Queen v Pawn
Many of you are capable of finishing most queen vs pawn endgames. A pretty basic tactic is to plant your queen in front of the pawn somewhere and then march your king over to take it.
However, there are a few of these type of endgames worth noting. Specifically, when the opposing pawn is on the seventh rank. Take a look at the following position.
This can be a very challenging endgame for someone that doesn’t know the trick. The black king will defend the pawn as best he can without stepping in front of it, since doing so gives white the opportunity to move his king one square closer to capturing the pawn. So, white’s goal is to make the black king step in front of his pawn.
Here is a likely sequence to get the job done.
1. Qf4+ Kg2 2. Qe3 Kf1 3. Qf3 Ke1 4. Kb5
We get to move the king closer! Now, let’s do it one more time to get the idea.
4 … Kd2 5. Qf2 Kd1 6. Qd4+ Kc1 7. Qe3 Kd1 8. Qd3+ Ke1 9. Kc4
Another step! This process continues until black sees that there is no hope and resigns or steps away from his pawn so you can capture and finish the game against the lone king.
OK. Time for a mind-blowing realization if you haven’t seen this yet. Take a look at the following position and notice what is different about the first position given above.
All we have done is interchanged the king and pawn… and what?!? Black can force a draw?!?
Let’s play our regular series of moves and see why.
1. Qe5+ Kd2 2. Qf4+ Ke2 3. Qe4+ Kd2 4. Qf3 Ke1 5. Qe3+ Kf1 6. Kb5
Our king is on the way to the rescue! Let’s keep this up.
6 … Kg2 7. Qe2 Kg1 8. Qg4+ Kh2 9. Qf3 Kg1 10. Qg3+ Kh1!
The king steps away from the pawn to tempt white into taking it for a stalemate. Black can continue to do this and never step in front of his pawn to allow any more advancement of the white king! What an interesting endgame draw!
To conclude: if black has a protected pawn on the seventh rank in the a, c, f, or h files, black can force a draw (as long as white’s king is sufficiently far away). If black has a pawn on the seventh rank in the b, d, e, or g files, white can win.
Mixed Motifs Mate
Not sure if it was my tired mind and the end of the night last night, but I couldn’t find the best move here. Study the position and see what comes out as best.
I considered 1. Qg5+ for a long time until I saw the black response 1 … Rg6. That definitely wasn’t the best move. The next paragraph contains a hint, and the following will give the solution.
This puzzle is a mate-in-3 puzzle. If I were given that, I may have been able to find it!
The solution is 1. Rg7+. I’ll leave it to the reader to find the different ways you can mate in 2 more moves if black chooses 1 … Bxg7 or 1 … Kh8.