“What Say You?” The 1 Minute Challenge (54)

A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer
Bruce Lee

A quick reminder how it works:

  • Have a look at the position for 1 minute (watch the clock)
  • Think about the choices in front of you and pick the one you feel it is right
  • Verify it in your mind the best you can
  • Compare it with the solution

This week I propose something different. See below position and the top 3 possible continuations for White. The question is which one should you choose to win the game?

In the heat of the battle is makes a big difference to choose the fastest way to win. A win is a win no matter what; However, time might be a factor, as well as fatigue. Overall it could be an important tool in your arsenal to be able to identify it in all such situations. This is also something I seek in my games and preach to my students time and time again.

Having said that, my first step would be to discard line C with regret. On the plus side it wins a rook outright, followed by reaching an easily won endgame. On the minus side (if there is such a thing) the other two lines lead to checkmate. With line C Out of the way, the choice should be easier, right?

Line A is based on a very nice idea: do not allow the black King an escape on the queenside. The immediate effect is trapping the said king in the center with nowhere to go. With Rg8 still under attack and the White pieces in perfect positions, the checkmate is inevitable.

Line B is a bit easier to see because it starts with 2 simple moves. The Black king is allowed to escape on the queenside; However after capturing the c- and d- pawns, all lines are open. The king cannot hide on the queenside and that proves fatal.

I think you cannot go wrong with any of the 3 lines. The most precise is line A and the main reason for it is limiting Black’s responses. Be honest and admit if you would have decided it or not. If you would, that is very good. All you need is to keep on practicing your tactical skills. If you wouldn’t, make sure to understand in what way your thinking is different and consider adjusting it. Optimizing your thinking is a positive thing to do!

Eugen Demian

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Valer Eugen Demian

Author: Valer Eugen Demian

The player – my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today’s standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor – my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chessessentials/id593013634?mt=8 I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek! View all posts by Valer Eugen Demian

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