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Benko’s Bafflers


Most of the time these studies resemble positions that could actu- ally occur over the board. You must simply reach a theoretically won or drawn position for White. Solutions can be found on page 71. Please e-mail submissions for Benko’s Bafflers to: pbenko@uschess.org


Problem I S. Loyd 1868


-+-+-+-+ zp-zp-+-+- -+-zp-+-+ zp-+-zp-+- k+-+-zp-+ +-mK-+-zpL -+-+-+-zp +-+-+-+- White to play and draw


Qf5+ Kc1 5. Qg5+ Kb1 6. Qg6+ Kc1 7. Qh6+ Kb1 8. Qh7+ Kc1 9. Qxc7+ Kb1 10. Qb6+ Kc1 11. Qc5+ Kb1 12. Qb4+ Kc1 13. Qxa3+ Kb1 14. Qb2 mate.


The special maneuvers by the queen


might not be new (even for that time) but it must have been enriched by this new work. Looking closer at the many pieces, it is obvious some improvements can be found. Thus the rook on h1 is superflu- ous and the a2-pawn should be white so that 13. Qc4+ Kb1 14. Qxa2+ could not provide yet another alternative. Further, the bishop on c7 could easily be a pawn. These matters of economy were not seri- ously taken into account in that time.


Excelsior This famous study was born as a result


of a bet. The task was to find out which piece is least likely to deliver mate. The b2-pawn has become the chosen one ...


Sam Loyd, 1861


n+rvl-+-+ +p+-+p+p -zp-+-+-+ +R+-+-+K -+-+-+-+ zp-+-zp-zPN -zPP+R+-+ sN-+-+-+k


White mates in five moves 1. b4!


The threat is either Rd5 or Rf5. 1. ... Rc5+ 2. bxc5 a2 3. c6! Bc7 4. cxb7


And then bxa8=Q or B mate. The expression of excelsior has its ori-


gins in Latin with the meaning of “ever higher,” which became an independent theme in problems and studies.


uschess.org Race Pal Benko, 1990


-+-+-+-mk +-+-+-zp- -+-mK-+R+ +-+-+-+- -+p+-+-+ +-+p+-+- -+-+-+P+ +-+-+-+-


White to play and win Again, the g2-pawn will be the hero.


1. Ke7 d2 2. Rd6 c3 3. Kf7 Kh7 4. g4 c2 5. g5! d1=Q 6. Rh6+! gxh6 7. g6+ Kh8 8. g7+ Kh7 9. g8=Q mate.


Gallop


Emanuel Lasker, 1895 (adjusted by Pal Benko)


-+-+KsN-sN +-+-+-+- -+-+-+-+ +-+-+-+- -+-+-+-+ +-+-+-+- -+P+-+-+ +n+-+k+-


White to play and win


1. c4 Nd2 2. c5 Nb3 3. c6 Nd4 4. c7 Nb5 5. c8=N! wins.


The former world champion was also inspired by the excelsior theme. In his original work the c2-pawn was placed on c3 but I thought it is better on c2 where it is not threatened to be taken, yielding a perfect excelsior. (The reverse of this with black can be seen in the January


Problem II B. Horowitz 1872


-+-+-+-+ zp-zp-+-+- -+-zp-+-+ zp-+-zp-+- -+-mk-zp-+ +K+-vl-zp- -sNP+-+-zp +-+-+-+L White to play and win


2012 Chess Life issue, also by me.) Three knights win against a solo knight.


New Times Pal Benko, 1988


-+-+-+-mk +-+-+-zpL -+-+-+K+ +-+-+-+- -+-+-+-+ +-+-+Psn- -zP-+-+-+ +-+-+-+-


White to play and win 1. b4 Ne2


1. ... Ne4 2. Bg8 wins.


2. b5 Nd4 3. b6 Nc6 White wins by forcing the knight away


with 3. ... Nxf3 4. b7 Ne5+ 5. Kf5 Nd7 6. Bg6 Kg8 7. Be8 Nb8 8. Ke6 g5 9. Bh5.


4. b7 Nd8! No better is 4. ... Nb8 5. f4 Nd7 6. f5


Nb8 7. f6 gxf6 8. Kh6 f5 9. Bxf5 Kg8 10. Kg6 Kf8 11. Kf6 Ke8 12. Ke6 Kd8 13. Kd6 Nd7 14. Kc6 Nb8+ 15. Kb6.


5. b8=B! Ne6 White gets a winning two bishops versus


knight endgame after 5. ... Nc6 6. Bg3!! (6. Bc7? Ne7+ 7. Kf7 Nd5 is even) 6. ... Ne7+ 7. Kf7 Ng6 8. Bg8 Ne5+ 9. Ke8! wins.


6. Bd6!! All of the other tries fail: 6. Be5? Nf8+


7. Kf7 Ng6; 6. Bg3? Nf4+! 7. Kg5 Ne6+! (7. ... Ne2? 8. Bd3! Nxg3 9. Kg4 Nh1 10. Be2 wins) 8. Kf5 Nd4+ 9. Ke4 Ne2 10. Bg6 Nxg3+ 11. Ke3 Nf1+ 12. Ke2 Nh2.


6. ... Nf8+ 7. Kf7 Nxh7 8. Be7! wins.


By this time it was proved that two bishops win against a solo knight.


. Chess Life — July 2012 47


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