I think what I did with the Nf3+ that I thought was mate was I checked that all the dark squares were controlled and then just left it at that because I lost track of what I was thinking.

If 2) … Ke1, 3) Nf3 is not mate, since the d1 square is quite accessible. However, this is the familiar N + B mate, either:
1) Bd3 — if Kh2,
2) Kf2, Kh1
3) Bf1, Kh2
4) Nf3+, Kh1
5) Bg2+ OR
****
1) Bd2 — if Kh1
2) Kf2, Kh2
3) Bf1, Kh1
4) Bg2+, Kh2
5) Nf3#

I can fortunately play this ending from this position blindfolded. Of course, getting this position, where the king is corralled in the right corner, is still an ending I haven’t fully mastered so that I can easily win it against a solid player:

1. Bd3

Keeps the king in the corner by taking away the f1 square:

1. …………Kh2

If black plays Kh1, white rearranges what you see below to use the king to take away h2 rather than h3: [1. …Kh1 2.Kg3 Kg1 3.Nh3 Kh1 4.Be4#].

2. Kf2

Uses the king to take away g1- both kings moves in the lines clear the line to h1 for the bishop…..

2. …………..Kh1

From here, white has two options to finish this off in 5 moves total, I just prefer this one, as does Lenny it appears…..

3. Bf1

Replaces the knight’s guard on h3 so that he can move…..

3. …………..Kh2
4. Nf3 Kh1
5. Bg2#

Like I wrote, the really, really hard part about this ending is getting to the point in the diagrammed position.

A few years ago in Raleigh NC I escaped with a draw because I traded my Knights for his pawn(s). Amazingly I believe that same week he was teaching his students not worry about the B and N mate because it is so rare. (He told me)…and something like after I got his pawn that I was cruel. He just stared at the board…made a few moves and then agreed to a draw…wow…whew I escaped!

4k3/2R1P3/8/2P5/7p/8/2K3p1/8 w How should white proceed?
8/1p6/p3kpr1/P4R2/5PP1/1P6/1KP5/8 w How should white proceed?
Q7/8/2N5/1P6/4K1k1/8/8/1q6 w How should white proceed?
4k3/1R6/5K1p/p4P2/6P1/8/4r3/8 w How should white proceed?
8/4R3/2k5/8/1PK1N3/6p1/6B1/8 w Find the shortest mate.

The first time this was posted, the commenters found at least, I think, three 1st moves for white to win. 1.Rb5 is one of them that Lucymarie found. I favored 1.Rg5, and others favored 1.Re5, and I couldn’t really tell you which is most accurate, but they clearly gave white near decisive advantages.

Here is the solution for the third puzzle. The idea is to promote a white pawn.
V-1
1. Kd4 Qxb5
2. Ne5+ Kf5
3. Qf8+ Ke6
4. Qf7+ Kd6
5. Nc4+ Kc6
6. Qe8+ Kc7
7. Qxb5 Kc8
8. Qc6+ Kd8
9. Qb7 Ke8
10. Ne5 Kd8
11. Qd7#

There was a game in one of the Kasparov vs. Karpov matches (1990, I think) where Karpov, late in the match (sometime around game 20/21, think) needed a victory to even the match, and he pressed a Q+N vs Q ending for about 30 moves. If memory serves, Kasparov also had two unconnected pawns with his king and queen against Karpov’s queen, knight, and king. I remember thinking at the time that Karpov was just being stubborn in pressing the ending since I was convinced there was no way to even win the ending if Kasparov didn’t even have the two pawns. This little puzzle shows that Karpov wasn’t being stubborn for no reason- it can be won if player with just the queen is a bit careless.

Here is the solution for the first puzzle. I don’t know how to win. I only found out how to get a draw.
V-1
1. Rc8+ Kxe7
2. Rg8 h3
3. c6 h2
4. c7 g1=Q
5. Rxg1 hxg1=Q
6. c8=Q
It isn’t a strong line.

V-2
1. Rc8+ Kxe7
2. Rg8 h3
3. c6 Kd6
4. Rg6+ Kc7
5. Kb2 h2
6. Rxg2 h1=Q
7. Rc2
The white’s plan is to save a pawn to secure a draw.

Well done. Yes, the second line is the most challenging for white, but it is a technical draw. I was just checking to see if you understood that last line.

5R2/5p2/8/2K1k1p1/7p/5P2/8/8 b How should black proceed?
8/8/p7/1b6/1P6/8/1P6/4K1k1 b How should black proceed?
8/7p/pp6/k1pn2B1/P2P4/KP5p/5P2/8 w How should white proceed?
1r6/4R3/2k2p2/8/1P2K2P/5P2/8/8 b How should black proceed?

Consider this position that arises from the main line of the solution (I pulled this position directly from the Nalimov Tablebase, though I have an analogous line in my own solution from 5 years ago).

8/8/p7/8/1P4b1/1P6/2K5/4k3 b

In reviewing my comment, it was a bit unclear to me even then if black has to force white to move the b5 to allow black to convert the black a-pawn into a b pawn. Is that the case or not?

1. Kg3 Kf1 2. Bd3+ Kg1 ( 2. … Ke1 3. Nf3# ) 3 Nh3+ Kh1 4. Be4#

I think what I did with the Nf3+ that I thought was mate was I checked that all the dark squares were controlled and then just left it at that because I lost track of what I was thinking.

If 2) … Ke1, 3) Nf3 is not mate, since the d1 square is quite accessible. However, this is the familiar N + B mate, either:

1) Bd3 — if Kh2,

2) Kf2, Kh1

3) Bf1, Kh2

4) Nf3+, Kh1

5) Bg2+ OR

****

1) Bd2 — if Kh1

2) Kf2, Kh2

3) Bf1, Kh1

4) Bg2+, Kh2

5) Nf3#

Lenny you lost one move in the second variation.

1. Bd3 Kh1

2. Kg3 Kg1

3. Nh3+ Kh1

4. Be4#

Correct! Mate in 4 is better than mate in 5! Nice catch, Alena.

I can fortunately play this ending from this position blindfolded. Of course, getting this position, where the king is corralled in the right corner, is still an ending I haven’t fully mastered so that I can easily win it against a solid player:

1. Bd3

Keeps the king in the corner by taking away the f1 square:

1. …………Kh2

If black plays Kh1, white rearranges what you see below to use the king to take away h2 rather than h3: [1. …Kh1 2.Kg3 Kg1 3.Nh3 Kh1 4.Be4#].

2. Kf2

Uses the king to take away g1- both kings moves in the lines clear the line to h1 for the bishop…..

2. …………..Kh1

From here, white has two options to finish this off in 5 moves total, I just prefer this one, as does Lenny it appears…..

3. Bf1

Replaces the knight’s guard on h3 so that he can move…..

3. …………..Kh2

4. Nf3 Kh1

5. Bg2#

Like I wrote, the really, really hard part about this ending is getting to the point in the diagrammed position.

Bd3 Kh2, Kf2 Kh1, Kg3 Kg1, Nh3+ Kh1, Nf3 #

A few years ago in Raleigh NC I escaped with a draw because I traded my Knights for his pawn(s). Amazingly I believe that same week he was teaching his students not worry about the B and N mate because it is so rare. (He told me)…and something like after I got his pawn that I was cruel. He just stared at the board…made a few moves and then agreed to a draw…wow…whew I escaped!

Puzzles for Alena or any who wish to try them:

4k3/2R1P3/8/2P5/7p/8/2K3p1/8 w How should white proceed?

8/1p6/p3kpr1/P4R2/5PP1/1P6/1KP5/8 w How should white proceed?

Q7/8/2N5/1P6/4K1k1/8/8/1q6 w How should white proceed?

4k3/1R6/5K1p/p4P2/6P1/8/4r3/8 w How should white proceed?

8/4R3/2k5/8/1PK1N3/6p1/6B1/8 w Find the shortest mate.

Here is the solution for the second puzzle.

1. Rb5 Rg7

2. f5+ Kd6

3. Rb6+ Kc5

4. Rxf6+ Rxg4

5. Rf7 b6

6. axb6 Kxb6

7. Rf6+ Kb7

8. Rf8 Rf4

9. f6 Kc6

10. f7 Kd7

11. Ra8 Rxf7

12. Ra7+ Ke6

13. Rxf7 Kxf7

14. Ka3 Ke6

15. Ka4 Kd5

16. Ka5 Kd4

17. Kxa6 Kc5

It’s a winning position for white.

The first time this was posted, the commenters found at least, I think, three 1st moves for white to win. 1.Rb5 is one of them that Lucymarie found. I favored 1.Rg5, and others favored 1.Re5, and I couldn’t really tell you which is most accurate, but they clearly gave white near decisive advantages.

Link

Wow!

Here is the solution for the third puzzle. The idea is to promote a white pawn.

V-1

1. Kd4 Qxb5

2. Ne5+ Kf5

3. Qf8+ Ke6

4. Qf7+ Kd6

5. Nc4+ Kc6

6. Qe8+ Kc7

7. Qxb5 Kc8

8. Qc6+ Kd8

9. Qb7 Ke8

10. Ne5 Kd8

11. Qd7#

V-2

1. Kd4 Qb2+

2. Kc5 Qc3+

3. Kb6 Qf6

4. Qg8+ Kh3

5. Ka7 Qf3

6. Qe6+ Kg3

7. Qd6+ Kg2

8. b6 Qf7+

9. b7 Kf2

10. Kb6 Qf3

11. b8=Q

It’s a win.

Well done!

There was a game in one of the Kasparov vs. Karpov matches (1990, I think) where Karpov, late in the match (sometime around game 20/21, think) needed a victory to even the match, and he pressed a Q+N vs Q ending for about 30 moves. If memory serves, Kasparov also had two unconnected pawns with his king and queen against Karpov’s queen, knight, and king. I remember thinking at the time that Karpov was just being stubborn in pressing the ending since I was convinced there was no way to even win the ending if Kasparov didn’t even have the two pawns. This little puzzle shows that Karpov wasn’t being stubborn for no reason- it can be won if player with just the queen is a bit careless.

Here is the solution for the fourth puzzle.

V-1

1. g5! h5

2. g6 h4

3. Rb8+ Kd7

4. g7 Rg2

5. g8=Q Rxg8

6. Rxg8 Kc6

7. Rh8 Kb5

8. Rxh4 a4

9. Ke6 a3

10. f6 a2

11. Rh1 a1=Q

12. Rxa1

V-2

1. g5 h5

2. g6 Kd8

3. g7 Rg2

4. Kf7 Kc8

5. Re7 Kd8

6. Ra7 Kc8

7. g8=Q+ Rxg8

8. Kxg8 Kb8

9. Rxa5 Kb7

10. Ra4 Kc6

11. Rh4 Kd7

12. Rxh5

It’s a winning position for white.

Looks good.

Link

Here is the solution for the fifth puzzle. It’s a beautiful puzzle. There are a few ways to checkmate.

V-1

1. b5+ Kb6

2. Nd2 Ka5

3. Nb3+ Ka4

4. Ra7#

V-2

1. Nd2+ Kb6

2. Nb3 Ka6

3. Nc5+ Kb6

4. Rb7#

V-3

1. Nxg3+ Kd6

2. Kd4 Ke6

3. Bd5+ Kd6

4. Ne4#

The first puzzle is very very difficult. I will try to crack it.

Mate in 4 is not the shortest!

Alena, after you solve this one, there are more puzzles below these comments.

Here is the solution for the first puzzle. I don’t know how to win. I only found out how to get a draw.

V-1

1. Rc8+ Kxe7

2. Rg8 h3

3. c6 h2

4. c7 g1=Q

5. Rxg1 hxg1=Q

6. c8=Q

It isn’t a strong line.

V-2

1. Rc8+ Kxe7

2. Rg8 h3

3. c6 Kd6

4. Rg6+ Kc7

5. Kb2 h2

6. Rxg2 h1=Q

7. Rc2

The white’s plan is to save a pawn to secure a draw.

Well done. Yes, the second line is the most challenging for white, but it is a technical draw. I was just checking to see if you understood that last line.

At last I have found the shortest mate.

1. Kc3! Kb5

2. Nc5 Kb6

3. Rb7#

You got it.

1. Bd3 Kh1 2. Kf2 Kh2 3. Bf1 Kh1 4. Bg2+ Kh2

5. Nf3#

or

1. Bd3 Kh2 2. Kf2 Kh1 3. Bf1 Kh2 4. Nf3+ Kh1

5. Bg2#

Puzzles for Alena or whoever wishes to try them:

5R2/5p2/8/2K1k1p1/7p/5P2/8/8 b How should black proceed?

8/8/p7/1b6/1P6/8/1P6/4K1k1 b How should black proceed?

8/7p/pp6/k1pn2B1/P2P4/KP5p/5P2/8 w How should white proceed?

1r6/4R3/2k2p2/8/1P2K2P/5P2/8/8 b How should black proceed?

Lol, problem solving fiesta!…I work two jobs so I do not have time lol!

Here is the solution for the first puzzle.

V-1

1…Kf4

2. Rxf7+ Kg3

3. Rh7 Kxf3

4. Kc4 Kg3

5. Rh5 g4

6. Kd5 h3

7. Ke5 h2

8. Kf5 Kg2

9. Kxg4 h1=Q

10. Rxh1 Kxh1

V-2

1…Kf4

2. Rxf7+ Kg3

3. f4 gxf4

4. Rxg7+ Kf3

5. Rh7 Kg3

6. Rg7+ Kf3

7. Rh7 Kg3

8. Kd4 h3

9. Ke4 h2

10. Rg7+ Kf2

11. Rh7 Kg3

12. Rg7+ Kf2

13. Rh7 Kg3

14. Rh5 Kg2

15. Rg5+ Kf2

16. Rh5 Kg2

17. Kxf4 h1=Q

18. Rxh1 Kxh1

V-2

1…Kf4

2. Rxf7+ Kg3

3. Rh7 Kxf3

4. Kc4 Kg3

5. Rh5 g4

6. Kd5 h3

7. Ke5 h2

8. Kf5 Kg2

9. Kxg4 h1=Q

10. Rxh1 Kxh1

It’s a draw.

Link

Here is the solution for the second puzzle.

1… Ba4

2. Kd2 Kf2

3. Kc3 Bb5

4. Kb3 Ke1

5. Kc3 Kd1

6. Kb3 Kc1

7. Kc3 Kb1

8. Kb3 Ka1

9. Kc3 Ka2

10. Kc2 Bc4

11. Kc3 Bb3

12. Kd3 Kxb2

13. Kd4 Kc2

14. Ke3 Kc3

15. Ke2 Kxb4

16. Kd2 Ka3

17. Kc1 Ka2

18. Kd2 a5

19. Kc3 a4

20. Kd3 a3

21. Kc3 Kb1

22. Kxb3 a2

23. Kc4 a1=Q

It’s a winning position for black.

Consider this position that arises from the main line of the solution (I pulled this position directly from the Nalimov Tablebase, though I have an analogous line in my own solution from 5 years ago).

8/8/p7/8/1P4b1/1P6/2K5/4k3 b

In reviewing my comment, it was a bit unclear to me even then if black has to force white to move the b5 to allow black to convert the black a-pawn into a b pawn. Is that the case or not?

In my opinion it’s inevitable.

Here is the solution for the third puzzle.

1. Bd8! c4

2. Bg5 Nb4

3. Bd2 b5

4. Bxb4+ Kb6

5. Bd6 Kc6

6. Be5 Kd5

7. axb5 axb5

8. Kb4 cxb3

9. Kxb3 h2

10. Bxh2 Kxd4

11. Kb4 Ke4

12. Kxb5 Kf3

13. Bg3 Kg4

14. Kc4 Kf5

15. Kd3 Kg4

16. Ke3 h5

17. Bb8 h4

18. Ke4 Kh5

19. Bh2 Kg5

20. Kf3 Kf5

21. Bf4 h3

22. Bg3 Kg5

23. Ke4 Kf6

24. f3 Ke6

25. Kf4 Kf7

26. Kf5 Kg7

27. f4 Kf7

28. Kg5 Ke6

29. Kg6 Kd5

30. f5 Kc6

31. f6 Kd5

It’s a winning position for white.

Well done!

Link