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Aug 8,2002

chess chess

Puzzle (K. Mueller 2000, Original)
White to move and draw


The whole board is fenced with pawn chains, but the threat of White's defeat is still present. After an exchange on c4 Black's king can get to the white pawns on the queenside owing to the two spare tempos of Black's h-pawn.

1. Kc2

White is waiting for Black's activity.

1... Kb6

1... bxc4 2. bxc4 a4 would not win the game because there was 3. Kc3, and if 3... Kb6, then 4. b4.

What should White do now? 2... bxc4 3. bxc4 a4 is threatening to be followed with 4... Ka5. If White defends from this threat with 2. Kc3, then after 2... Ka6! there will be a zugzwang, and White will lose. The exchange 2. cxb5 Kxb5 is unacceptable for White, because after 3. Kc3 h6 with another zugzwang Black's king can proceed safely on its way to White's camp.

2. Kb1!

White's king tries to get closer to the square a3 where it will defend White's camp from an intrusion of the black king and struggle actively with Black's a-pawn.

2... bxc4 3. bxc4 a4 4. Ka2

Just in time to prevent the black king from getting to b4.

4... Ka5 5. Ka3 h6 6. b3!

This resource is conditioned by the position of the white king on a3. If it stood on c3 in a similar position, then Black would have had the winning a4-a3, but now there is an obvious draw on the board.

6... axb3 7. Kxb3 h5 8. Ka3


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"The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move"! David Bronstein.

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