“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
The third and last foray into our graduation exam for level 5 looks at how the students delivered the winning combination. It is important to keep in mind Lasker’s opinion:
“The hardest game to win is a won game”
However, this is not enough. We need to practice winning our won positions and games during training on a regular basis. It is the only way we get into the habit of doing it, helping us out in any situation. The most critical one normally is in time trouble.
In below diagram, it is White to move and win. There are different ways for that to happen, as well as for the game to go in the opposite direction. With all the time in the World, this is not a very complicated puzzle. Please give it a try and then move on to see how the students solved it. The annotations below are by my students.
Got the winning idea. Overall he gave the most complete answers. You could tell he spent time adding annotations for all.
Short sighted, his solution wants to be cute. It works in this case. However, it is consistent with his game play. Many a time he ended up drawing or even losing such positions.
Got the winning idea. Eliminating the tension at the first move is also consistent with his overall play. He forgets how well tactics such as pinning can be used to give the opponent no chances.
Sent his solutions later. The same as Walter, he misses the potential of using a devastating pin along the a1-h8 diagonal. His solution works anyway. However, you can tell he likes to play it safe and that is not always the best course of action.
I was pleased to see three out of four good answers. This means that as far as our lessons are concerned, they grasped the concept of exchanging into a simply won endgame if possible. They would not waste any time looking for a big blow tactics that does not exist. It is up to them to continue practicing in order to get better at it. How would you score the above solutions? Which one do you think is the best?