Chess: Finnish first

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The Independent Online
White to play, what do you do? Obviously you snaffle his bishop, promote your pawn to a queen, then think again after he moves his king. Wrong. After 1.exd8=Q Kg1, White cannot win. If he loses his bishop, Black draws with h-pawn on the seventh rank against queen, while 2.Qd1 h1=Q 3.Bc4+ Kh2 4.Qd6+ Kg1 also leads only to a draw if Black is careful.

White wins by ignoring the bishop with 1.e8=Q! when 1...Kg1 2.Qe3+ Kxf1 3.Qf3+ Kg1 4.Qg3+ Kh1 5.Qf2! wins as Black is not stalemated.

That would be a nice idea in itself, but the real point of the position is seen if Black insists on jettisoning his bishop with 1...Be7+! Now remarkably 2.Kc4 does not win: 2...Kg1 3.Bg2 Kxg2 4.Qa8+ Kg1 5.Qa1+ Kg2 6.Qb2+ Kg1 7.Qd4+ Kg2 8.Qg4+ Kf2! 9.Qh3 Bd6! 10.Kd3 Kg1.

This time, however, White does take the bishop: 2.Qxe7! Kg1 3.Ba6!! h1=Q 4.Bb7! and the queen has nowhere to run: 4...Qh3 5.Qe1+ Qf1 6.Qg3+ or 4...Qh8 5.Qe1+ Kh2 6.Qh1+. A first- prize winning study by the Finnish composer Julius Gunst.