“What Say You?” The 1 Minute Challenge (53)

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

The internet continues to be an intriguing source of information. You can find on it anything from total junk to real gems. One can only hope we will get better at finding and posting more gems. Right now things are still very unclear when it comes to it. Take for example the following puzzle. It calls for White to move and draw:

It was proposed by GM Judit Polgar on Twitter, inviting people to post their solutions. After trying it as well, I took the time to read some of the tweets she got back. Many (a lot more than it should anyway), went for the obvious wrong solution: 1. Re6? Qxe6 2. Nc5+ … One poster took his time to reply back to many of those wrong answers by stating the obvious: the move 2. Nc5+ is not legal since Nb3 is pinned at that moment. As a result White is lost. So one way to look at it is why even bother to post a solution if you cannot see move 2 is illegal? The span of attention needs work more than the chess skills.

Moving on from the losing 1. Re6? the real challenge is to look for something else. Look for what? There are no more fork threats, meaning an endgame knight versus bishop is not possible. It is helpful the Queen can’t do any damage right now. Of course the Knight can’t really move freely because of the checkmate threat on b2. In the same time Nb3 feels being in the way of the rook, so what about that?

Right about now I was thinking what other kind of draw could White get? The next one coming to mind was a stalemate. That meant the queen had to be forced to cover all the remaining escape squares of the White king. How could white to that though? I looked at 1. Nc5+ that gave the Rook freedom. However the Black king had a lot of space to run around and the c3-square was covered by Bh8. This meant the c-file was safe for Black. I hope you have reached this far on your own.

I was curious what was the d2-pawn doing and I took a shot at 1. d2-d4 with the idea Nc5+ and Re3-a3-b3. Sadly after the simple 1. d4? Bxd4 or even 1. d4? Kb5 Black wins. Do you see the solution now? If you do, more power to you. If you do not, going through this exercise has been as valuable as finding the solution on your own. The more you practice, the better chance you will find it on your own next times. Enjoy!

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:
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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