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June 12, 2014

Combination with knight overruns opponent

In 1605, during the Polish-Swedish War at the Battle of Kircholm, the Polish cavalry overran the numerically superior Swedish forces and won the battle. The mobility of Polish cavalry proved decisive.

In this week’s position, white similarly overruns black’s position. With this hint in mind, please try to find white’s winning plan.

White’s cavalry wins the day, as white’s knight on f3 hops to g5. Only black’s knight on f6 thwarts an immediate mate on h7 and is thus tied down to f6.

Because white can force this knight away from f6 by advancing its center pawns, black must immediately block this advance by moving its e7 pawn to e5. Now, white continues its charge by moving the h4 pawn to h5.

White now threatens to break open the “h” file and mate, using its queen-rook battery on h8. Black cannot stop the onslaught.

For example, if black’s e5 pawn grabs white’s d4 pawn and threatens white’s c3 knight, white’s h5 pawn takes black’s g6 pawn.

Now if black’s d4 pawn takes white’s c3 knight, white mates quickly, beginning with knight takes h7. This prepares both pawn takes f7, check, or knight to f6, check, uncorking numerous mating lines.

Black’s best reply to white charging its pawn to h5 is to move its queen to e7. White’s d4 pawn takes black’s e5 pawn.

After white’s pawn is taken, white either clears the “h” file by taking on g6 with its h5 pawn or piles on the pressure by moving its f1 bishop to c4, hitting the vital f7 square.

From here, the position plays itself. White should win easily.   

The lesson this week is that coordinating a knight and queen may break open a position and let all the lines of attack out of the gate.

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