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ICD4 - a B or a P? check your eyesight and calculation.

Igor's Chess Doubles - ICD #4 - A Bishop or A Pawn, which one do you pick?

Here is the next set. I will not post the answers or solutions until after a week or so, to give readers a chance. You are welcome to post your solutions and explanations. Please don't use computer help. The best response can request a copy of my Chess Exam You vs. Fischer book (you pay only for shipping/handling). The earliest response gets a node, when similar answers are given. Use variations only as necessary. See my answers to ICD #1 as example.

I hope you like these puzzles and my Chess Exam books.

Check these pairs of positions. For each pair –

1. Determine what is different between setups (A) and (B). White is always at the bottom (a1 = bottom left corner). 1 point for each pair. Maximum of 4

2. You always have BLACK pieces, no matter Who is to move – determine if you (Black) would rather have position (A) or (B), or indifferent. Make sure you have a good reason! You get 2-10 points, depending on complexity. Adjust your score, if your reasoning wasn't 100%. Maximum of 24 for set #4.

Overall, the maximum score for set #4 is 28. How will you do? Invite your friends to compete! Enjoy!

In the position #2- Would Black rather have a B or a P? Why?



[4 points]

#1 Easy

{A       B}

White to Move



#2 Moderate

{A       B}

White to Move



#3 Moderate

{A       B}

Black to Move



#4 Hard

{A       B}

Black to Move


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Igor Khmelnitsky

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Answers - will be posted in a week or so.


  • 13 months ago

    IM IgorKhmelnitsky

    Answers - 1. Black prefers <B>, since in <A> White can play 1.Qxe5 and then respond to 1…Qg4 (1…dxe5 2.Rxd7+-) with 2.Qe4. This is the only move that stops the checkmate and preserves the Q, leaving White with extra piece. Moving the P from c4 to e4 eliminates the Qe4 defense and keeps the e5-N safe .

    2. Black prefers <B> since having the P on f4 instead of the B eliminates White’s drawing idea – to sacrifice the N for the g-P, leaving Black with the ‘wrong’ B and the h-P. In fact, in <A> White can play 1.Nf2 and Black can’t prevent 2.Nxg4= (1…Kxf2 leads to a stalemate).

    3. Black prefers <A> since having the P on c6 instead of b7 allows for a key interference after 1…Rxd3! 2.Qxd3 (else Black has an extra N) Pxd3 3.Rxe5 Pd2 4.Re8+! Kh7 5.Rd8 Nd5. In <B> the last move isn’t helpful, hence Black shouldn’t capture on d3.

    4. Black prefers <A> since having the K on b8 instead of c8 allows White to strike along the diagonal b8-h2. Black has a beautiful move – 1…Nf3+, trying to break the threat to the Q. 2.Nxf3 or 2.Pxf3 or moving the K, allows 2…Nxa5-+. After 2.Bf3 Qe5+, White has a saving idea 3.Ne2 Nxa5 4.Bf4, regaining the Q due to pin (but only if the K is on b8!)


    Nice job everyone! I think _64_ did the best job. Please contact me if you have any questions, or feel that your comment was the best.

  • 13 months ago


    #4, Im going with A, since my king seems safer, preventing a Bf4 with check.

  • 13 months ago


    #1 Difference: white has pawn on e4 instead of c4.                 I rather (B) because in (B) Qxe5 doesn't work, if white does Qxe5 then then black can play Qg4!! attacking the Q since the d-pawn is not pinned anymore and threatening mate on g2. in position (A) this does not quite work since there is no pawn on e4 now therefor white can play Qe4! stoping all threats so white will win a piece for nothing.

    #2 Difference: Black has a pawn on f4 instead of a bishop.     Black rathers (B) since in (A) the game would continue 1.Nf2!! (the black king cannot take the kight because that would be stalemate) and black can't stop Nxb4!! on the next move which would leave the game drawn since black has the wrong colored bishop. Nf2 doesn't work in (B) because Kxf2 doesn't make stalemate.

    I'll make #3 and 4 in a sec

  • 13 months ago


    So, Puzzle number 4. Difference in black's king position. I pick position A, explanation at the end. As black I play 1. ... Re8. White queen is hanging 2. Kd2 is met with 2. ... Qd5+ picking up the queen next move. So white has a choice of two moves Queen on c3 or d2. First, let's take a look at 2. Qc3. Then 2. ... Nd4 threatening bishop on e2 3. f3 Qh4+ [3. Qd2 Ndf3+ 4. gf Nxf3+ 5. Kf1 Nxd2+ (5. Nxf3 Qh1+ Ng1 6. Qxg1 mate). There are also interesting variations with 3. ... Rxd2+ and 3. ... Qg6. I am not sure which is the best] 4. Kd2 Qf4+ 5. Ke1 Qg3+ 6. Kd2 Nhxf3+ 7. gf Qxg1 (7. Nxf3 Rxe2+ wins; 7. Bxf3 Qe1 mate).

    Now  about 2. Qd2. Then anyway 2. ... Nd4 threatening Nf3+ as before. Here white is almost out of moves. 3. Ne3 is met by 3. ... Rxe3 4.Qxe3 Nc2+ winning the queen (4. gf Qh4+ 5. g3 Qxg3 mate). Another sensibly looking move is 3. Nc3, but then again 3. ... Ndf3+ 4. gf Nxf3+ 5. Kf1 Nxd2+ (5. Nxf3 Qh1 mates).

    In position B after 1. ... Re8 white responds with 2. Bf4+ and 3. Bxh2 basicly eliminating almost all threats.

  • 13 months ago


    1st Puzzle. In A white has pawn on c4, in B pawn is on e4. I pick position B as black, because then white cannot win a piece whith 1. Qxe5 because of 1. ... Qg4 threatening mate and white queen. In A white has a defence 2. Qe4, in B pawn on e4 makes that impossible.

    2nd Puzzle. Difference is obvious. I pick position B again, because it is won for black. In position A white has an escape path: 1. Nf2 if Kxf2 it's a stalemate, if any other move then next move white plays 2. Nxg4 and then it's a draw - h pawn with a wrong colour bishop.

    3rd Puzzle. Difference is in one black pawn - in A it's on c6, in B it's on b7. I would pick position A, because then it's won for black: 1. ... Rxd3 and if 2. Qxd3 then: 2. ... ed 3. Rxe5 d2 4. Re8+ Kh7 5. Rd8 and the key move 5. ... Nd5. Now the importance of the pawn on c6 is obvious - it protects the knight, in position B this would be impossible.

    4th Puzzle comes in the next comment - many variations.

  • 13 months ago


    I never read comments before I post my own comment...with that said.

     position 1-Qxe5 is obviously the threat. in both positions, white takes the knight, black can respond Qg4...white must play g3 to stop the mate, black plays Nh3+, and then Qf3++...however, in position A the absence of the e-pawn makes the difference in the defense. white plays the queen on the h1-a8 diagonal and problem solved. therefore i prefer position B.


    position 2-the pawn looks valuable, but its not that great. with the bishop, the knight is trapped, and available to be taken when necessary. black has to be careful to avoid a stalemate, which shouldn't be too difficult. since the pawns are 3 squares away. actually i just had another look and it is in fact a stalemate for the white king, so white has to move the knight away. but he goes to f2, and back to h3. maybe the pawn is better? I'd go with position B.

    position 3-the difference is the doubled pawns. pawn on b7 or pawn on c6...the pawn structure in position b is better, but does that really matter? I see the knight has no role there, so it needs improvement, in both positions. it can go c8 to d6, or d7 to c5 or f6...it can be improved. taking the white knight in either position loses the exchange and most likely the game, so that is not an option. after qd6, white can simply move the knight away and keep a superior position.  i'd prefer position A, because the pawn on c6 helps to control the squares d5 and b5. it can also go forward and have the pawn on c7 go to c6.

    position 4-the desperado tactic  Qxe2+ followed by Nxa5 regains the piece. however in position B, it loses it to the bishop check Bf4+ followed by taking that knight on h2. position A--it doesn't work. can black win with the extra pawns? probably not. but he certainly can draw.

    I would prefer position B

  • 13 months ago


    For position one, A has a pawn on c4, while B has a pawn on e4. Position B is better for black. This is because white is going to take the knight e5 in A. Qxe5 and dxe5 fails to Rxd7. Black wants to get the queen out of the rooks scope with tempo, and queen g4 is the only way. In position B, white has no way to stop this plan, and will have to stop the check with g3, losing the queen. Position A allows the queen to go to e4, protecting against mate, and saving the queen.

    For position two, Position A has a bishop on f4, while in Position B it is a pawn. I believe B is better because white wants to play Nf2 to try and blockade the pawns. In B, black can just capture the knight in that case, but in position A, that will cause a stalemate because the bishop blacks h2 from the white king. So position B forces white to play Ng1 if he wants to try and swing the knight around in front of the pawns, which will be too slow.

    For position three, A has a pawn on c6, while B has it on b7. I Think A is better for black because of the simplifying tactic that black has. Qd6 (protecting Rook and threatening knight) c5 attacking queen and knight, rook takes d4 and pawn takes b6 (not queen takes d4 because then queen takes d4 is winning for black) and black can fix his pawn structure with cxb6. in B, black's pawn structure is good and he will ruin it with the same tactic. If white protects the knight with the rook to d1, black will play c5.

    For position four, A has the king on c8, while B has the king on b8. I think A is better because Black wants to play Rd8 pinning the light squared bishop, and maybe in some cases threatening checkmate. White will play bf4+ in B , forking the knight and king, but also setting up lots of threats like qc7# if black is not careful. blocking the check will cause black to lose his queen to bxh5. This forces Ka8 for black in which qc7 is deadly. In position A, white can not move his bishop to f4 with tempo, and will lose his queen to nxa5 if he tries.


    I am not too confident about the last two positions. This was fun, thanks Igor.

  • 13 months ago


    #1 It looks like Qxe5 wins a piece, but in B black has Qg4! Threatening mate in one and capturing the white queen. In A, white has Qe4 saving both, So B is better.

    #2 Black wants B, since white has Nf2! With Nxg4 coming, if Kxf2 stalemate and if black plays h3 white plays Nxh3! And black has the wrong colored bishop

    #3 Black wants A, because of the nice tactic Rxd3! Qxd3?! exd3! Rxe5 d2 Rd8+ Kh7 Rd8 Nd5!! Cutting off the line of whites rook. In B, white plays Rxd5 since the knight is unprotected.

    I need a little more time with #4, so I will post later with my ideas.

    Great puzzles as always!

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