Harran v Henry, Novice Tournament Board 1

Last Sunday was the Novice Tournament at Monash University which attracted an excellent field of 91 players many of whom were playing in their first tournament outside of their school chess club.   The surprise winner was Henry Bayliss who beat several higher ranked opponents then conned William Maligin into accepting a draw in the last round because William mistakenly thought he had to allow triple repetition.   If only William had taken my advice to look at more candidate moves in critical positions!

There were a number of strong players playing but I noticed in particular how poorly almost everyone played in the endgame.   This is something that Carl and I are going to focus on in our lessons next term, so we may as well start early and set you an endgame puzzle today.

One of the most dreaded endgames you can get is R+B v R which is meant to be a draw with best play but even grandmasters have failed to defend properly.   Fortunately I’ve never had this endgame in my own games.  I remember that you have to force the King to the corner covered by your B and I remember also there is something called “the second rank defence” which refutes White’s obvious winning attempt in the position below.  Apart from that I can’t help you, so good luck!  Can you win for White from the position below?

[fen caption=”White to play and win?” ]8/8/4KBr1/7k/8/8/8/4R3 w – – 0 1[/fen]

ANSWER:

White wins with 1.Rh1+ Kg4 2.Kf7! winning the rook.   Hard to find as no doubt most people focus on how to checkmate the Black King and the idea of trapping the rook is not foremost in one’s mind.   Note that 1.Kf5 is refuted by 1…Rg5+! and if 2.Bxg5 it’s stalemate.

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