Afek's Best (5)

Yochanan Afek
2nd Prize Moscow congress ,2003 (V) , 2003

White has four optional captures out of which just one is sound. 1.Nxg6! 1.Kxg7? Nxf8 is obviously wrong while both after 1.Nxh7? b5 2.Kxg7 b4 3.Ng5 b3 4.Ne4 g5 or 1.Kxh7? g5 2.Kg6 g4 3.Kf5 g3 4.Ng6 Kd1 5.Nf4 b5 6.Kg4 b4 7.Kxg3 b3 8.Nd3 Kc2 9.Ne5 Kc3! the black pawns are unstoppable. 1...Nf8! A surprising counter attack forcing the White knight to cope on his own with two remote passed pawns. 2.Nxf8 g5

With a cornered and passive king, how will the limping knight handle the black pawns? well, simply one at the time... 3.Nh7! g4 4.Nf6 g3 5.Nh5! g2 6.Nf4 g1Q! [Since 6...b5 7.Nxg2 Kd2 8.Nf4 b4 9.Nd5 b3 10.Nb6!= draws] 7.Ne2+ Kd2 8.Nxg1 Ke3!

One pawn has been successfully grounded yet chasing the remaining one still requires high precision. 9.Nh3 b5 10.Ng5 b4 11.Nf7! b3 12.Nd6! [Attention! 12.Ne5? Kd4! 13.Nf3+ Kc3 and it's all over] 12...Kd3 13.Nb5 b2 14.Na3=

The White knight has amazingly completed a pawn hunt over the entire board.Both black pawns have nearly committed a full journey from their initial to their promotion square. The problemists call such pawn journey "Excelsior" then it is a double Excelsior alright. 1/2

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