, Muskogee, OK

November 1, 2012

Open a hole for you; seal off your adversary

Black wins as long as white’s king stays caught in corner with no exit

By Eric Morrow
Chess Corner

— In the Beatles’ movie “Yellow Submarine,” Ringo Starr, looking for the hole to the Sea of Green, finds a stray black hole. He folds it up, puts it in his pocket, and proclaims, “There’s a hole in me pocket.” With this hint in mind, please try to find black’s winning move in this week’s position.

White has a hole in its position. It’s at g2. And it leads to the Sea of Green. Black puts the hole in its pocket by retreating the bishop on a6 to f1.

Black threatens to immediately mate on g2 by occupying g2 with its queen, supported by the bishop, or vice versa. White’s rook must capture the bishop, losing the exchange.

White is now lost. Black’s rook and passed pawn on d4 are powerful. White’s weak position is easy to overrun. Black must proceed cautiously, however. Black risks a back rank mate if it soon doesn’t create an air hole for its king with pawn to h6, for example.

After the rook-bishop exchange on f1, white wins black’s e5 pawn. Black then advances its d4 pawn to d3.

White now has several options, all roughly equal. The queen can move to several squares along the fifth rank, Qa5 or Qd5 for instance. Equally good is creating another hole for the king by moving the h2 pawn to h3. Either way, black first creates an air hole and then supports the d3 pawn’s march to d1.

The lesson here is that there is usually a way to the Sea of Green — and if you find a hole, put it in your pocket.