2013 Championship

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stick a Fork in It

Our new logo features an interesting study problem which illustrates well the tactical theme of the knight fork. It is White to move. Can you solve it?

Find the solution with annotation after the fold.

This study is a 1st prize winner from the Korolkov–100 Jubillee competition in 2008 by Beliavsky. It is featured in the chapter on knight forks in the fothcoming book A Course in Chess Tactics by Bojkov and Georgiev.


A forcing queen sacrifice to begin the combination. [Already there's room to lose with 1.f4 Qg7+ 2.Kh5 exf4+ 3.Qf5+ Rxf5+ 4.Kh4 Qxg3#]

1...Kxf5 2.Ne7+ decoys the rook from protecting it's brother while keeping the theme of knight forks. [And again, danger lurks just behind the wrong move order. 2.Ne3+ Kf6 3.Ng4+ Qxg4 4.fxg4 Ng5 5.Nb8 Rd8 6.Nd7+ R5xd7 7.Kh5 Rh8#]

2...Rxe7 [2...Kf6 is also possible but loses quicker. 3.Nxg8+ Kf5 4.Ne3#]

As the author points out, White seems to be desperately short of material here. But now comes the parade of knight forks and captures.

3.Ne3+ Kf6 4.Nxd5+ Kf5 5.Nxe7+ Kf6 6.Nxg8+ Kf5 7.Ne7+ Kf6 8.Nd5+ Kf5 9.g4# 1–0


Ernie said...

At first I wondered whose move it was and figured it must be white's since black has a simple mate threatened: 1...Qg7+ 2.Kh5 Qg5#

This puts white in a desperate situation so the only move that seemed to stop mate is 1.Qf5+!!, luring the king to f5 to get the knights involved. I never considered 1.f4, which does stop the immediate mate threat mentioned above (while creating a mate threat of its own), but can't be good due to black's material advantage and initiative.

After 1...Kxf5, 2.Ne3+? Kf6 3.Ng4+ (going for a draw) doesn't work. 3...Qxg4 4.fxg4 -+

2.Ne7+! as mentioned in the puzzle is the only way.

Nice puzzle!

Bob Lenning said...

Oops! Now corrected to indicate that it is White to move. Thanks Ernie!