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Problem-Solving Contest at Tal Memorial

User Rating: / 0
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 03 December 2011
Zhdanov Peter
Candidate master Peter Zhdanov's column at

During the Tal Memorial an online chess problem-solving contest was held by the Russian Chess Federation and Nordea Bank. The problems have been provided by one of the most well-known and titled chess composers in the world Oleg Pervakov. Overall, there were 64 participants. 

Each day a new puzzle was published at a special web page. One could send the solutions as long as the contest lasted, but I preferred to do it right away. The only exception was problem #4, which took me two days to deal with. I have seen it before, but forgotten what the idea was.

It was nice to see the updated standings table in the morning of each day, i.e. the participants' inputs were process exceptionally fast. Kudos to the team of the organizers!

Most of all I liked problems #4 and #8, as they can't be solved using a chess engine. These puzzles largely helped distinguish the winners from everyone else. Studies (#9 and #10) were also quite instructive. However, I was confused about the right way of putting down the answers. It was obvious that I should list the most critical lines, but how does one define them? Sometimes I was at a loss which lines are important, and which are not. Is it obvious that this pawn endgame is winning for White, or do I have to provide any more moves? At one occasion I have spent an hour patiently writing down variations only to see my Word editor glitch and lose all the materials. I had to start over and decided to use a Fritz interface this time to avoid getting lost in all those brackets of subvariations. My result - 88 points out of 90 - was obtained in the following way: maximum points for problems #1-8 and 1 point lost on studies #9 and #10.

Being an ambitious person, I was actually hoping to win "gold", although finishing in second place (like I did; the winner got 89/90) was also a decent result. More importantly, the contest was a success, and it has given all the participants a great chance to sharpen their chess skills! 

Here are the problems and the solutions:

Mate in 1
2 points

1.Nc1# (2)

Mate in 2
5 points

1.Bh6 (zugzwang)
1...Kxc3 2.Rxa3# (1)
1...dxc3, 1...bxc3 2.Rd1# (+1)
1...N~ 2.Ne5# (+1)
1...b3 2.0-0-0# (+1)
1...a2 2.Nb2# (+1)

Mate in 3
8 points

1.Qxd5+! Kxd5 2.Ne6! (zugzwang)
2...Kxe6 3.Bc4# (4)
2...Ke4 2.Bc6# (+4)

Black has just played the fourth move. Can you reconstruct the notation of the game?
10 points

1.e4 e6 2.Bb5 Ke7! 3.Bxd7 c6 4.Be8! Kxe8 (10)

Can White checkmate Black faster than in 5 moves?
8 points

1.Bd5! Ba1! 2.Bxb3! (2.Be6? b2!) 3.Be6 4.Bc8 5.Bb7# (8)

Mate in 5 moves
8 points

1.c8B! Kg1 2.Bh3 Kh1 3.a7 Kg1 4.a8R! Kh1 5.Ra1# (8)

Mate in 5 moves
8 points

1.Na3! Kxa1 2.Kc3! b4+ 3.Kb3 bxa3 4.Kc2 a2 5.Nb3# (8)

White opened the game with 1.h4. How quickly will they be able to deliver mate with a knight on f8 if Black is cooperating?
13 points

1.h4 d5! 2.h5 Nd7 3.h6 Ndf6 4.hg Kd7 5.Rh6! Ne8 6.gxf8N#! (13)

White to win
13 points

1.g4! (1) 1...Bxg4 2.f3 Bxf3+ 3.Kxf3 Nd2+ 4.Ke2! Nxb1 5.Kd1! (4) 5...b4! 6.axb4+ Kb5! (6) 7.Kc1! Kxb4 8.Kc2! (9) 8...d4 9.Kxb1 Kxb3 10.Kc1 Kc4 11.Kd2! (10) 11...Kd5! (11) 12.Kd3! Ke5 13.b3! (12) 13...Kd5 14.b4 Ke5 15.b5 Kd5 16.b6 Kc6 17.Kxd4 (13), winning

White to win
15 points

1.Re4! (2) 1...b2! 2.Rb1!! (4) 2...Nxe4 3.b7! (8) 3...Nf6! 4.b8Q+ Ng8+ 5.Qxg8+ Bxg8 6.d7 a1B! (10) 7.d8N! (12) 7...Bb3! 8.Re1! (13) 8...b1Q, and:
. 8...Bxa4 9.Rf1! Kg8 10.Ne6 Bb3 11.Rf8# (+1)
. 9.Re8+ Bg8 10.Nf7#! (+1)


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Comments (1)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 01:26 06 2011 .
Good to see a taelnt at work. I can't match that.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 03 December 2011 )
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