GM David Howell attends training day at Hove, 18th January

Thanks to GM David Howell (SJC President) who spent the day with us, joining each training group, and giving an interactive masterclass on under-promotion.

Sussex Junior Chess were thrilled that their president, one of the world’s best players, came along to the Aldrington training day to present the children with a masterclass.

David began with a little background – he always does some puzzles the night before a match as this reminds him of patterns, themes and ideas. On this occasion he was rewarded the very next day.

Position 1 – White to play and win

The problem for White here is stalemate. Letting the Black King out of the corner risks losing.
How does White win this?
Incredibly it is mate in 6!

  1. a7 f3
  2. a8(Knight)!! f2
  3. Nb6!! Giving Black a move cb
  4. c7 b5
  5. c8(Queen or Bishop!) b4
  6. Qc6 mate (or Qa8, Qb7, Bb7)

So … promotion to a Knight on a8 … fine for a study but never likely to happen in a real game

Fast forward 24 hours and David, White to play, is in trouble in the position below. A pawn down and Ne3 forking is a big threat….

Well, first we need a plan to get a draw.
If we can get rid of both Black pawns we have the draw.
So … the Bishop will have to give itself up for the g pawn and then we use the a-pawn to divert the Black King away from the defence of the c-pawn.
Easy!? Let’s see…..

  1. Bh1 Tip from David: keep the pieces far apart to avoid a Knight fork
  2. a5 Passed pawns must be pushed!
  3. Bg2 Ne3+
  4. Kb5 Staying in touch with c5
  5. a6 Nf4
  6. a7 Ne6

What now …
If 7. a8(Queen) then White loses to Nc7+
Hopefully you’ve guessed it by now, David found

7. a8(Knight)!!
Under promoting just like in the puzzle the day before and securing the draw