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Chess Puzzle of the week: October 23

Chess Puzzle with FIDE Master Dennis Monokroussos

I’m happy to serve you on behalf of ChessUSA, and would like to say a little about myself and about how I will contribute to this blog. First, I’m a FIDE Master, but most of my chess activity the past 16 years has been teaching the game, whether through individual lessons, working with kids in schools, or by recording videos over the internet. I’ve also run The Chess Mind blog since 2005, but now let me speak about how I will contribute to this blog.

The plan is for me to post twice a week, and each of the two weekly posts will have its own theme. One of the weekly posts will present a tip, some advice, maybe a trick – something you can use to play better chess and to improve your results. The second post will have a new puzzle, along with the solution to and an explanation of the previous week’s puzzle. That’s the plan for now, but based on your feedback the content and the level of difficulty may be adjusted.

To get the ball rolling, let me begin with a puzzle from one of the most crazy and entertaining games I ever played in a tournament. I played very risky, creative chess – beginning with a queen sac on move 6! – but my opponent (who has black here) was absolutely up to the occasion. Through this point he has played extremely well, had an answer for everything I threw at him and survived serious time trouble, too. Now the game is just about in the bag for him. We start here, with the position after his 52nd move:

Our Chess Discussion this week…


At this point I played 53.b3-b4. What should he do – or alternatively, what should he not do, and why?

Please go ahead and discuss below. What do you think? Add your opinion and we’ll take a look next week at how the game ended and why.

Dennis Monokroussos

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5 comments to Chess Puzzle of the week: October 23

  • cheVelle

    White’s last move 53.b4 is a tricky one, setting up one last trap for black. He should avoid 53…cxb4? 54.Qd6+! Qxd6 stalemate!

  • Ross H

    I guess the key here is to make sure there are no perpetuals and such.

    First first inclination was that cxb was ok and useful because after …
    53 … cxb4 54 Qe6+ Kg5 55 Qg8+ Kf4 there are no checks but white could play Qg2 and having the open c file for the queen to guard against the onslaught of checks is useful.

    None of that matters because of the absurd Qd6+ though. Ridiculous.

    With this stalemate issue in mind, Kf6 instead, threatening multiple mates. So Qxc5 Qxc5 and there is nothing left to play for.

  • Art Galstian

    53… cb5.54. Qd6+

  • Ish

    Oh, that’s cruel! He shouldn’t eat the b-pawn, as there’s a stalemate trap which I bet he played into! 53. b4 cxb4?? 54. Qd6+! now if the king moves then 55.Qxc7 and white wins, so 54…Qxd6 stalemate. 1/2 – 1/2.

    Instead of 53… cxb4, any reasonable move should suffice, such as 53… Qb8+ (giving the enemy king some room on the 2nd rank) and then taking the b-pawn would just be too much to take.

  • Vasanth

    I think if he doesn’t take, he will win.If he takes then Qd6+ will result in stalemate after he plays QXQ(if he doesn’t he will lose)

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