31 March 2016

Imagine, Visualize, Calculate

Students in my beginning and advanced clubs were presented with this position this week.

White to move

Two questions were asked of the position.

1) What is White's final resource for avoiding loss?

2) How does Black end White's fantasies?

The young players were asked to work out the solutions without moving any pieces, and to express the solution in natural language and chess notation.

The key to the first question is recognizing stalemate if White can provoke Black to capture the rook.

Black can refute White's idea by escaping checks, except those that permit the queen to capture White's obnoxious rook.

Further in the game from which this position comes was an additional lesson concerning rook endgames. Because Black failed to answer the second question during the game, the position in the next diagram was reached.

Black to move

Here Black still has a decisive advantage.

After the moves played in the game, however, White was able to reach a superior position.

59...b5? 60.Rg6= b4 61.Rxf6 b3 62.Rb6 Rb1+ 63.Kg2 b2??+-

How should have Black played differently?

White, too, could have handled the game better after both sides promoted pawns.

64.f6 Kc2 65.f7 Ra1 66.f8Q b1Q

White to move

Find the fastest win. White opted for queen versus rook, which was not best.

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