“What Say You?” The 1 Minute Challenge (47)

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”
Bruce Lee

A quick reminder how it works:

  • Have a look at the position for 1 minute (watch the clock)
  • Think about the choices in front of you and pick the one you feel it is right
  • Verify it in your mind the best you can
  • Compare it with the solution

This week’s challenge is one I decided to solve from memory. It did not seem too complicated. It is White to move. Let’s see what you think of it:

It was posted online a while ago by GM Damian Lemos (ARG). The position is quite interesting. The White king is isolated from its pawns and it does not look like it has time to reach them for support. However they must try to hold on for as long as necessary to get support from their king. With this in mind, the first two pawn moves are easy to see. The only way to continue afterwards is to move the king towards the pawns. “Hey, this is easy to solve” I said to myself and messaged GM Lemos my solution:

Did you agree with my solution? If you did not, you were right. GM Lemos replied and we had a nice exchange:
GM Lemos “Yes but… Perhaps Black can draw here!”
Eugen “Interesting and intriguing! Will look into it for sure. Very nice puzzles btw”
Eugen “Hmm, you are right. At the end of my line there is 5… Ra8 and perpetual. There is not a lot else White can do, is it?”
GM Lemos “At the end of your line white is lost! In reality the only thing White can do, is to look for a draw!”
Hmm, that was a bummer. Then I started to look for draws such as the tries below:

The above solution was far too long. There was something I was missing for sure. I stopped looking at this for a while; it is a good idea to snap out of the moment when you feel you go in circles. Take a break and then come back to it later on with fresh eyes. The thing is I forgot about the puzzle for quite sometime, finding it this past week as I was cleaning my inbox. It all came back to me as unfinished business. I sat down determined to find the elusive solution and you know what? I found it! Hope you like it too.

Eugen Demian

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Valer Eugen Demian

Author: Valer Eugen Demian

The player – my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today’s standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor – my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chessessentials/id593013634?mt=8
I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek! View all posts by Valer Eugen Demian

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