Consolidating a won game

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that White wins most cleanly with 1. Nc2!. The idea is that Rxa2 is met by 2. Qd8+ Qxd8 3. Rxd8+ Kg7 4. Na3

In this week’s problem, White has to find the cleanest method of establishing a won game.

At present, he has two pieces for a Rook, but his Knight is pinned and the Black Rook is active on the seventh rank.

How should White consolidate?

Steven Carr


Defense Wins Games

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that White does best to play 1. Qf3!

If Black swaps queens, the ending is easier for White to win. In the game, White won after 1… Qc1+ 2. Qf1 Qe3+ 3. Bf2 Qxa3 4. Bd4 with a winning attack.

In this week’s problem, White is a piece up, but he is faced with a vicious attack.

What is the best way for White to defend?

Steven Carr


Winning By Playing It Safe

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that White can push Black over the edge by playing 1. Ra8. Then Black just has too many pins, pieces en prise and threats to cope with.

This week’s problem illustrates the importance of winning won positions. In the diagram, White is a piece up. he is winning, but needs to make sure his opponent wants to resign. His opponent won’t want to resign if he feels he can still conjure up something out of nothing.

If you prevent your opponent from having hopes of saving the game, he is more likely to resign.

How does White squash Black’s counterplay? White has to be careful. His bishop is attacked, the Black rook might come to e1 with a check, and possibly one day the passed Black c-pawn might become a nuisance.

White wants to prevent all of these bad things happening.

What should he play?

Steven Carr


Over The Edge

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that Kramnik as White played 1. Ng5 h6 2. Ne4 and the White knight finds a very good square on d6.

This week’s problem illustrates the importance of driving your opponent over the edge, when his position is only just holding together.

Black has a bishop which is pinned and attacked. The two bishops standing opposite each other create a lot of tactical tension. There is clearly a storm coming. How can White increase the pressure on Black’s position, so that one of Black’s pieces falls off the board?

Steven Carr


Think Ten Times, Play Once

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that White wins with 1.Nb8+ Kc8 2. Re8+ Kb7 3. Bc6+ Kb6 4 Qe3+ ! Ka5 5. b4+

The saying ‘Think ten times, play once’ is attributed to Franz Liszt. The idea is that before you play a piece of music, you should think about what you are trying to achieve. If you don’t know what you are supposed to be getting from the music, how can you play good music?

This saying also applies in chess.

In this week’s problem, many players would not even think once. They would just automatically castle.

But what is White trying to achieve in the position? If you think once, or perhaps twice, you might avoid making an automatic move with White, and instead make the move that Kramnik thought of.

Steven Carr


Which Check?

Last Monday’s problem reminds us that lazy analysis can cost points.

If White carelessly plays 1.b7 , Black draws with 1…c5 2. Kb5 Kb7 3. Kxc5 Kc7 4. Kd5 f4! and after 5. gxf4 Kd7 Black has the opposition and draws.

Instead, White wins with 1. Kb5! Kb7 2. bxc7 Kxc7 3. Kc5 Kd7 4. Kd5 Ke7 5. Ke5 f4 6. gxf4! and wins.

In this week’s position, White has to play and win. He has plenty of discovered checks but don’t be lazy. Work out which discovered check wins.

Steven Carr


King and Pawn Endings – or Lazy Analysis

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that White plays 1. Qf4!. This wins after 1…Kh8 2. Qh6 Rg8 3.Rf3 Qf8 4. Qxh7+! and mates.

King and Pawn endings are good at showing the perils of lazy analysis. Lazy analysis costs points.

If White lazily plays 1. b7 in the diagram position, he will only draw. How does Black save the game after 1.b7 and what should White play instead to ensure he wins the game?

Steven Carr


Weak Squares Around The King

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that Black plays 1…d5!. After that , the White bishop on b3 is caged in, and can never take part in the game. Black is effectively a pieces up after he plays c6, Bc8 and Bf5.

In this week’s problem, White senses that the dark squares around Black’s king are very weak, and decides to launch an attack. What does he play?

Steven Carr


Winning Pieces Without Taking Them

This week’s problem is about how to be a piece up without taking more of your opponents pieces than he has taken of yours.

The solution is that you bury one of your opponent’s pieces alive so that it can never enter the game.

How can Black to play ensure that he is , to all intents and purposes, playing with an extra piece?

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that White plays 1.f5! and then Black will have a weak pawn on e6 for White to attack.

Steven Carr


The Two Bishops Again

The solution to last Monday’s problem is that White plays 1. c5! to get a large advantage.

The Black Knight on a4 then has few squares, and the White Bishop on f1 can move to a6, helping White to take control of the b-file by stopping Black putting his Rooks on the b-file.

In this week’s problem, White is again faced with the task of making his two bishops count.

One clue is that the Black knight on d5 is very strong. It needs to be undermined.

How does White weaken the Black position?

Steven Carr