Test your chess: Reitstein problem 127 (3)

A difficult Bishop vs Knight situation worthy of study.


White to play and win: the solution

This ending would be well worth studying and trying to solve: it defeated me when playing it out against Stockfish on my iPad. Later, when playing black against Houdini on my PC, eventually Houdini found how to win. But Reitstein is wrong to state that white could have won quickly: or, if not precisely wrong, it takes imagination and precision to win.

Whilst Houdini prefers 1 Bd6, which was my move too, it is in fact weaker than 1 Bf4!. The win happens on stages:

Bring the Bishop round to a5 and block in black’s knight on a8

1 Bf4! Na8 (say, or the king can oscillate: and the same for many of the following moves) 2 Bd2! Nb6 3 Ba5! Na8[].

Improve the king

4 Ke3 Kg6[] (4….e5? 5 d5)

This sort of position is easy to get to: but now…

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