First on the agenda is the famous or infamous Saavedra position.
(Oh No. Everyone who writes a column/blog has covered
the Saavedra position…..Russ).
I know this, but most have copied it from a well researched
article myself and Ian Mullen wrote in the British Chess Magazine
in the 1980’s.
(all we did was cobble together all known data and tidied it up).
Here it is as brief as I can tell it.
Stay with me, this is very relevant.
The Scottish Newspaper The Glasgow Weekly Citizen had a chess
column edited by G.E. Barbier.
On Saturday the 4th May 1895 this diagram, based on a
‘might have been position’ played between Potter and Fenton
appeared with the task:
Black to play and draw.
And that was that.
Well not quite. Enter the monk Father Saavedra, who in between darning
his socks and writing a sermon no one will hear (thank you Lennon & McCartney)
was looking at the above final position.
And wondered what happened if instead of taking a Queen,
White took a Rook instead.
Now the Rc4+ check idea is not a stalemate and White is
threatening Ra8 mate.
Black has only one move to stop the mate.
Hitting the Rook and threatening 8.Rc1 mate.
There is no defence. 1-0.
Barbier published Saavedra’s find on the 25th May 1895.
So now you know the most famous problem ‘bust’ of all time.
Saavedra (1847-1922) is remembered throughout the chess
world for finding just one move.
That was 1895. One hundred and fourteen later….
jankrb - keanethegreat RHP 2009
Black to play.
Now 1…Rxg6 2.hxg6 Kg7 3.Kf5 is a known book draw.
3…Kg8! It’s been known as a draw since 1497.
Black missed his chance, Lucena, who published his analysed on this ending
500 years ago rolls over in his grave and the spirit of Saavedra is summoned.
So back here.
Black played 1…Kh8
Now we see the subtle art of setting a chess trap.
White to play.
Can you see the ghost of a Saavedra?
White needs to move the Rook to set the trap.
2.Rh6+ would spoil the trap.
2.Rd6 2.Re6 and 2.Rf6 are no good. (no mind clouding bait…I’ll explain later).
2.Ra6 is too obvious. “Why go all the way to the edge of the board?”
2.Rb6 is even more obvious. “Why has he gone to the b-file.”
2.Rc6 is perfect. It is neither here not there, it’s a throw away move.
2…Rg5+ 3.Kf6 Rxh5
Black wins the pawn and not only that….
….he is threatening to win the game with Rh6+
This is why 2.Rd6 and 2.Re6 are no good.
Rh6+ would then not threaten to win the game.
All good traps need this guard dropping temptation.
Something to prompt the player into reacting quickly
and seeing only his threats.
Of course his dreams by are shattered by White’s
next move and the triumphant smile of Saavedra.
Hitting the Rook and threatening 8.Rc8 mate.
Here it is in action from the first diagram.