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November 8, 2012

Look for blue sky: Black to move and win

— The renowned composer Chopin said that simplicity is the final achievement. This is true both in music and chess. In this week’s position, one simple move amid the dynamism of this week’s position and suddenly what was a dark cloud of complexity is as clear as a blue sky. With this hint in mind please try to find black’s winning move.

White has numerous threats. White’s rook on e1 threatens black’s queen, white’s bishop threatens black’s rook on f8, and black’s knight is cornered with no escape. And black has no immediate threats.

Black, however, creates an immediate mating threat by sliding its queen over to b3.

Black’s queen and bishop are now prepared to mate on a2 after the rook on c4 checks on c1. White’s only defense is for its king to move out of the corner to b1. Black then retreats its rook on c4 to c1.

Black again threatens mate on a2. The best that white can do is break the queen-bishop battery by first moving its d6 rook to d5. After white’s bishop captures the rook, white’s queen captures the bishop, only to then be captured by black’s queen. The mate threat is gone but white is lost.

Hidden in this week’s position was a queen-bishop battery that was devastating.

Once found, the position played itself and it was all blue sky from there. This week’s lesson is, therefore, when all seems dark, look for blue sky.

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