Training your brain on chess puzzles is good for you no matter what your age.  If you are young, it can help your developing mind, or if you are old (like me) it can help to slow the onset of senility by exercising your grey matter.

I was mortified the other day when a tournament organiser invited me to play in a Seniors Championship at his club.   I pointed out that I was too young to be a “senior” but, never-the-less that day is approaching rapidly so I’ve decided to start training so that I can towel up all those old people when the time comes.   Each night, before retiring, I’m doing a few chess puzzles on “Chess Tempo” and am trying to increase my rating by 20 points a day.   It’s tough though!  The puzzles are hard and sometimes the computer tells me my solution is wrong when my answer is merely an irrelevant transposition of moves.   In the past I used to solve such problems by “seeing” (instinctively) what is probably the winning move and playing it without checking.   Alas this approach doesn’t seem to work that well these days and I find that I am forced to discipline my thinking and examine all the variations until I am sure that I have found the solution.   That can take some time, but as it’s a puzzle, you know there must be winning line there somewhere.   Consider how you go about trying to solve chess puzzles.   Do you keep searching until you find what you are sure is the answer or do you just try a flashy move and hope it is correct?

Test yourself with today’s puzzle, which should be easy as there are so few pieces left.

[fen caption=”White to Play”]6K1/8/7p/8/k7/2B5/1P6/8 w – – 0 1[/fen]

ANSWER:

This puzzle uses the same theme as the famous Reti endgame study of which some of you may be aware.  White cannot catch the Black pawn with his King and he cannot trap the Black King in a checkmate on the edge of the board but, by threatening to do both, he can achieve victory.

1.Kf7 h5, 2.Ke6 h4, 3.Kd5 and now if 3…Kb3 4.Ke4 and he catches the pawn.   On the other hand 3…h3 allows the pretty finish 4.Kc4 h2, 5.Bb4 h1=Q, 6.b3# 1-0.

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