Saturday, July 9, 2016


Last post, I left a problem to solve.

White to play and draw
This was composed in 1966, my birth year, by Ukrainian composer Tigran Gorgiev. It's an amusing puzzle with a number of forced moves.

1.Nc7 [Threatens Nb5# so black must make space for his king] 1..Qc1 2.Nb5+ Kb2

All fairly obvious so far. 3.Nd6 [Threatens mate on c4, so again, space must be made for black's king] 3..Qd1 4.Nc4+ Kc1

Again, all has been forced 5.Ne5! [Again mate is threatened, and this one is important as there is only one way to stop mate which blocks black's position even more] 5..Nf2

Well, it's all been forced up to now, but what now? 6.h7 Nh2!

Black's defence involves playing Nhg4 to get rid of white's annoying knight 7.h8=N!! [A fabulous underpromotion. From h8 the new knight will be able to support white's e5 monster] 7..Nhg4

8.Nhg6! [Apparently, 8.Nhf7 would lose to 8..Nf6 when the threat of Nd7+ means that white's king has to move, but it doesn't have a good square, and the black king will eventually get to b2 allowing the c-pawn to promote] 8..Kb2

9.Nc4+ [Closes the door to black's king] 9..Kc1 [Only move] 10.Nge5!

10..Nxe5 [10..b2?? leads to a white win. White takes the a4 pawn with his king and plays Na5-b3 mate] 11.Nxe5

Notice that black can't move the knight or it allows white to play Nd3# So, 11..a3 12.Kb4 and now white has run out of moves, except for 12..Kb2 [12..b2 still leads to a white win Nd7-c5-b3/d3mate]

And now the game must end in a perpetual after 13.Nc4+ Kc1 14.Ne5 Kb2 15.Nc4+ etc

A fun study!

Less fun was an article I saw in the NY Times about the gender gap in chess. I haven't written about this in a while, but it's a problem that keeps surfacing and no one seems to do anything about it. Funnily enough, although there was no Australian Championship in 1966, there was a women's championship with Marion McGrath becoming the first Australian Women's Champion. Not surprisingly in a male dominated game, Ozbase has no record of any games played in this event. But in defence of Ozbase, there are no games of any event in Australia in 1966.

Anyway, the article in the NY Times can be read here.

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