Snatching a victory

White has a very direct Rh7-h8# threat and black's most obvious defences are not satisfactory:
a) 1... Ke8 2. dxc4 ...
b) 1... Re2+ 2. Kxe2 Qe7+ 3. Qxe7+ Kxe7 4. dxc4 ...
Desperate times require desperate measures and black figures out a spectacular way to snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat. Hope you will enjoy replaying the winning combination!

[Event "Baku Open 2016"][Date "2016.09.26"][White "Mamedjarova, Turkan"][Black "Karayev, Kanan"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r4k2/ppq2p1R/5Q2/7p/2bp1p2/3P4/PPP2KPP/4r3 b - - 0 1"]1...Rf1+!! {Forces the white King onto a white square; Rh7 is on a white square!} 2.Kxf1 Bxd3+ 3.cxd3 Qc1+ 4.Kf2 Qd2+ 5.Kf1 Qxd3+ 6.Kf2 Qxh7 {the dust has settled and now black is crushing white}

Queens' mesmerizing windmill

We all know the Queen is a powerful piece. It is also very fascinating in what it can do in the most unexpected situations. Here 2 Queens get to work together and defeat 6 Rooks using a mesmerizing windmill. Why is this working with all these powerful pieces involved? The answer is so close to real life, it leaves you wondering: the weakest and most ignored participant - a pawn - proves to be the weakest link. "Good bye (black)!" as they used to say in that popular TV game... Enjoy the combination!

[Event "Puzzle"][Date "2016.08.02"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "8/7Q/2r1p3/2rkr3/2rrr2Q/7K/8/8 w - - 0 1"] 1.Qd8+ Rd6 2.Qb7+ Rc6 3.Qa5+ Rc5 4.Qb3+ Rc4 5.Qd2+ Rd4 6.Qf3+ Re4 7.Qg5+ e5 {The weakest link starts its short march to meet its destiny} 8.Qf7+ Re6 9.Qd8+ Rd6 10.Qb7+ Rc6 11.Qa5+ Rc5 12.Qb3+ Rc4 13.Qd2+ Rd4 14.Qf3+ e4 {One last step to defend its King and country} 15.Qg5+ Re5 16.Qf7+ Re6 17.Qd8+ Rd6 18.Qb7+ Rc6 19.Qa5+ Rc5 20.Qb3+ Rc4 21.Qd2# {Poor powerless pawn begging forgiveness for watching the end come by him!...} 1-0

How good were you as a 6 years old?

Not sure about you dear reader, but at 6 years old I was just an amateur beginner. My mom would beat me at chess senseless with a few opening traps she knew and to this day she is the one opponent I have the most lopsided losing score against; of course that is a result of her retiring the minute I took it more seriously and learned all her tricks. Here I would like to show you what is needed today to stand a chance at succeeding in junior chess. The position comes from a Golden Knights B28 club game between 6 years old Ethan and 13 years old Coco; the game was postponed for a while and when played it ended that tournament. Enjoy the combination!

[Event "Golden Knights B28 tournament"][Site "Burnaby, BC"][Date "2016.06.23"][Round "8"][White "Song, Ethan"][Black "Ruan, Coco"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "rn2k1r1/p4p2/1p1p1Bpp/4p3/2P1N3/6P1/PP2PP1P/R4RK1 b q - 0 1"]{White has winning material advantage and black walks right into what follows; still that does not diminish one bit the mating trap white sets up} 1...Kd7 {the d6-pawn is doomed anyway; better is Na6 to free up Ra8} 2.Rad1 Ke6 {that is one brave King taking alone on all white pieces} 3.Rxd6+ Kf5 4.f3! {fascinating mating idea for a 6 years old} Na6 {too late} 5.e3 ({Option 1:} 5.Bg5 hxg5 Rf6#)({Option 2:} 5.g4+ Kf4 6.Kf2 {and e2-e3# at the next move}) 5. g5 6.Bxg5! {Ethan saw it anyway} hxg5 7.Rf6# 1-0

Susan Polgar Foundation Girls’ Invitational 2016 - BC Championship

The first edition of this important tournament saw some very eager participants fighting for the 1st place bringing them the BC title and qualification to the continental final in St. Louis. I have selected an interesting position from each round and put together a nice and very representative chess selection of 5 replayable puzzles. It provides a glimpse of where we are at and how much we still need to go as players, teachers and coaches. Enjoy the selection!

[Event "SPFGI BC 2016"][Site "Burnaby"][Date "2016.04.03"][Round "1"][White "Van, Anna"][Black "Ruan, Coco"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "4rrk1/2q4p/1p2b1p1/pP1pNpb1/P1nP4/8/3N1PPP/B1RQR1K1 b - - 0 1"]{Coco, one of our club representatives, held her own quite well when facing her more experienced opponent and here she had a very good chance to get ahead}1...Bxd2 2.Qxd2 Nxd2?! {Not the best}  (2...Qxe5!? 3.Rxc4 Qxe1+ 4.Qxe1 dxc4 {of course it is hard to expect girls to play so wild}) 3.Rxc7 Nb3?? {Coco did not realize this traps her Knight} 4.Bc3 {white won with ease from here on} 1-0<br />
[Event "SPFGI BC 2016"][Site "Burnaby"][Date "2016.04.03"][Round "2"][White "Yang, Bo Wen (Angelina)"][Black "Seyfi, Agata"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "6k1/p1R2p1p/b5p1/3rp3/8/1P2K1N1/P4PPP/8 b - - 0 1"]1...f5 {The obvious threat is f5-f4+ and fork; however black had a much nastier surprise if white was not careful} 2.Ne2?? {Sometimes you cannot see the forest for the trees...} Rd3# 0-1<br />
[Event "SPFGI BC 2016"][Site "Burnaby"][Date "2016.04.03"][Round "3"][White "Bains, Shya"][Black "Shan, Lyvia"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "rq6/pp6/2n1k1p1/5b2/2Npn2r/P2R4/1PP2PP1/5RK1 w - - 0 1"]{Two girls at their first official tournament learned a few important lessons along the way} 1.Rf3?? {Lesson = long moves are always deadly} Qh2# 0-1<br />
[Event "SPFGI BC 2016"][Site "Burnaby"][Date "2016.04.03"][Round "4"][White "Van, Anna"][Black "Seyfi, Agata"][Result "1/2-1/2"][SetUp "1"][FEN "8/p6p/5K2/6P1/6k1/8/P7/8 w - - 0 1"]{This was an important game for both players} 1.g6 hxg6 2.Kxg6 Kf4 {this looks like a simple draw if white knows the simple strategy it needs to apply: go directly to the a1-corner} 3.Kf6 Ke4 4.Ke6 Kd4 5.Kd6 Kc4 6.Kc6 {white seems not to know the strategy required here and now black has an incredible chance to score an important win} a5 7.a3?? Kb3?? {Oh my! That misses the win}  (7...a4! {black wins the a3-pawn and promotes because the white King is too far}) 8.Kb6 Ka4?? {Oh my! This misses the win again} (8...a4 {the same comment: black wins the a3-pawn and promotes because the white King is too far}) 9.Ka6 {now we have a draw, result not helping either player} 1/2-1/2<br />
[Event "SPFGI BC 2016"][Site "Burnaby"][Date "2016.04.03"][Round "5"][White "Tian, Shi Yuan (Sherry)"][Black "Van, Anna"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "5k2/1p5p/1p2P3/5p2/1PK5/P6P/6P1/8 b - - 0 1"]{Our Champion annotates the endgame which brought her the title. "This position is winning for white in many ways: 1) White has a better King position 2) Black has too many weak pawns 3) White has a strong passed pawn that black needs to stop and capture before doing anything else. This takes time thought 4) Once the double b-pawns are gone, white will be ahead of the race to Queen (promote) because black's isolated pawns will take an extreme amount of time to become passed themselves"}1...Ke7 2.Kd5 Ke8 {at least black knows how to hold the opposition} 3.Kd6 Kd8 4.e7+ Ke8 5.Kc7 Kxe7 6.Kxb6 Ke6 7.Kxb7 {this is now an easy win for white. White needs 5 moves to promote, while black needs no less than 8}

Golden Knights Alumni Invitational 2016

Life keeps us busy day after day like a perpetuum mobile as time flies implacable into the past. It feels like yesterday our alumni were learning their chess ABC and in no time our current students will be in their shoes. Getting together with Alex and Stefan is always both nostalgic and fun; it makes us (Andrei, Radu and I) proud of how far they have come and the opportunities awaiting for them! We hope to find the time to play such tournaments more often and have other alumni join. The bond between us all has remained as strong as always and in the end this is what really connects us like a life line from past, to present and future. The results are not as important when you have fun; for the record here is the final standings for our double round robin with Andrei serving as TD.

GOLDEN KNIGHTS ALUMNI 2016
1. WFM Alexandra Botez 4.5
2. CM Valer Eugen Demian 4.0
3. NM Radu Laurentiu Roua 2.0
4. Stefan Trandafir 1.5

The most spectacular game was produced by the young generation; click on the title (or "Read more") to reach it. Hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!