I had a strange experience during one of my chess lessons last week.  My student, about 1300 strength, was showing me one of his games which ended up in a draw but which he perhaps should have won.  We got to the end of the game and I said, “can we go back a couple of moves and have a look at the position?”   We went back to a position where White had a discovered check (which won a piece) and in the game White played B(e8)x c6+ duly winning the piece.  “Did you consider any other moves in this position I asked?”  My student looked at the position for a few moments and suddenly realised that he had a slightly better move …. Bd7# checkmate!   Yes, he had overlooked mate in one.

Now, admittedly, perhaps I’m not the one to criticise as I too once missed mate in one move (against Doug Hamilton).  My excuse was that I found mate in 2 moves … so these things can happen to anyone.  It got me thinking though … perhaps my students need more training in problem solving, so this week I’ve been setting them a series of puzzles.  Pretty hard puzzles to be true, and not many students were able to solve them.

The key to problem solving is to ask yourself relevant questions about the position.  Such question as “which piece will give checkmate?” or “on which square will the King be checkmated?” or “how can I cover the King’s escape squares?”  Most puzzles should be solvable just by using logic and asking the right questions.

Let’s see if you can use logic to help an Olympiad arbiter solve a little problem.   The game has finished and the arbiter has the scoresheet but the players have forgotten to record the result.   The final position is as below?   Can you help the arbiter?   Was it a draw or a win for White?   Black to play.

[iframe width=”500″ height=”685″ src=”http://chessmicrobase.com/microbases/1565/games/67727?token=2kymzn1h&embedded=1#hcp-” frameborder=”0″>]


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