24/04/21 COMPETITION: Short Master Games

Short Sharp Shocks No.13

Note that the bottom left corner of the board is ‘a1’. This set is a continuation of the last set of puzzles. These games are real games played by master players. Rather than searching necessarily for a checkmate, you must search for the best continuation. We prefer to receive answers in algebraic notation.


Munich, 1899

  1. e4, e5
  2. Bc4
Position after 2. Bc4 (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

This opening makes a change from the regular 2. Nf3. The advantage is it allows either the d or the f pawn to still move up and challenge black’s pawn at e5.

2… Nf6

The most forceful reply. White usually defends his pawn at e4 by 3. d3 now.

3. Nc3!?

A complicated reply, which allows the ‘fork trick’, a sacrifice beloved of junior players.

3… Nxe4!

Position after 3… Nxe4! (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

If white accepts the sacrifice, black is relying on a pawn fork to recover his piece with the better centre. 4. Nxe4, d5 5. Bxd5, Qxd5 6. d3, Nc6 and so on.

But white has other ideas…

4. Bxf7+!

Muddies the waters by bringing the king out in the open.

4… Kxf7
5. Nxe5, Nc6

5… d5 might have been stronger.

6. Qf3+

Position after 6. Qf3+ (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

Puts the question to the black king: e8 or g8?

6… Kg8

Black decided to tuck his king away in the corner; instead of retreating to central square on e8; a natural – but fatal – decision.

Position after 6… Kg8 (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

How did white’s next move set up unanswerable threats?

You get extra credit if you can show variations to back up your winning move!

When you think you know the answer, send your solution in to us by submitting the form below. We will publish the full solutions, and names of all those who sent us the correct answers, in our blog next week (if you would rather not be named, please say so!).

Everyone who sends in their answers receives at least 1 point. If you correctly guess the best continuation, you will receive 3 points. The puzzler with the highest score after the six week set of puzzles will win a solver badge/solver spots and a free chess lesson with the teacher of their choice!

Good luck!

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Diagram courtesy of www.chess.com

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