“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”
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
A puzzle taken from a game between titled players and GMs is challenging. Sometime the combinations involved are reminding us they are mortals. Many other times they are on a different level. Have a look at this one, and decide how is Black winning:
GM Aagaard posted the position in Twitter, calling it a big blunder by White. Also, he added there were two moves needed to be a fulfilling answer. I took my time to think about it, and it soon became apparent there is no obvious spectacular combination. My first thought was that it should have something to do with forcing White to play “Kg1-h2“. Maybe Black could take advantage of the pinned Re5, as well as use “Rg8-g4” to threaten the d4-pawn or play “Rg4-h4” at the right time to threaten backrank mate. I could not find anything convincing.
Covering the f7-pawn with “Rg8-g7” did not look like a move to follow up after a blunder by your opponent. I also saw that Re5 could keep track of the passed pawn with “Re5-c5” after the queens got exchanged. At that point I was out of ideas. I guess this is a position where playing the game as Black, or seeing the game live should help. White underestimated the power of the passed c-pawn and paid for it:
Did you get it? The solution feels perfect and implacable. White missed stopping it, and now there is no return, argument, nor option to get out of the way. I wish you all many such positions on the winning side. Please replay the game to also see how the players got here.