Great games btw.

  4. I must be loosing my mind but how is 1.f4 Nxf4 2.Qh7 mate?

  5. Hi Lauri,

    1. f4 Nxf4 (else 1.... Rh8 2. f7=Q+ Bxf8 3. Qg5#)
    2. Rxf4 also results in mate after Qh7+ and Qh4#

    If Black attempts to guard the h-file with 2... Rh8 then the earlier variation with f7=Q+ (listed within the brackets) also leads to the same mating combination.


  6. Hi Wang,

    Thanks for the compliments!!