Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Puzzle of the day - from Dreams of Divine Positions

The xiangqi puzzle below is from Jim Png's new eBook - Becoming a Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) Assassin Volume 1. With Jim's permission, I would like to share with you some of the interesting puzzle. Please try your best to solve the puzzle. You can compare your solution with the answer placed at the bottom of the page.

If you would like to learn more about this eBook or challenge yourself for more xiangqi puzzles, just visit www.xqinenglish.com.

Enjoy and have fun!

Red would be the first to move.

The explanation below are taken from eBook: Becoming a Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) Assassin Volume 1, written by Jim Png.

This position was also found in the ancient manual, "Dreams of Divine Positions".
As in other endgame compositions, Black is one move away from a checkmate with R1+7. Red's pieces seem scattered and it would seem that Red would have many choices to start his attack. So...how should Red attack?

  1. P6+1  ……

Correct move. C2=5 and R2=9 would result in defeat for Red.

Variation A: C2=5

  1a. C2=5  A5+6  2a. P6+1  ……

If Red tried to attack with P6=5, 2ai. P6=5  K5+1  3ai. +R+1  K5+1 …  
Black would be on the winning end as the Black king would now be safe on the cannon rank.

  2a. ……  K5+1  3a. +R+1  K5+1  And Black's king would be safe and it would be Black's turn to win the game.

Variation B: R2=9

Red had tried to negate Black's checkmate threat by capturing the menacing chariot, while at the same time be threatening with a checkmate C2+3.
However, this would demonstrate an inability to appreciate a potential kill by Black.

  1b. ……  P5=4  2b. R6=5  R9=5  3b. R5=4  H9+7  Checkmate. Black would win with the horse.

  1. ……  A5-4  2. +R=5  ……

Another brilliant sacrifice by Red! This would be the key of this puzzle.
Black cannot move either advisor, or there would be a smothered checkmate with the relevant cannon. The Black king would now be unable to move to the cannon rank as it would be occupied by the Black chariot.

  2. ……  R1=5  3. C2+3  ……

The order of playing Red's third and fourth ply may be changed. If Black responded with K5+1, Red would simply mate with R2+8.

  3. ……  A6+5  4. C7+3 Checkmate.

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