Tuesday, February 4, 2014

One last problem from Junior High League Chess Matches

This was a battle between Frank Sullivan from Friendly Hills playing White against Elise Lothrop from Farnsworth at board 2 in round 3. Elise has just played h5, demonstrating that she understands the concept of undermining. Is there anything Frank can do to stay in the game?
(In the actual game, Frank played Rf1 which is what any reasonable player would play - save the rook and give up the knight. But as I often say, "When you're in trouble, don't panic, think! There is usually a way out.

Answer: After considering a number of wild and daring captures, none of which worked, I considered saving the knight instead and imagined what Black's pieces would look like if he took the Rook. Wait! His King and Rook would be forkable! If I could just get my knight to d5. I can! The game (in my mind) continued 1. Ne3 Kxf6 2. Nd5+ Kg7 3. Nxe7 c3 (trapping the knight) 4.Rxe5 Re8 5.Nxc6 (or Nd5) bxc6 6.Ra5 Ra8 So I'm still down the knight but I did get two pawns for it, I've got an active Rook, she's got a passive one. And with four connected pawns vs two isolated ones on the queen's side, I should be able to get a passed pawn of my own. I'd still rather be Black, but at least the game isn't a slam dunk.

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