Sunday, 5 June 2016

It looks easy but it isn't

The diagrammed position came from a game at Street Chess today. With white to move it looks easy and straightforward. Two mate in 1's, how hard could it be? But for those kibitzing the game it turned out to be a lot harder, in a couple of ways.
The first clue that something was amiss was that White was doing a lot of thinking. Then it was observed that all the captured black pieces seemed to be on the wrong side of the board. It slowly dawned on the spectators (those that came late anyway) that they were looking at the board the wrong way round.
In fact Black is going *up* the board, with the King on h1 (not h8!). Suddenly the best move for White isn't so obvious, made all the more difficult by the unnatural location of the pawns.
With best play it turns out that the game is a draw. Black has to break the pin with Kg1 and White has nothing better to check the king back into the corner and keep the queen on f3. However White tried the practical Ke1 and Black chose the obvious, but fatal d2+. After Kf2 it was all over. Black did get hist queen with d1(Q) but Qxg2 was the instant reply, ending the game. Under-promoting to a knight (with check) is appealing but Kg3 is good enough (but not Kf1 which is of course illegal).
The post mortem was just as fun as there were a number of illegal moves suggested, and legal ones overlooked.
BTW the drawing line after Ke1 was Kg1! as Qf2+ Kh1 forces Qf3  (not Qf1 gxf1!) and then Kg1 is a repetition.


Anonymous said...

surely Ke4 or actually Kd4 as the black king is on a1 not h1 according to your description, this keeps the pin and after Kb1 threatens Qd1#

Anonymous said...

*Qd4 sorry not Kd4

Keiko W said...

I'm pretty sure you mean a1 not h8? (instead of h1 not h8) and the resulting coordinates need to be adjusted. Kb1 (instead of Kg1) and queen on c3 (instead of f3). etc.

Paul Ma said...

Hi Shaun
A few points:
1) As others have said, I'm sure you had the coordinates of the board wrong.
2) Turning the board around and using the proper coordinates, it is an easy win to White: 1 Qd4 Kb1; 2 Qd1 checkmate.
3) An interesting chess puzzle using the same theme is in: (Puzzle #3)

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