Knight’s Rock Tour (Part 2)

Ashley 2012, White to move and win

Ashley 2012, White to move and win

Before White’s knight begins its epic journey, it’s important to note that Black has to defend against the capture of the a-pawn, g-pawn and even the h-pawn. All of Black’s subsequent moves should be seen as a desire to defend against all of the knight’s marauding intentions.

1. Nf2 Ke3 2.Nd1+

2.Kg2 Kf4 3.Nd3+ Kxg4 4.Nb4 Kf5 5.Nc6 Ke6 6.Nxa7 Kd7 7.Nb5 Kc6 8.a7 Kb7 and Black draws easily, even without the kingside pawns.

2…Kd2

2…Kd4 3.Kg2! Black is caught between a rock and a hard place as the knight will play to f2–h3xg5 or c3–b5xa7 depending on the direction the king chooses.

3.Nb2 Kc3 4.Na4+ Kb4 5.Nb6! Kb5 6.Nc8

6.Nd5 Kxa6 7.Nc7+ Ka5 8.Ne6 nabs the g-pawn just the same.

6…Kxa6 7.Nd6 Ka5

7…Kb6 8.Ne4 a5 9.Nxg5 a4 10.Ne4 a3 11.Nc3 followed by pushing the g-pawn wins as in the main line.

8.Ne4 Kb4 9.Nxg5 a5 10.Nf3 a4 11.Nd4 Kc4

11…Kc3 12.g5! Kxd4 (12…a3 13.Nb5+) 13.g6 a3 14.g7 a2 15.g8Q a1Q 16.Qg7+ wins.

12.g5

Or 11.Nc2 Kb3 12.Na1+ Kb2 13.g5.

12…a3 13.g6 a2 14.Nc2 Kc3 15.Na1!

After 15 straight moves, the knight has arrived at long last at its final resting place. What a hero’s journey!

15…Kb2 16.g7 Kxa1 17.g8Q Kb2

Normally, the a-pawn would draw, but unfortunately for Black the pawn on h4 spoils the dream.

18.Qb8+ Kc2 19.Qa7 Kb2 20.Qb6+ Kc2 21.Qa5 Kb2 22.Qb4+ Kc2 23.Qa3 Kb1 24.Qb3+ Ka1 25.Kg4! h3 26.Qc2 h2 27.Qc1 mate!

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