Friday, 11 February 2011

Castling VERY long!

Last week I posted a problem that I suggested could be the hardest in the world. (I have re-published the post this week as several readers reported that a glitch in the previous version meant that the starting position was not shown!) Being as the solution broke the current laws of chess it isn’t surprising that even the strongest of chess engines would be unable to find it.

This week I would like to continue in a similar vein and also add some tasty nik-naks to the castling theme that I started to develop in two posts from last year "Castle because you have to, not because you can", and "When castling goes bad!". Take a look at the composition below by Tim Krabbé. It is White to play and mate in 3 moves and the solution involves several castling manouevres, some more conventional than others! I'll give the solution at the end of this post.

White to play and mate in 3 by Tim Krabbé

Before we go any further I should say a little bit more about the source of today's content. I recently discovered Tim Krabbé's website, Chess Curiosities. It is all about the beauty of chess and, even though he stopped posting frequently a while ago there is a veritable tresure trove of content to be found within its bowels. Krabbé is Dutch and is a modern day polymath in that he is a novelist, journalist, cyclist (he rode competatively I believe) and a very strong chess player (he was in the Dutch top 20 back in the 70's). He is probably most well known over here in the UK for his novel "Het Gouden Ei" ("The Golden Egg") which was re-made as a Hollywood film "The Vanishing" in 1993. For film officionados though, the original Dutch version of the film (called "Spoorloos" - "Traceless"), made in 1988 by the same Director, George Sluizer, is rather better than the remake.

One particluarly interesting aspect of Chess Curiosities is Krabbé's unofficial collection of chess records which he has compiled with the help of his readers and contacts. Included in the list is the record for the latest castling which is actually shared by the two games below.

Somogyi vs. Black, New York 2002

Neshewat vs Garrison, Detroit 1994.
 Of course there are certainly games that will have involved later castlings than these two but these are the latest instances where the games can be qualified due to their being "serious and verifiable tournament games" as Krabbé defines them. Elsewhere in his "Open Chess Diary"  Krabbé provides another game that not only looks like a later instance of castling but also involves a nice little combination. The problem is that the game was a blitz game and therefore the exact move number and veracity of the position cannot be proven. The combination is unusual and witty so it is still worth re-publishing here.

Anon vs. Macieja, Blitz Game, Poland
In the position on the left White played.

1.Rxb7 ...

and offered a draw. However, Black then gave his opponent a nasty surprise in the form of...

2...      Nc5+!!
3.dxc5 0-0-0+

and now White was forced to resign.

So, finally, let's return to Krabbé's mate in 3 problem which he composed in 1972 and utilises three (!) different castling manouevres to give mate in the three different lines.

White to play and mate in 3
 The lines go:
a.) 1.e7 Kd3 2.e8=Q gxf3 3.O-O-O mate
b.) 1.e7 Kxf3 2.e8=R! d4 3.O-O mate
c.) 1.e7 Kxf3 2.e8=R! Kg2 3.O-O-O-O-O-O! mate

In the last variation White utilises a loophole that then existed in the definition of castling. He castles withisnewly promoted rook, moving his king to e3 and the rook to e2. Under the rules of chess at the time this problem was created this move was legal because neither the king nor the rook had moved yet. Afterwards, FIDE amended their rules to require that the castling rook must occupy the same rank as the king. A very unusual and witty little problem!

Come back to this blog next week for coverage of what promises to be a very exciting 4th round of this year's Calderdale Individual Championship. I am also promising readers an update on the "Lucky Sweatshirt" saga!


Nick said...

Black should have resigned ages ago! :-)

Intermezzo said...

Yeah, you're probably right ;)

Kjetil said...

Why should black not move pawn to f3 in first move?