Friday, November 16, 2007

How about some chess?

Note: I have been asked many times why my blog has chess in the title but not much content about chess. Good question...

I'll try to include a couple of chess positions each month. Here's a king + pawn endgame from my friend Susan Polgar's blog. It is Grandmaster Boris Gulko's turn to move (he is playing with the white pieces). Can you determine the winning move(s) from this position? I'll add the details next week.

What's the best move? Your choices are...
A. Kc3
B. Ke3
C. f3

If you are a student of the game and would like a free chess book, e-mail me the correct answer by Thanksgiving (and try to resist the temptation to use a computer). My e-mail address is Don't send me your mailing address unless I send you a response and tell you that you won. I am also willing to send your prize directly to your chess coach, if you prefer, so that he or she can present the book to you. If I get multiple correct answers, I will choose the best analysis (with Susan Polgar's input, if necessary) Then I will post your winning reply here. Good Luck!!

Hint #1: (11/17) Sometimes there is more than one "correct" move in a position. The important thing is to choose a PLAN that will lead to your GOAL. In this particular case, you are a pawn ahead. So the goal is to reach a WINNING POSITION. If you can envision a position that is clearly winning for you, and identify a series of moves that will lead you to that position, then go ahead and choose the move that initiates the series. Remember as the implementation of your plan proceeds to take the time to update your evaluation each time your opponent moves.

Hint #2: (11/18) The tools commonly available as you try to win King + Pawn endgames are OPPOSITION, TRIANGULATION, OUTFLANKING & ELBOWING, PAWN RACE, PAWN PROMOTION, ZUGZWANG and SIMPLIFICATION. You also need to be alert for additional tools at the disposal of your opponent: DRAW BY REPITITION and STALEMATE. Try to identify each of these tools as they come into play in this endgame.

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