Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Daily Tactic June 18, 2008

I came across this puzzle at the excellent Streatham & Brixton Chess Club. This was their June 15 Sunday Puzzle.
This problem, inspired by Reti, is taken from Ian D. Mullen's chapter on endings in Master Chess: A Course in 21 Lessons (Pergamon Press, 1985).

White's position looks hopeless. It appears that he can't force his pawn through to queen and that he can't stop black's pawn. Yet, it is white to move and draw...

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Nice position. One of the things that bugs me about pawn endings is that, even knowing the right idea, a problem like this takes me 40-60s to calculate. That means when I have time on my clock I know exactly what I'm doing when I trade down into a pawn ending, but when I'm short on time I can really butcher them. Oh well. From what I can tell IMs & GMs have the same trouble (although their brains are sometimes a bit swifter).
Knowing it is White to move and draw is big help for me in this position. Otherwise, I might just give it up as hopeless. Knowing White can draw I knew the solution "right away" and worked out the details in a few seconds. Well, it seemed like just a few seconds, anyway. :

But, the original Reti that this is based on I *still* take a while to work out the details. For some reason this one was easier for me.
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