08/05/21 COMPETITION: Short Master Games

Short Sharp Shocks No.15

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.

White: BLAKE Black: HOOKE

London, 1891

  1. e4, e5
  2. Nf3, d6
Position after 2. d6 (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

The Philidor Defence, long derided as too passive, now coming back into favour.

3. Bc4, f5

Position after 3… f5 (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

This was suggested by no less than Philidor himself, who considered the domain of the centre to be the special battlefield of the pawns.

Others believes that it left the black king too exposed to the hyper-charged modern pieces, particularly the queen and bishops.

4. d4

White takes the battle to the enemies, by opening up the centre himself.

4… Nf6
5. Nc3

5. dxe5, Nxe4 would be expected here, but white develops instead.

5… exd4

Position after 5… exd4 (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

An unexpected choice. More natural was 5… fxe4, attacking the white knight at f3

6. Qxd4

The white queen enters the frame; but how will she answer 6… Nc6 by black?

6… Bd7?

Position after 6… Bd7? (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

Black does not play it! In these sharp openings, time is of the essence. Black wants to play …Nc6 without being punished by Bb5. But now an attacking tsunami overwhelms the black king.

7. Ng5!

In this central battle, the black king is an unwilling participant.

7… Nc6

Position after 7… Nc6 (diagram courtesy of chess.com)

Black gets his wish, and the white queen is under fire.

How did white now destroy black’s position with a series of crushing blows?

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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