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New Year 2016 Puzzle

by Sagar Shah - 31/12/2015

As the year 2015 comes to an end ChessBase India leaves you with a hard nut to crack. The study which we ask you to solve in this article took IM Sagar Shah 24 days to work out the entire solution. We hope that you will not only enjoy the process of solving the problem but also fare much better than what he did!

The 1st of September 2015 was one of the most memorable days of my chess career. On a bus filled with 30 chess players travelling from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, I did an interview with one of the most creative and original minds in the chess world- the Georgian grandmaster Baadur Jobava.

You can find the part I and part II of the interviews with Baadur on the ChessBase website

When the interview ended, a certain gentleman who was sitting beside me said that he had a very nice study for me to solve. The person whom I am referring to was the strong Romanian FM Gabriel Voiteanu. He had given that same study to Jobava the previous day and Baadur had tried to solve it blindfolded. The extremely talented Georgian GM was very close to the answer but couldn't quite crack it.


Voiteanu then dictated the position to me which I quickly saved in my ChessBase mobile application. I now present to you this study, as a new year puzzle, for you to solve. 

(W-Kf1, Ra3, g2,h2 B-Kh5,Ne4, g3, c3)

It's Black to play and win  

Before you leave all your work and sit down to solve this position, I would like to share with you the turmoil I experienced while finding the answer to this one. I was given this problem on 1st of September and I stored it in my head. Whenever I would get some free time I would think on it blindfold. But I was so very unsuccessful with it that I couldn't find the answer for a full 24 days! Yes, you read it right - 24 days! Of course, I wasn't thinking about this position for hours together. But in all, I must have at least thought on it for more than ten hours.


On 24th of September, I was in the picturesque location that you can see below and I set up the position on the chess board over there. As I inhaled the fresh air, things started becoming much clearer. Within a few minutes, I had worked out all the details and had found the complete answer to the problem!

Switzerland? So where do you think is this place where this instant revelation occurred to me?
This place and the process by which I found the answer is a story which I would like to share with you in a few days. Until then I leave you, dear readers, with this hard nut to crack. I hope that you will fare better than me!
Happy new year 2016 and I hope that this year will bring you loads of beautiful victories on and off the board!
The solution will be published soon along with the entire story behind it.
Pictures by Amruta Mokal

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