“What Say You?” The 1 Minute Challenge (72)

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 puzzle fits the category really nice. It is from a rapid game played by a friend of mine. Here is what he says about this position and endgame:
Short of time, I calculated that exchanging rooks would allow my opponent to win my two K-side pawns and win with his f-pawn, so I played Rc5 and eventually lost. What did I overlook, an instructive concept with pawns? After the exchange of rooks, it takes me 11 moves to secure the promotion. On face of it, Black can convert quicker, but can he!?

Was the above explanation giving away useful tips? If you have recognized the pawn concept my friend mentioned, the puzzle could be considered easy. The first observation is that Ka2 cannot help right away. This means the K-side pawns must survive on their own. Does this ring a bell? The two isolated pawns can survive if they achieve the L-shaped pawn formation. Let’s give it a shot:

Now if Black wants to prevent the L-shaped pawn formation, the K-side pawns survive long enough for their King to arrive in the thick of the battle. This is probably the line Black should choose, hoping that time could run out before checkmate. Calculating the moves in this line should take only a few seconds. Depending how low White is on time, a win is secured.  You can also verify if indeed it takes White 11 moves to promote after the rooks’ exchange.

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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