ICD #5 - A Mate or An Illusion? It depends on your 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. Current specials on books and collectables.

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 20 for set #4.

Overall, the maximum score for set #4 is 24. How will you do? Invite your friends to compete! Enjoy!

[4 points]

#1 Easy

{A       B}

White to Move


[2 points]

#2 Easy

{A       B}

Black to Move



#3 Moderate

{A       B}

White to Move



#4 Hard

{A       B}

White to Move


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Igor Khmelnitsky

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Answers - will be posted in a week or so.


  • 4 years ago

    IM IgorKhmelnitsky

    Answers –

    1. Black prefers <B>, since in <A> White can play 1.Rc8+ (driving the N away - 1.Qf8+ Ng8) Nxc8 2.Qf8# Moving the P from b4 to b3 clears diagonal for the B. White won’t have 2.Qf8# due to 2….Bxf8.


    2. Black prefers <A>, since there is a checkmate in 2 moves - 1…Rxd1+ 2.Rxd1 Qxd1# - the c2-B is pinned. Switching the f5-B and the g6-P eliminates the pin and the checkmate


    3. Black prefers <A>. Having weak back rank and no luft is a double whammy. White has 1.Qd4 attacking the Q and the R. The only move that stops mate and guards the R is 1…Qc8. With the R on c3 (<B>) White still can play 2.Qxc3, winning the R. With the R on c5 (<A>), 2.Qxc5 doesn’t win due to 2…Qx5 3.Ra8+ Qf8 – the Q is back just in time.


    4. Black prefers <A> in spite of the double Ps. White has 1.Qg4+ Kb8 (1…Rd7 2.Re8#) 2.Qd7 with deadly threats of 3.Qd8# and 3.Re8. The only way to solve the problem is by getting the Black Q to the 8th rank (Qb2-h8). In <B>, the g7-P prevents this and in <A> the f6-P. Well, the latter can ‘disappear’ after 1.Qg4+ Pf5! And, after 2.Qxf5+ Kb8 3.Qd7, Black survives with 3…Qh8.


    Nice job if you tried this! Chesskingdreamer – thank you for your posts and for checking already posted answers Smile! Please contact me if you have any questions.

  • 4 years ago

    IM chesskingdreamer

    darn-magnus-2900-you beat me to it. But there is still one flaw-in 3, ra3 would be an horrible blunder- rxa3, Qxd4 Ra8 is checkmate. You might want to fix thatWink, also, you didn't write why Qg4 Kb8 Qd7 also doesn't win in B.

  • 4 years ago

    IM chesskingdreamer

    #1) B. The bishop is blocked in A so 1.Rc8+! Nxc8 2. Qf8 is checkmate. The Ba3 would guard f8 in B because the pawn was not on b4, thus making the combination in position b unsound.

    #2) Position A. 1...Rxd1 2.Rxd1 Qxd1 is checkmate. In position b, the pawn @f5 was blocking the bishop,so the bishop c2 was not pinned.

    #3) Position A. In position b, Qd4 wins the house, winning the rook due to back rank problems. In position A, Qd4 would not win the rook due to Qc8! and after Qxc5 Qxc5 Ra8+, black saves the day with Qf8. In B, the queen would be on c3, and Qf8 would not be possible.

    #4) Position A. This was obviously the hardest, as it almost blew my mind! I had to sit for ~7 minutes to solve this! The answer is A, as in B,Qg4 Kb8 Qd7 Qf6 Re8 and wins. In A, Black can play 1.Qg4 f5! and after Qxf5 Kb8 Qd7 there is the resource Qh8! and black is okay. In B, the pawn would  be on g7, not f7 so h8 would not be open to the queen.

    I don't wan't to have the book, but I solved the puzzles for fun. Please tell me if my reasoning was good!Cool

  • 4 years ago


    1) The difference is white pawn on b4/b3. Black is better in B, 'cause in A white wins with Rc8+ followed by Qf8++, In B black bishop defends f8 so that combination doesn't work.


    2) The difference is the ubication of black´s bishop f5/g6 with the pawn g6/f5. Black wins in A with Rxd1+ Rxd1+ Qxe1++.


    3) The difference is black's rook from c5 to c3. I prefere B with black because in A white wins with Qd4!. In B black has the counterattack Qd4?? Ra3!.


    4) The difference is black´s pawn structure in the king side f7/f6/h7 versus f7/g7/h7. Black is better in B, because in A white wins with Qg4+ Kb8 (Rd7?? Re8++) Qd7!

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