SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
There is something magical about any pawn on the 7th rank. Courageously making its way thru the battlefield to reach the 7th rank—and with full consciousness that the end of its natural life is close at hand—the possibility of a final heroic gesture captures our imagination!
In the following study by Kofman, Black holds a huge material advantage, but is completely helpless against White’s 3 isolated pawns on the 7th. Witness how he is unable to find any time to regroup his pieces to create threats against the White King…
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN
The d-pawn sacrifices itself to divert Black momentarily. The gift must be accepted since 1… Qxh7 loses quickly to 2. Qb6 Kf1 3. Bg2 Kxg2 4. a8Q etc.
Black is up a bundle of material: a Queen and a Knight! It is hard to imagine that the White pawns will bring victory!
A small move that threatens big things. White’s a-pawn can not be prevented from promoting, and if Black does nothing then the h-pawn will follow suite! So Black must go after the h-pawn.
2… Qh8 !
Now Black is faced with a tough choice. If he takes the h-pawn as intended (3… Qxh7) then he will lose his Queen!: 4. Qa7 Kf1 (4… Kh2 5. Qf2 Kh3 6. Qg2 Kh4 7. Qh2 Kg5 8. Qxh7) 5. Ba6 Ke1 6. Qxh7 etc So Black’s next move is forced…
From out of nowhere Black is faced with mate in one! If now 4… d5 5. Qxd5 leaves Black with the same dilemma or if instead 4…Qg7 5.h8!(Q) wins immediately. Two Queens is too much! So Black has no choice but to flee with his King…
4… Kf2 !
Finally things become clear: While the Black King can escape with its life (for the moment), it is the Black Queen that will perish first!
5… Ke3 6. Qg8 !
Black has no choice but to resign! White will promote his h-pawn. If now 6…Qd4 (hoping for …Qa4ch) then either 7.Qe8ch followed by Queening or 7.Qg1ch followed by exchanging Queens and then promoting the h-pawn gives a simple win to White.
Rafael Kofman, 1909-1988, was an internationally respected Soviet problemist and arbiter. He was awared the title of International Master of problems in 1973. . Since 1925 Kofman was very active in compositions, and published more than 400 compositions. He competed in more than 150 events and achieved 42 first prizes for his efforts. In 1985 he published ”Selected Compositions”.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS