### Seeing Stars

"Seeing stars" can have several meanings. If you're out in the country, far from city lights, on a clear evening "seeing stars" means taking in a magnificent heavenly display of millions of stars, covering the sky in brilliant beauty. On the other hand, if you accidentally bump your head on a hard, fixed object, you'll be "seeing stars" in a much different and decidely less pleasant way.

In today's problem, shown below, you'll be "seeing stars" --- star moves, that is. Recall that a "star" move is one that is essential to either win or hold the draw. It's the one and only correct move, and it's annotated with an asterisk, or star. The terms of the problem are "Black to play and draw" but actually star moves--- a number of them--- appear on both sides as Black and White both navigate through a finely balanced position.

WHITE

BLACK
Black to Play and Draw

B:W32,30,20,19,9:B23,12,11,10,7

We wouldn't call this an exciting or elegant problem but it certainly is practical and didactic. Be a star and solve it, then click on Read More to see the solution.

Solution

We give what we feel is the best line of play that would most likely be chosen by a human. Explore variants with your computer.

 1 11-15* 19-16*

32-28 loses; try it!

 2 12x19 9-6

Other moves possible here but this one seems most natural.

 3 10-14* 6-2 4 7-10* 2-7 5 19-24 ...

Or 15-18.

 5 ... 20-16

Or 7-2 but this again seems natural.

 6 15-19 16-12 7 24-28 ...

24-27 also draws but gives up a man on a two for one.

 7 ... 12-8 8 19-24* 8-4 9 24-27 30-25 10 27-31 4-8* 11 31-26 8-11* 12 23-27 32x23 13 26x19 11-15* 14 19-16 15x6

to a draw.

An excellent exercise provided from actual play by regular Toronto based contributors Lloyd and "Gosh Josh" Gordon.

06/01/24 - Category: Problems -Printer friendly version-