Puzzle Challenge 2 – Solutions

by Anirudh Daga
3/31/2024 – In our second ChessBase Challenge instalment we gave you a set of puzzles that were meant to challenge your mind. Were you able to solve the positions, each with a mind-boggling idea required to reach the goal? You had two weeks to do so. Today we provide the solutions.

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Puzzle 1

Solution: 1.Nf2+ Kg1 2.Ng4 Kh1 (2...h1Q? 3.Ne2#) 3.Na2 Kg1 4.Nc3 Kh1 (4...h1Q? 5.Ne2#) 5.Ne4 Kg1 6.Ng3 h1=Q 7.Ne2#

As many readers pointed out in the comments, this was indeed a “more-mover” rather than a study, with the stipulation needing to be a mate in seven. Nevertheless, the idea of the composition can be seen where the white knight (starting from c1) makes a very long round-trip, to finally come to e2, a place where it could have reached four moves ago! The intention behind this is interesting, since Kh1 must be prevented and the quickest way to do that is to manoeuvre the knight to g3.

Here you can see all the moves the two white knights must make in order to trap the black king.

Puzzle 2

Solution: 1.Nd4+ Kc5 2.Kh1!! Bf8 3.Ne6+ Kb5 4.Nxf8 1-0. Refutations after Black's other defensive moves are given in the replay window below.

A relatively famous study where Richard Reti’s main idea was to show the domination of the black bishop. Wherever the black bishop moves after 2. Kh1!, it will always be met by knight fork winning the piece! And of course, if Black was to take the white knight, the white pawn would evidently be unstoppable. Incredible, short and sweet study!

Puzzle 3

Solution: 1.e6 Kd2 2.Ne5 Rh1 3.e7+ Rh3+ 4.Ka2 Rh8 5.Nc4+ Kc2 6.Nd6 Rh5 7.b4!

It is surprisingly hard to visualise, though there is no shocking move, as in the previous puzzle. 2.Ne5 is vital to block the e-file where 2…Re1 is met by the cunning fork of 3.Nf3+. It is particularly important to think about forks when there is a passed pawn present, but this study goes on to show how important it is to think of all the different ideas and tactics present!

In the original Reti study (1928) the White king was on b4 and the pawn on b3. This was "cooked" by Andrė Chėron. But he also tried to restore the study by placing the pawn on b2 and the White king on b3. The idea was good, but he was unable to get the execution right. In the end, it was left to Pal Benko to find the right solution. So here you have three great minds at work, Reti, Chėron and Benko! Here's the article by Pal Benko which inspired me.

All solutions in the Replay App

In the above ChessBase Replay App you can click on the moves or use the arrow keys to replay them. Click on the fan button to get engine assistance.

Magic of Chess Tactics 2

FM Claus Dieter Meyer has put under the microscope a comprehensive fund of topical and timeless games / fragments. On video Hamburg GM Dr. Karsten Müller has outlined corner points of Meyer's work and created 14 tests plus 10 interactive test sets.

Anirudh was born in Delhi, India, and now lives in Singapore. He is one of the world's most promising young problem composers, specializing in positions that are fascinating and unconventional. He became interested in chess composition after winning the Christmastide Solving Contest, at the age of twelve. Anirudh grew from strength to strength, competed at the World Chess Solving Championships, and composed numerous problems that have all found their due place in reputable problem magazines. It is his goal to spread the joy of chess composition and solving!
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chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 4/1/2024 07:07
Frits Fritschy should be thanked for informing us that Reti’s original 1928 study is indeed sound.
For 75 years from Kasparian to Benko and others we had all believed, it was cooked by
Andrė Chėron. Harold van der Heijden, however, found it sound and included it with detailed analysis in HH DB VI. I have simplified it with more explanation here:
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 4/1/2024 02:14
Benko first published his version in “Chess Life”, (it was no longer called Chess Life & Review)March 2008 issue: https://rb.gy/nzwlpd
He offered a detailed account of the same in EG 182 (2010) : https://rb.gy/s8gfjf
In the ChessBase article (2014) mentioned here he reiterated all that he had offered by way of analysis first in 2008 and second in 2010. The correct date for the Benko version has to be 2008 and not 2014.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 4/1/2024 12:19
About Réti's version (pb7, Kb4, Pb3), Kasparyan writes in his book 'Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies' that 'no solution was achieved' and that Chéron corrected it by moving the pawn to b2 and the king to b3. This is wrong on two points: firstly, Réti's version was correct, as in the supposed drawing variation 1.e6 Kf2 2.Ne5 Rg1, according to the 7-men tablebases, white wins with 3.Kc5!
I have the next-to-last version of Van der Heijden's endgame study database, and there the variation 3... Rg8 4.b4 (4.Nd7 wins as well) 4... Re8 is a draw after 5.Kd6 Ke3 6.b5 Kd4 7.b6 Rd8+! 8.Nd7 Rc8 9.Nf6 (9.e7?? Rc6#) 9... Rf8 10.Ng4 Re8. But instead, 5.Kd5!, keeping the black king way from the b-pawn, is winning. I don't know whether this is corrected in the latest version, now tablebases have gone one move further.
Secondly, Chéron's version was incorrect, as pointed out above. Now after 1.e6 Kd2! 2.Ne5 Rh1! 3.e7 Rh3+! 4.Ka2 Rh8 5.Nc4+ Kc2 6.Nd6?? Ra8 is mate.
Most importantly: Réti's version should be rehabilitated!
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 3/31/2024 11:56
For me the main, thematical variation in problem 3 is 1.e6 Re1!? 2.Ne5! where this time the black king is dominated, every sensible king move losing the rook.. (Others would say the rook is dominated, but the king is the one that has to move, like the bishop in problem 2.) With 1... Kd2 black can struggle a bit, but as written above, there is nothing
shocking. Other variations are also important: after 1... Kd4 2.Ne5 is again the only move. The same with 1... Kf2 (2.Nc5? Kg2/f3!) However, 1... Kf4 should be answered with 2.Nf6! Re1 3.e7 Rxe7 4.Nd5+, as 2.Ne5? Rg1! only draws.