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Black to Play

Pete Tamburro on

Published in Chess Puzzles

So, you thought you had seen the last of knight endings? I was fortunate enough to spend 4+ hours with GM Lev Alburt, three time US champion, and he was kind enough to give me several of his books. His most recent book on the world championship is a gem, and we’ll get to that. I would first like to take a few of his positions from “Chess for the Gifted and Busy.” It’s a great introductory book for a friend or family member that wants to learn chess. Although he cautioned me that it was below a player of my strength, I learned some things, too! In the position diagrammed, it is obvious that Black has to play 1…Kf7 or 1…Kf8, but which one? One draws and the other loses. He gives a rule to know right away worth learning, but most of us will have to work out the knight path the long way.

Solution:

The “long way” is: 1...Kf8 2.Nd3 Kf7 3.Ne5+ Kf8 4.Nd7+ Kf7 5.Ne5+ Kf8 6.Ng6+ Kf7 drawn But what about the other move? 1...Kf7 2.Nd3 Kf8 3.Ne5 Ke7 4.Kg8 and Black loses. You might be short on time at the end of the game, so what’s the quick way? GM Alburt notes that you should look on the square color the knight and king are on. When it’s Black to move, the Black king should move to the square color the knight is on in order to draw. Quick! Easy!

Send questions and comments to PTamburro@aol.com.