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Let's Play Chess

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Tournament Announcements

Summer means outdoor interests and fewer Idaho Chess Association activities. The next event scheduled is the second annual Tri-State Team Championships in Jackson, Wyoming, October 15 and 16. Preregistration is necessary. Contact Barry Eacker at eacker@gobigwest.com or 208-733-6186.

The competition is between Idaho, Montana and defending champ Wyoming. Idaho needs strong players to register for this year's event. The Antler Hotel (307-733-2535) has special chess player's rates. When registering, mention you are with Jon Fortune's party. On-site check-in is Saturday from 8 to 9 a.m.. Round times are Saturday at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and Sunday at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. This is a free event.

The problem

This month we feature an endgame. Tournament games often turn into endurance contests as the endgame approaches. After hours of hard work, you have to stay focused. If you make an error at this stage of the game, you won't often have time to recover. Always be on guard for possible surprise moves from your opponent.

Our game is from the 2004 U.S. Game 60 Championships (a 60-minute time limit). Black is way ahead in material and looks to be easily winning. The Black King is blocking the path of White's passed a-pawn. Note that the White King is trapped on the a-file and cannot move. This means the only White piece available to move is the Rook. What would happen if White's Rook were captured?

Black didn't examine the position closely enough and began his pawn push towards White's first rank where he can exchange one for a Queen. So, he moved 41..., g5 (which means the pawn on the g-file moves two squares ahead to the 5th rank). The g and h pawns, with some help from the Rook should be able to easily overwhelm Black and win the game. Can you see anything White may do to avoid certain defeat?

Answer: White can move 4l. Rb2! The Black Rook must capture the White Rook with a 4l... RxB2 stalemate, or lose his Rook and end the game.