Breaking Down A Puzzle Step By Step #2

Breaking Down A Puzzle Step By Step #2

EOGuel
EOGuel
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28

What's up, guys and gals?

The first post of my series, Breaking Down A Puzzle Step By Step was a surprising success in my opinion. It was a new idea that I came up with, and I anticipated people liking and disliking it. Fortunately, the feedback was positive, and I got begged to make this a regular series. So here I am again! 

Let's take a look at the position above. Black to play. What is the material situation? Black is down one "material point". He has a Rook vs. a Bishop and three pawns. Before I went to checks, captures, and threats, my tactical alarm bells rang. I realized that g2 is the sweet-spot of the tactic (quite simply if the f1-Bishop were evicted, Qxg2# would be an easy win!). Can we force the Bishop to move? Not quite, though maybe we can take advantage of the fact that the Bishop is "pinned" to the defense of g2. What also branches out of that point is that if we can force a favorable sacrifice on g2 with the King ending up there, Nf4+ would be a killer fork! But wait, you might be objecting. The Knight can't go to f4 in one move! You are right, not in one move, but it won't be hard to make it in two moves. Chess is about long-term thinking.
OK, back to the checks, captures, and threats. The only viable check is Ne2+. I did briefly consider Qxg2+, though the sacrifice is simply not working. Black does not have enough "ammo". I see no good captures, and the threats are not pleasing. Therefore, the only move that makes sense is Ne2+
Bxe2 is not working because of the mate on g2. Black must go Kh1 or Kh2. Wherever the King moves does not affect the result of the puzzle. Let's go Kh2 "just because". If you scan the position again, the only move that makes sense is fxg2. As well as being a capture, it unleashes a BIG threat: g1Q#. White is forced to respond by taking the pawn.
Remember that favorable g2-sacrifice we were talking about?  Let's do a bit of calculation training! We can try the sacrifice Qxg2+. White will be forced to take the Queen. Then Nf4+ ensues, followed by picking up the Queen! What's the material situation then? Black has ten material points. White has eight. Sufficient to solve the puzzle correctly!
I hope you enjoyed the analysis! Again, let me know what you think about this format/series. The previous puzzle I posted about was 2100. This one was 2300. Let me know if you have any suggestions on a rating range to cover. I will listen.
Thank you and see you next time!