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Features

January 3, 2013

A hard day’s night: White to move and win

— This week we again look at the power of an advanced central pawn duo. In this week’s position white’s pieces are musicians who have found the right squares and are ready to strike up the tune. What move should white play?

White’s first beat is banging the d5 pawn onto d6. The black queen is threatened and black’s options limited. Simultaneously, white’s bishop on b3 is unleashed, as it joins its queen and f1 rook in attacking black’s vulnerable f7 square.

The only move that allows black to continue to protect f7 is to retreat the queen to e8. White’s e5 pawn then charges onto e6. White’s pawn threatens to burst through on f7, costing black its queen or a quick mate, or both.

Black may capture white’s e6 pawn with either black’s knight or f7 pawn. It doesn’t matter which. If the f7 pawn captures white’s e6 pawn, white’s rook takes black’s pawn on e6.

White’s rook attacks black’s queen and threatens a discovered check by the bishop. If the knight takes white’s rook on e6, white’s bishop captures the knight with check. After the black king retreats, the bishop and queen pair gobble up black’s rooks.

Instead of taking white’s e6 pawn with the f7 pawn black may take white’s e6 pawn with its knight. White again takes on e6 with its rook. Black’s f7 pawn then takes the rook, and it’s deja vu all over again, as white’s bishop takes the pawn with checks and prepares to gobble up black’s rooks.

Returning to the original position after white advances the d5 pawn to d6 and attacks black’s queen, black may opt to attack white’s queen rather than retreat its queen to e8. To that end, black moves its g7 pawn to g6, threatening white’s queen. White accepts the queen trade and takes black’s queen with its d6 pawn. Black then takes white’s queen with its g6 pawn.

Now white’s e7 pawn takes black’s knight. The pawn promotes to a queen and checks black. This gives white time for its rook to escape, which leaves white with an extra bishop.

This week’s lesson is that a powerful central pawn duo, like Lennon and McCarthy, can create beautiful music on the board and give your opponent a hard day’s night.

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