04 August 2008

Reinfeld Busts

Many of the solutions to Fred Reinfeld's tactical puzzles hinge upon suboptimal moves. Problem 297 in 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations is slightly atypical.

White to move

The problems in this text are organized by theme, so the solver immediately knows that a discovered attack figures into the solution. In this position, the only conceivable discovery is against the queen, so the bishop must be able to move with check. Thus, 1.Rxe6+! If 1...Bxe6, then 2.Bb5+ wins the queen for a bishop and rook, and Black's pawn structure is compromised. If 1...fxe6, then Bg6+. However, the king can move. To Reinfeld's credit, he gives the lines just mentioned and offers, "Black must move his king, remaining with a decidedly inferior game" (213).

The next problem in the text is more typical of the sort of suboptimal moves that pepper the solutions.

White to move

There is a discovery after Reinfeld's line: 1.Be7 Re8 2.Bb4 threatening both checkmate and the queen. But Black has other options. When I played this position against Hiarcs 10 a few months ago, the engine replied to 1.Be7 with Bxf2+. After 2.Kxf2 Re8 3.Bb4 Qb6+ saves the queen at the cost of a bishop. White still has a winning advantage, but the position is less one-sided than in Reinfeld's solution. Against the engine, I was able to achieve only a draw.

This morning I played the position again, but against a newer version of Hiarcs. Hiarcs 12 played 1...f5. That game continued 2.Ra4 Bxf2+ (still the bishop sacrifice) 3.Kxf2 Qb6+ 4.Kf1 Rf7 and this time I went on to win, showing improvement on may part.

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