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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winners of 2009 Kosteniuk Grand-Prix Puzzle Contest

Hello everyone!

2009 is over and so is my 2009 Alexandra Kosteniuk Grand-Prix Puzzle Contest. It's time to announce the winners of the December Alexandra Kosteniuk Grand-Prix Puzzle Contest as well as the overall winner of 2009.

Surprisingly, out of all the solutions received only 2 solutions were totally correct.

Here are the full answers to the puzzles:

Hoffman - Petrov, 1844. Black to move.

Puzzle 1. Black plays and wins

12. … O-O !! Nice queen sacrifice 13.

[13. Rf1 Rxf7 14. Rxf7 Qg5+ 15. Qg4 Qxg4 15. Kxg4 Kxf7 -+ ]

13. ... Bf2+ 14. Kh3

[14. Kg4 Rf4+ 15. Kg5 (15. Kh5 Rh4+ 16.Kg5 h6+ 17.Kf5 Ne7#) 15. ... h6+ 16. Kh5 Rh4+ 17. Kg6 Ne7#]

14. ... d6+ 15. e6

[15.g4 Nf4#]

15. ... Nf4+ 16. Kg4 Nxe6 17.g3 Nd4

[ 17. ... Nd8+ leads to checkmate even faster 18. Kh5 (18. Kg5 Rf5+ 19. Kg4 Rf6+ 20. Kg5 Be3+ 21. Kh4 Rh6+ 22. Qh5 g5#; 18. Kh4 Rf4+ 19. Kg5 Ne6+ 20. Kh5 g6+ 21. Kh6 Rh4+ 22. gxh4 Be3#) 18...Rf5+ 19.Kg4 Rf6+ 20.Kh4 Rh6+ 21.Kg5 Be3#]

18. Nxe6 Bxe6+ 19. Kh4

[19. Kg5 Rf5+ 20. Kg4 h5+ 21. Kh3 Rf3#]

19. ... Nf5

[19. ... Rf4 was also checkmating]

20. Kh3 Ne3+ 21. Kh4 Ng2+ 22. Kh5 g6+ 23. Kg5 Be3#

Healey, 1861, White plays and checkmates in 3 moves.

A very nice and difficult checkmate in 3 problem, here's what Fernando Rosetti writes about it:

"The knight protects a mate square (d6) while the bishop guards the c7 and d7 mate squares. Therefore, black has only two playable moves: Bd7 or Be8. How to find the key move?Theoretically, in a composition, each “extra piece” plays an important role. Not different here. The pawn on g2 avoids mate in one (Qg1), Rf3 stops the pawn advance f3-f2, and therefore g1 is an important square. The bishop on a1 seems useless but sharp-eyed solvers can understand him like a “correction” in order to avoid the dual. So, the key is the only square that does not block up the queen’s incursion to g1 via b1.

1. Rh1!! Be8/Bd7
2. Qb1 Bb5
3. Qg1#

If black plays other than 2. ... Bb5, white checkmates with 3. Qb4."

Pillsbury – Em. Lasker
St. Petersburg (1895-96)

17. … Rxc3 18. fxe6

[ In case of 18. bxc3 Black can get a better endgame by playing Qxc3 19. Qf3! (19.fxe6? Qb4+ 4.Ka1 Rc8 5.exf7+ Kf8) 19. ... Qxf3! 20. gf Bxf5+ 21. Bd3 Bh3 or he can play for an attack with 18. ... Bd7!? since after 19. Qf3 Rc8 Black's attack is unstoppable]

Ra3!! The key of the combination.

19. exf7+?

[ With the strongest 19. ba! White would have still been able to save the game but for that he would need to do many more excellent defensive moves.]

Rxf7 20. bxa3 Qb6+ 21. Bb5 Qxb5 22. Ka1 Rc7?

[The easiest way to win here is to play 22. ... Qc4! 23. Qg4 Re7! (with the idea Re4 or Re2) 24. Rhe1 Bxd4+ 25. Qxd4 Rxe1 winning]

23. Rd2 Rc4 24. Rhd1?

[White could have make a draw after 24. Re1!]

24. ... Rc3?

[24. ... Qc6 was winning]

25. Qf5 Qc4 26.Kb2?

[26. Kb1 could have helped White to stop Blaxk's attack and gain the initiative]

26. ... Rxa3 !! 27. Qe6+ Kh7?

[ Black was winning after 27. ... Kh8]

28. Kxa3??

[ After 28. Qf5+ Kh8 29. Kb1 White could saved the game]

Qc3+ 29. Ka4 b5+! 30. Kxb5 Qc4+ 31. Ka5 Bd8+ 32. Qb6 Bxb6#

You can find more comments about this game in the excellent work by Garry Kasparov "My Great Predecessors", volume 1.


The Grand-winner of the Grand-Prix is Fernando Rossetti from Brazil, he gets my new autographed book "Diary of a Chess Queen", congratulations!

Renato Oliviera and Francisco Valiente were just a few points behind the winner and get my "Best Games DVD" as a prize.

Thanks to everybody for participating!

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion



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