Last week I mentioned the Doeberl Cup in Canberra played over Easter, and the following week Australia’s best players moved on to Sydney for the Sydney International Open.   I was hoping to follow the games and find some nice puzzles to show you but the slack organisers didn’t get around to uploading the games onto their website.  All the more disappointing as our better players are all fighting hard for a place in the Australian Olympiad team and it would have been great to see all their games.

What to do?  A couple of weeks ago one of my on-line opponents, Check Norris, sent me a puzzle from one of his own games which I was able to use.  Fortunately this week another of my on-line mates, Murray Beard, has sent me a puzzle that he thought may be of interest.   It’s Black to play and win and it’s got me stumped.  I’ve been studying the position for quite sometime and I can’t find a checkmate for Black.  Worse than that, it dawns on me that Black is a Queen down so if he can’t checkmate he’s clearly going to lose.  Perhaps Murray has sent me the wrong position and left off the black Queen by mistake?   If so, which square should the Queen be on to solve the puzzle?  Clearly, I need your help to solve this puzzle.   Can you explain what has happened and whether or not there is a win for Black?

[fen caption=”Black to play and win”]3rr1nk/pR6/3b3p/5p2/2Pp1PpP/P2n4/6BK/1RBQ2N1 b – – 0 1[/fen]

ANSWER:

Murray has not made a mistake in giving me the position, but he has forgotten to give one vital piece of information – White’s last move!

For the puzzle to work White’s last move has to be 1.f4 to which Black can reply 1…gxf4 e.p. 2.Bf4 Bxf4+ 3.Kh1 Nf2#.   Easily solved if you think outside the square.   Too hard for me though.   Hope you solved it.

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