Moves we would all like to play (part 5)

Yochanan Afek, New in Chess 1996. 

White to play and win

White has two extra pieces, but the black pawns are immensely strong, and White also needs to retain his h-pawn, if he is to win. The obvious starting move is 1.Nhg4?, which freezes the black pawns, but after the surprising 1…f1(Q)! 2.Nxf1 Kg2 3.h4 Kxf1 4.h5 Ke2! the black e-pawn queens. Instead, the solution begins with the unlikely-looking 1.Nhf1!, stepping into the path of the onrushing enemy pawns. Then there  follows 1…g2 2.h4! g1(Q)

And now we play the lovely 3.Kf7!! and invite Black to find a move! His queen is dominated. Only now do we see the iron logic of White’s play. 1.Nhf1 was not about saving the knight, but taking control of the square g3. Likewise, 2.h4 was not about promoting the pawn, but taking control of g5, whilst 3.Kf7 takes control of the three remaining squares on the g-file!

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