Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Chess960: Puzzle no.16

Dear followers of this blog, enjoy this unusual puzzle. It requires an understanding of what a pawn island in Chess is. For more information see a definition Pawn islands (wiki). Often in Chess960 openings we try to avoid creating long lasting pawn islands because the isolated pawn or pawns are a long term target of attack for our opponent to exploit. There are exceptions of course!

In this position, both white and black have three pawn islands each.

White has three pawn islands (a-e),(f),(g-h).
Black has three pawn islands, (a-f), (g), (h).

Here is the puzzle,  the answer is surprising!

SP455 move 2 white to play:
If white captures the g-pawn, who will have the
greatest number of pawn islands before move 7?
White, black or equal number?
Solution given bottom left hand corner

Answer: White!
2. fxg5      white has three pawn islands, black two.
2. ...h6     no change, white=3, black=2.
3. gxh6 Qxh6 white=2, black=1
4. h3   Be5! no change
5. g4   Bh2  no change
6. Rg2  Qxh3 white=2, black=1

White has more pawn islands than black. If instead white tries 5.Nbc3 or any other move, white still has one extra pawn island than black.

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