Moves we would all like to play (part 12)

Sergey Kaminer, 1st Prize, Shakhmaty 1927

White to play and win

In this battle of mutual passed pawns, White has an extra piece, but in most positions, if the pawns are eliminated, the result will be a draw. White starts off with

1. Nf3+ Kc3

1… Kd3 is less good, because of 2. e7 Nd7 3. Nxd2 Nf5 4. Bb1+ winning.

2. e7 Nd7

2… d1=Q? 3. exf8=Q is obviously hopeless.

3. Nxd2


White wins at once after 3… Kxd2 4. Kg5, when his pawn queens.  Now, however, 4. e8=Q? fails to 4… Nf6+ 5.Kg5 Nxe8 6. Ne4+ Kb2! and White can only emerge a useless piece ahead. In order to win, he needs to ensure he wins a further piece for his e-pawn, since three minor pieces versus one is a theoretical win, even with no pawns on the board.

4. Ne4+!  Kd4

But now what? Promoting to a queen allows 5…Ng7+, and under-promoting loses the knight on e4. However…

5. e8=N! Kxe4 6. Bb1+

Black must hang on to his Nf5, else he will be two pieces down, and 6…Kf4 7.Ng6+ is no good. Hence…

6…Ke5  7. Ng6+ Ke6 8.Ba2# 

A beautiful mid-board mate has been conjured up from nowhere.

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