Maybe the hardest chess puzzle ever

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P. DeBonis, 2035
V. Perevozchikov, 2187


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Last problem posted :

Om Prakash    (2012-01-18 10:50:09)
Maybe the hardest chess puzzle ever?

Its GK time now. The Truck Driver and Tal Problem..... A long, long time ago we are talking April 1987 there was a super-GM tournament in Brussels. It was won by the the great Jugoslav GM Ljubo Ljubojevic, who today lives in Linares, Spain. World Champion Garry Kasparov was equal first with the same number of points. The two were one and a half points ahead of Anatoly Karpov and the rest of the field, which included Tal, Larsen, Kortschnoj, Timman and a very young and off-form Nigel Short. The other memorable thing, which is the subject of today's puzzle, was an encounter with a very intense young British Grandmaster Jim Plaskett was visiting the tournament,As a parting gift Jim showed me the following interesting study: [FEN "8/3P3k/n2K3p/2p3n1/1b4N1/2p1p1P1/8/3B4 w - - 0 1"] "White to play and win", said Jim with a intense little smirk. And all players spent the rest of the day shuffling the pieces around on the board. Occasionally one of the super-GMs would come in after his game, and occasionally they would join in the analysis. But nobody got it that day. Except Misha Tal, who worked on it unsuccessfully for ten minutes, left the press room and then suddenly popped in again an hour later. Apparently he had worked out the main idea during a walk in the park. So White hat to take more drastic measures: 1.Nf6+ Kg7! 1...Kh8 2.d8Q+ is mate in three; and 1...Kg6 2.Bh5+ Kf5 3.d8Q wins, as there is the forking square f7 is defended by the bishop. 2.Nh5+ Kg6. 2...Kf7 would block the forking square and allow 3.d8Q. 3.Bc2+! Forcing Black to take the knight a very difficult move for computers to find. 3Kxh5 4.d8Q!! (allowing the fork) Nf7+ 5.Ke6 Nxd8+ 6.Kf5. White is threatening 7.Bd1+ e2 8.Bxe2 mate. 6e2 7.Be4. Threatening 8.Bf3#. Black has only one reasonable defence underpromotion! 7e1N 8.Bd5!! c2 9.Bc4 (threatening 10.Be2 with mate in two) 9c1N 10.Bb5 (threatening 11.Be8 with mate in two) 10Nc7 11.Ba4.Look at this situation. Black has four knight (and a bishop), but cannot stop the lone white bishop from delivering mate in three moves, e.g. 11Ne2 12.Bd1 Nf3 13.Bxe2 and 14.Bxf3 mate. A beautiful, fascinating problem, praised by many readers (see feedback below). However we discovered a fairly serious difficulty in this study. Actually it was the same Jim Plaskett who drew everyone's attention to the fact that in the meantime analysts had found that Black can draw by playing 4Kg4 (instead of going for the queen with 4Nf7+). A bit of computer analysis confirmed: this seems to destroy the study by preventing a white win. John Roycroft, in the endgame magazine EG vol. 122, says: The composer of this fine study is the Dutch composer Gijs van Breukelen, who demonstrated it as an example of his own work at a meeting of ARVES held in 1992 in Delft. The position with the authors name was already in Schakend Nederland of iii1990 as an original. The composer said at the ARVES meeting that he had composed it in the mid-1970s and shown it to several friends, but had neither sent it for publication nor entered it for a tourney. Having somehow penetrated the player circuit it circulated rapidly, acquiring journalistic colour en route though being associated either with a (totally fictitious) Ukrainian tractor-driver, or with a very specific (but equally spurious) game between leading masters. The late IGM Tal was one of the active propagators, but when asked he claimed he could not remember who had first shown it to him. Note:- So to Avoid draw by Kg4 if we can place a pawn at h2 to support g3, It becomes the fine Puzzle ever.

Chess problems :

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