Happy National Chess Day!

A happy National Chess Day from chess^summit! I’ll put out a video tomorrow, but for the mean time, here’s a puzzle for you to enjoy! When you’ve come up with answer, grade yourself using the points that I’ve distributed below.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.58.01
Katz–Steincamp (Maryland Open, 2012) Black to Move and Win!

White just played the seemingly innocent move 22.Qd3?? Hoping to strengthen his defenses, but missed the instantly winning 22… Nf4! (5 points) Threatening checkmate on g2. The knight is invincible since 23. gxf4 is punished by 23…Qxd3, taking advantage over White’s weak third rank. White Resigned. The most testing defense, 23.Qf3 can be met in two ways. First, the simple 23… Rxe2 winning a piece is enough for Black to convert (1 point). But the best move on the board is 23…Rc3!! – a rook sacrifice (3 points). 24. Qxc3 is not possible because of 24… Qg2#, but upon looking deeper, you hopefully found that 24. Qh1 is met by the delightful checkmate 24… Ne2# (1 point).

How’d you do? Total up your points and compare to below!

10 points: Great full board awareness. Even though you knew the knight was hanging on d2, you looked for better and found that 23… Rc3 was completely winning for Black. Keep up the good work!

7-9 points: Maybe a slight miscalculation towards the end, but you had to find the removing the defender idea to earn more than 5 points – so good job!.

5-6 points: Good job finding the start to the attack. 22… Nf4 is the only way for Black to play for a win. However, its important to look deeper when calculating such lines. Its one thing to be up a piece, its another to have checkmate!

0 points: This puzzle wasn’t easy, and maybe you just needed more time to find the right combination of forcing moves. Check out my article, Building up Your Tactical Arsenal for study techniques to improve your pattern recognition.

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