Next Tournament

Importance of evaluating position! Quiz for 1/28

The first position was reached in my online game on ICC after a closely fought middle game. In this position, I am white and I am on the move. Without thinking much, I continued 20.Qxc3 dxc3 21.Nb3 c2. To my horror I now realized that black is threatening ...Bb2 after which I have to sacrifice my knight for the pawn. I almost was about to hit the resign button, when I thought about evaluating concrete variations. Only later, did I realize that I was never lost in any position of the game. After thinking for a long time, the game continued 33.f5 g5 34.h4 Bf5+ 35.Kg4 Bf4 36.hxg5 hxg5 37.a4 c1=Q 38.Nxc1 Bxc1 39.a5 Kg7 40.Kf3 and we reach position number 2 as shown below. White controls the e3 square with hopes to be able to push the a pawn forward. It so happens, however, that in this position, there still are two moves for black (neither one obvious) that allow black to secure a draw! What are these moves?


  1. Ba3 or Bf4, in order to reach in time critical b7 square, seems to hold. Now which one is better or there is no difference - not sure yet.

  2. ...Bf4 is the correct one. Interestingly ...Ba3 looks very tempting but it looses since black looses an important tempo when the white king attacks the black bishop. for eg. ...Ba3, Ke4 ...Kf6, g4 ...Ke7 (...Bc5, Kd5 and white king penetrates to c6) a6 ...Bc5, Kd5 ...Ba7, Kc6 and white king will escort the pawn.

    However with ...Bf4, no tempo is lost and the bishop can defend from b8 the square b7.

    Interestingly there is another solution that fritz found out and that is the immediate pawn sacrifice with ...g4, but I am not complete sure of this line.

  3. The e3 square is controlled by the white king but the f4 square is protected by the black g pawn. The black bishop thus will be able to defend the queening square.
    2.a6 Bb8 or if
    2.g3 Bb8 Either way the pawn is stopped.

    Next the black king will get to f6 and this is now for sure a draw.

    I have looked at this for a while and can not come up with the other move.

  4. The other move ...g4 is what is suggested by Fritz and I found it difficult for black to hold with that line althought Fritz says its possible. But yes ...Bf4 is correct and I think that is the only move.