It's White to move and win against Black. Black plays optimally. Have fun!

Oleg Pervakov and Karen Sumbatian, Shakmaty v SSSR 1990

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P.S.-To me, it’s crazy that the title hasn’t been taken yet!


Rambling Rook

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is black playing to prevent loss, or are we able to make moves on their behalf that wouldn't be very advantageous? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 20:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Around the world in 36 moves. $\endgroup$
    – trolley813
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 19:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This was just a reference to Around the world in 80 days. $\endgroup$
    – trolley813
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Rewan Demontay I am not getting any series leading to a checkmate, but I can guarantee that black will lose, in terms of material advantage. What do you want me to do here? $\endgroup$
    – Anonymous
    Commented Jan 31, 2021 at 8:35

1 Answer 1



White gets a big material advantage after 1.Bf4+, 2.Rc6 and the threat of 3.c4#. After that it just is a technical win for white. Black has to sacrifice a piece to prevent the checkmate. After that nothing prevents white from promoting the f pawn to a queen.


1. Bf4+ - Kd5 (after Kf6, white can simply promote the f pawn to a Q with check!)
2. Rc6 - Rxf4 (since threat of mate, Qxc6 and Rg1+ are also possible, but are inferior)
3. c4+ - Ke5 (Kxg2 leads to an inevitable promotion for black after Rf1!)
4. exf4+ - Kxd4 (the check is important!)
5. f8Q

Let's assess the position here:

White is obviously winning: it has a rook and knight extra. Blacks king is exposed in the center of the board and can't threat a lot without losing all the material. Qxd6+ is a threat that has to be dealt with, but black has nothing to defend.

As a bonus (I know you said no-computers): Out of lazyness (and since I can't convince myself to over-analyse this) I put the rest in an engine (because you requested OPTIMAL play):

5. ... - Ke3
6. Kxg2 - Kd2
7. Rxd6+ - Kxe1
8. Qh8 - e3+
9. Nc6 - Qxc6+
10. Rxc6 - Kd1
11. Rd6+ - Kc1
12. Qa1+ - Kxc2
13. Qe1 - h1Q+
14. Kxh1 - Kb3
15. Qb1+ - Kxc3
16. Rd3+ - Kxc4
17. Qc2+ - Kb5
18. Rd5#

  • $\begingroup$ If you don't like the 'engine solution section', just tell me and I'll remove it ;-) $\endgroup$
    – IT M
    Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ Consider the move 2... Rg1+ as well. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 17:29
  • $\begingroup$ And what "c pawn"? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 10, 2021 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ f pawn obviously. I've corrected it in my answer. $\endgroup$
    – IT M
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 8:30
  • $\begingroup$ After 2... Rg1+ all black pieces (except the Q) come off in exchange for the white bishop? Clearly this is worse. Continuation must be 3. Kxh2 (Rook takes is mate in 1). After that it is a similar set-up as : black must sacrifice material to prevent the mate on c4. Either the two rooks or the queen. This is equal from a material-wise point of view. $\endgroup$
    – IT M
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 8:35

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