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Why 5.h3? Prize for the best answer

Sat 3/31 - final comments, scroll down below.

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Hi,

Recently, I came across the following position. I think White has to play 5.h3 here. 

Someone who posts (or submits) first an accurate and concise explanation why 5.h3 (or a different move) must be played here, can claim a prize - free book Chess Exam You vs. Fischer (you pay for s/h)

Please be brief - no detailed variations, and no inserting diagrams with moves. Write a short paragraph with explanation. You can add your answer here, or contact me on my website - here

Questions or comments or to be notified about future updates - please contact me here

Thank you,

Igor Khmelnitsky

International Chess Master,

Experienced Coach,

Award-winning Author

Wow

Added 24hrs after the original post:

Wow, I am glad to see that many people enjoyed this position. 74 posts! I like several of the answers, but... there is still room for you to give it a try. I will award an additional prize to the reader's favorite. Please refer to 1-2 posts you think deserve to win. Whose comment was the most concise and gave you a good idea to follow? Note - I am not asking about how to reach the best result! Only asking - which move to play in this position.

I plan to end contest on Saturday.

Sat 3/31 -

Humans are not computers and make mistakes in calculations. Especially, lower rated players. So, whenever possible, I recommend (and do this in my games) relying less on calculation and more on basic reasoning. To save time, energy and make less mistakes. It isn't likely that one can play the entire game without calculating, but it is certain that many moves can be played without it. General principles can and should guide you in static positions. Moreover, even in dynamic positions, you can rely somewhat on general principles, but heavily on the process of elimination.

So, I would praise any of my students if they would spent less then a minute on this position, play 1.h3 and say something like –

“I saw nothing better at the moment, while it somehow may help - stopped the Black h-P where it can be taken by the B and gave extra space for my K to maneuver”

Whether or not White wins (he does!) and how the game would continue may become apparent later, but shouldn’t be White’s concern at the moment. I believe, that even some of the people who posted and gave incorrect answers, could have actually succeffully won this game, if they played 1.h3. Some would just keep moving the K around and win by accident! This couldn't happen without 1.h3.

None of the posters mentioned process of elimination (or "simple" nothing looked better!)

The closest was answer by chessisgood: The idea behind h3 is simple. First, this keeps black's h-pawn on a square the bishop can attack. However, it also gives a space for the white king to triangulate, from which it can proceed to a2 and force the king out. Once the bishop captures the c-pawn, the h-pawn will fall as well.

Also, I like short comments from users zezpwn44 and oldpal.

As far as more comprehensive and detailed answers explaning the whole idea, which I wasn't asked but many found enjoyable - Phen, Sheardp, and leonardousta (who came late, but mentioned Ph4 on dark square).

All 6 people are welcomed to contact me via Chess.com or my site - here to claim the prize:

Chess Exam You vs. Fischer(you pay for s/h)>

To chessisgood, you get a little extra - I will wave the cost of shipping/handling (to US address). Thanks for all who participated.

Have you taken my Chess Exams? Check Amazon.com or my website for special offers. Let me know what you think - here

Igor

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    IM IgorKhmelnitsky

    Thanks to all who participated! See the original blog post for the final results!

  • 3 years ago

    Jeffmon

    "I thought i'd repost that since you sheep only like to listen to people with a title next to they're name"

    Sorry you feel that way, but maybe you should try erring on the side of caution because that's quite an accusation, which attempts to undermine someone's objectivity.

    Anyway, thanks for the info about dracoms' edit. I retracted my vote for him/her.

  • 3 years ago

    FraterZen

     "I declined to post until FraterZen earlier said the same thing less narratively, so he is the first one to deserve the price... Laughing"

    --IM pfren

    I thought i'd repost that since you sheep only like to listen to people with a title next to they're name (which is understandable). Just thought i'd point this out since some people (dracoms) decided to edit there OP after IM pfren pointed out that my solution was correct...

    NBD though, his/hers answer is still way too vague and lacks some key details (the f pawn's ability to go to f6 or f5, opposition, etc.)

     

     
  • 3 years ago

    Jeffmon

    Most concise, among the early posts:

    pfren "The idea is rather simple: Black's king can only move between d4, c4 and b4. With 1.h3 white creates a space where his own king can lose a tempo by triangulation, so he can bring a position with White king on a2, Black on b4 and Black to move. Black then has to push one pawn one step ahead, and White repeats the stroll towards g1-h2-h1-g1 again and again, until Black makes all the available pawn moves, and has to move the king, with fatal consequences. White does have to play 1.h3 at once, else Black replies 1...h3 and there is no tempo losing mechanism anymore."

  • 3 years ago

    IM IgorKhmelnitsky

    Added 24hrs after the original post:

    Wow, I am glad to see that many people enjoyed this position. 74 posts! I like several of the answers, but... there is still room for you to give it a try. I will award an additional prize to the reader's favorite. Please refer to 1-2 posts you think deserve to win. Whose comment was the most concise and gave you a good idea to follow? Note - I am not asking about how to reach the best result! Only asking - which move to play in this position.

    I plan to end contest on Saturday.

  • 3 years ago

    hockeymanchess

    There is a good, forward-looking reason for White to play 5.h3: When White promotes its c-pawn to c8=Q, White's Queen will be on the diagonal covering h3, which White may be able to use to its advantage. This of course assumes much, since there will have been several prior moves and exchanges required to allow White's King to exit along the a-file and provide a means for its c-pawn to promote. If Black's King is working the area surrounding its f and h pawns in an attempt to gain their promotion, White, by being able to move its Queen to g4, protected by h3, may be able to capture some material and force the Black King away, thus swinging the tempo of the game in White's favor.

    Other important considerations are as follows: Black's King can't chase White's c-pawn as it moves toward promotion. It will waste too much time. For Black to have any chance of survival, it must move toward its f and h pawns in a manner that works toward capture of White's f or h pawns to clear their respective files. However, if White plays carefully, when c8=Q, Black will be prevented from capturing h3 since it will be immediately protected by the White Queen. This will allow h3 to remain safely in place blocking h4.

    In conclusion, if White executes 5.h3, it may be able to win or at least draw, by making strategic and tactical use of its c8 - h3 relationship. This helps to explain why the basic pawn move 5.h3 is so important. It's really all about what happens several moves after 5.h3, and must be evaluated in a forward-looking manner, both in terms of position and move count taken together.

  • 3 years ago

    Minihat

    The move h3 wins for white due to three conditions:

    1) The black king is limited to the squares b4, c4, and d4 to protect the pawn on c3

    2)The white king can escape to black's half of the board if it lands on a2 and the black king is on square b4 or d4

    3) White uses the move Kh1 to h2, made available by the move h3, to use up a move without moving horizontally, ensuring that the black king will be on b4 or d4 when he moves to a2.

    Black can delay the inevitable for a little while by moving his remaining pawns, but they will eventually become stuck behind his own pawns on c3 and f3. He will be forced to allow the white king to escape or lose his pawn on b3 to the waiting bishop. Either way, white wins.

  • 3 years ago

    bfqaqish

    I think white wins by one move. Clost the Black King's path with H3. Give up the Bishop for a Pawn. Keep pushing the pawn forward

  • 3 years ago

    bfqaqish

    H3 prevents any entrance of the Black King into white territory. This frees the bishop and king to work on their side without any worry from loss of pawns

  • 3 years ago

    theSicilianDragon

    The only place that white can go to get out of the back rank is a2, which black currently controls.  The main reason why h3 here is so that the king can triangulate to free the king (on the A file) and then free the bishop.  An extra benefit is that h3 keeps black's h pawn on a black square so the bishop can take it later.

  • 3 years ago

    engrave52

    pawn to H3 creates an extra square for the white king. The extra space is needed for the white king to "triangulate" so that he can later occupy the square A2 while the black king will not be able to occupy  the square B4. very simple and obvious reason. thus white wins

  • 3 years ago

    engrave52

    Please be relevant, helpful & nice!

  • 3 years ago

    HenryAdams1838

    The move h3 allows the possibility of triangulation among the squares in the corner. It also prevents the king from being able to gain entry via the kingside. White simply triangulates until black has exhausted all his pawn moves, all the while threatening to gain the distant opposition and walk into the open. Eventually black will yield since effectively his king cannot occupy a2.

  • 3 years ago

    lemaire90

    It's a draw is Kf1 or h3.

    The black king has to hold on to c3, is that pawn falls to the dark square bishop, the white king can come into the game and escrot one of the pawns to the other side. Therefore, the black king has to navigate from b4-c4-d4 back and forth.

    White can play h3 or move his king somewhere along his first rank and eventually the black pawns will advance until there are no more squares and both kings will simply wait around... and draw the game.

    If h3 is not played right away, the black king cannot use g4 because the time it will take for him to walk there will give white the c3 pawn and time for the white king to get involved in the game, and eventually win.

    Right ?

  • 3 years ago

    hockeymanchess

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 3 years ago

    Omelet

    h3 now because White will shuffle his King between b1, c1, and d1, and the Black King has only the a3 square as an entry way. If Black does play Ka3, White will take on c3. With the Black pawn on h4, White will grab it, to allow his h-pawn to either Queen, or be a diversion so the White King can gobble the other Black pawns.

  • 3 years ago

    zygelis

    enter the dragon is right - just to have free area for making "triangular" as many times as necessary, to be able to get with K on a2, black Kb4 (with black to move) and force to move balck pawns until cungcvang appear.

  • 3 years ago

    turkishlion

    h3 is the best move because White has dark square bishop and needs to keep that black pawn on a dark square to take it with the bishop.

  • 3 years ago

    hockeymanchess

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 3 years ago

    GreenPumpkin31

    Wowowowoow.. What a prize position <3 The IM already said the answer so I guess I have no chance.

    Rybka says this game is a forced draw but it actually isn't O_O I actually beat Rybka in this position:o the Idea behind h3 is to create a space for triangulation which is needed in this position to break through with the king.

    I don't deserve the prize because I just read that off the IM's comment. But wowwowow. What a prize position <3

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