Sunday, March 10, 2013

Puzzles from the DCCL

On Friday night I played another DC Chess League match for the Arlington Kings. It was a strange night as we had to come from behind just to draw the match against our lower rated opponents, yet somehow this improved our standing and now we are tied for the top spot in the league.

I was playing for the second time against the ambassador from Montenegro, and master strength chess player, Srdjan Darmanovic. Rather than posting the whole game, I'm going to provide a few key moments as puzzles. As usual, I will respond to any puzzle answers in the comments.

My longest think of the game happened in the position below. I had difficulty deciding between what at first seemed like three promising alternatives. Bxh7+, Qh5 and cxd5.  What would you play for white?

On the next turn, my opponent wisely traded bishops on d3. What is wrong with c4, which would reach the next diagram position? White to move and win.

The key moment in the game came with both sides in mutual time pressure, just before move 30. I had gained a serious advantage, but I gave my opponent a chance to get back in the game by playing e7? Why is that move bad and what would be better for white?

Playing e7 turned out to be a stroke of luck because after Re8, I won a piece with Re6, Nc4, d6 and he had to sacrifice his knight to stop the pawns. At that point the game was bound to end soon, but he sped up the process by walking into mate! Can you find the forced mate in the position below?

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