Chess Nightmare!
Last night in Melbourne it was terribly hot, around 20 degrees, and it was very hard to get to sleep, particularly after four hours solid coaching the Chess Kids Elite group that afternoon. My mind was still all abuzz with chess. I tried eating chocolate (Lindt of course), I tried a cool icy-pole, I tried counting sheep but nothing seemed to work. Finally my mind turned back to Jammo’s Chess Puzzle number 16 where Black dropped a rook but had all these extra pawns trying to queen. My mind went through the variations and I finally got down to a position where Black had two pawns supported by his King with White’s Queen trying to stop them or at least get a perpetual check.

See diagram below with Black to play.
[fen caption=”Black to play – can he draw?”]8/8/8/5p1p/5P1P/p1Q3P1/1p5K/k7 b [/fen]
Can Black hold the draw or is there a sneaky way for White to win? My mind rushed through the variations. Pretty soon I had forgotten the heat and, basking in the joy of finding the solution, I fell asleep.

Have a go yourself and see if you agree with my assessment. If you find a flaw in my conclusion please don’t tell me. I’ve had enough chess nightmares for one night!

1…Kb1? obviously loses to 2.Qxa3.
1…a2 loses to 2.Qd4! Kb1 3.Qd1#
so that leaves
1…Ka2 2.Qc2 Ka1 3.Qb3 and if 3…b1=Q 4.Qxa3+ wins, but 2…a2 3.Qc3 Kb1 4.Qd3+ Kc1 5.Qe3+ Kc2 6.Qc5+ Kb3 seems to hold the draw.

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