Black to Play and Win!

The position below was reached after Anish Giri’s 70th move against Yifan Hou in the final round of the Masters Group in the recent Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk-aan-Zee. Up until this point Yifan had maintained a winning position with seven pieces on the board. Her next move Ke3 made the position drawn. Without looking at the answer below, can you do better?

Congratulations if you found the correct move! You are either a genius, a supercomputer or just lucky! There are other moves which still maintain the winning position, but take longer to checkmate. How do I know the correct move myself? Well, I have access to the supercomputer at Moscow State University which has solved any chess position with seven or less pieces!

Zakharov and Mackhnichev were programmers who wrote the algorithm to produce the 7-piece tablebase using the Lomonosov Supercomputer. I had a shock introduction to a 6-piece tablebase about six years ago, when one of my opponents in a correspondence game suddenly announced that he had a winning position based on a tablebase and suggested I resign!

Since 2014 the ICCF have allowed claims based on the 6-piece tablebase and have also made clear that you can get access to a 7-piece tablebase if you buy certain chess software. This, unfortunately, means that correspondence players no longer can play endgames fairly like over-the-board players! This is not the fault of the ICCF, who really have no choice but to keep up with the latest developments. When chess is solved, and I do think it will be, then correspondence chess will surely cease.

John Rhodes