Problem solving

Mar 22, 2012, 1:41 AM |

This might be considered as a sequel to an other article explaining how to solve one particular study.

The discussion here is around a much easier position, the daily puzzle of the 22nd of March 2012 . It's a mate in five. Wow! a mate in 5! must be difficult!
















No, on the contrary quite an easy one, you just need to find the moves :)

Ok, let me explain that:

When you are confronted with a new position, before moving any piece, you want to assess the position, right? In this position, would it be black's turn, they would win quite quickly and easily. That's not a thing that we should have to discuss very long; e.g. 1. ... Nd3 discovered check and attacking the Queen at the same time would be a big issue for White.

What does that mean? Simply that White has no time for waiting moves or more precisely for moves where Black can choose. Here, White has to force all the moves. What is the best way to force your opponent to play a move? Yes! Check, check, check, check and checkmate!

Now, you've got to find the only check in this position where you don't immediately lose something. And you'll find 1.Qc7+.

Black has various answers but none of those is satisfying: if the King goes back to the eigth rank, that immediately finished with Rxd8#

Ok, we have to think that the task is mate in 5, what if Black plays 1. ...  Rd7, just trying to play out?

Mate in 2














That is a vicious idea, but it doesn't work, as we've just seen. But always keep in mind that Black would have already "won" if White could mate only in 6 moves instead of 5. In view of that, it's necessary to always consider the most horrible moves, "computer moves", as some would put it.

Now Black's best answer is clearly 1. ... Kh6. Because the continuation for White is not that obvious. Still we have to give some checks or we'll suffer a quick loss.

After Qh2+ or Qf4+, Black simply goes back and we will have to check again on c7 with the Queen. Looks like a draw by repetition will be the outcome, not so bad, considering the position. But we are not looking for a draw, we are looking for a mate in 4!

There is only one check left which might be useful: 2.g5+

The obvious answer is 2. ... Kxg5. But it leads to a mate in 2:














We've mated in a total of only four moves and not five. Once again, the problem was just rubbish. Those composers could at least double-check their ideas with a computer!

No, as most of the time the problem is well formulated, it's just that we haven't tried the strongest defence. Paradoxically, that's 2. ... Kh5

Looking for checks... There is only one reasonable move available: 3.Qh7+

The answer is forced: 3. ... Kxg5 . That's a pity, with a black pawn on f5, that would be mate in one with 4.Qh5! Hang on, that's a check, where does the King go? 4. ... Kf5 is forced. Good news, now we can deliver mate in one.

There are a few variations, but solving this problem is really straightforward: you have to give checks until it's checkmate.

In the same thread, Deltaquad submitted a mate in two. Mate in two? Easy! We just had a mate in 5 and it went smoothly. Well, the number of moves is not an indication of their difficulty. And I have to tell you that I couldn't solve it.

Here's the problem, mate in 2 moves:














Position assessment: the Black King is clearly in the box and the White King finds himself in a very secure position. Theoretically, that's very simple: nail the coffin and grab the guy.

The thing is: there is no necessity to give a check to keep the initiative because we completely dictate what will happen. And if we give a check, we'll give up some important squares. It's all about finding the right plan, if I might say so with only 2 moves to play.

Here 2 of my tries:

1.Nh6, intending Nf7#; it fails to 1. ... Bg3. White wins but not in 2 moves. failure.

1.Bc1, intending Qf4#; it fails to 1. ... Qa4. same story.

The solution is quite elegant and brings into play the 2 pieces which didn't take part in the fight. That is an interesting construction.

I already hear some voices saying: this position is won anyway, why would you look for a mate in 2 when you'll for sure win in 5 moves?

And I hear too: that's ridiculous,you'll never have such a position during a game!

The only anwer I know: you've seen this idea in a pure form, it might well inspire you during a game!