Chess puzzle 34: a big let down

Yesterday was an important day for my team (Manhem III). With a win in our match against Säffle SK we would be the victor of our group (Allsvenskan div II – 5).

But it was not to be. Personally I feel responsable because I messed up against my opponent and therefore the match ended in a very disappointing 4-4.  

Before the game I told one off my team mates about my game plan: ‘I will play it very safe, just do some moves and hopefully he will make a mistake and I will punish him for it.’ This plan turned out to be very effective. That is: up to some point.

I gradually gained the upper hand after a dull start in the game. We arrived at move 20. White has the better pawn structure, a good versus bad bishop and he pins black down to the defense of c6. Moreover white has a ‘tiny’ threat. Black didn’t see it and played 20. – Qg7?? How can white take advantage of this mistake? Solution…

I did see (and play) the combination. But very soon after this I missed some better moves and finally the game petered out in a draw. The first stage of my plan was a big success. The second stage however was big let down with dire consequences for my team. 😦

Endgame: rook versus pawn

Winning an endgame with a rook against a lone pawn should be straightforward. But sometimes things are not so easy. These endgames can get a lot more complicated when the pawn is close to promotion.

Even more problems might arise when the pieces of the stronger side are in the wrong places.

When both problems occur in the same position, the ‘stronger’ side might be dead lost. See the first diagram. This position was posted by international chess master Johan Salomon from Norway on his twitter account. It is white to play and win. Solution…Read More »