# chess

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I have seen grown men quake with disbelief at the seventh move of the solution of this study by Leopold Mitrofanov. It is White to play and win.

The beginning is easy enough: 1.b6+ when 1...Kb8 loses to 2.g7, with the threat of g8=Q+. Things are more tricky, however, after 1...Ka8! since 2.g7 h1=Q 3.g8=Q+ Bb8 4.a7 Qa1+ gives Black at least a perpetual check.

That line, however, provides the idea for White's second move: 2.Re1! when after 2...Nxe1 3.g7 h1=Q 4.g8=Q+ Bb8 5.a7, the queen's road to a1 is blocked. Now 5...Nc4+ 6.Ka6 leaves Black unable to prevent mate, so he must play 5...Nc6+! when 6.Ka6 allows Qf1 mate. So White must accept the offer with 6.dxc6, but how to meet 6...Qxh5+? With 7.Ka6 met by 7...Qe2+, the wide open spaces offer White's king nowhere to hide.

This is where most solvers give up. The solution is quite astounding: 7.Qg5!! Qxg5+ 8.Ka6! For the price of a queen, hite has cut out the check on e2. Black's only defence to the threat of b7 mate is 8...Bxa7, when 9.c7!! wins. The threats of b7 mate and c8=Q+ cannot both be met. A brilliant finale.