Deep-Thought Chess Puzzle: How Far to Calculate?

Chess is plenty about accurate calculation and plenty about intuition as well. Some of the world’s best grandmasters have often confessed that they didn’t actually calculate all the way to the win, but continued to follow a path of “the strongest move” before them. Here’s a neat puzzle. This chess position is taken from Hertan-R.MacDonald. To say that the position is a White-to-play and checkmate-in-nine win might sound pretty daunting. But, follow your chess intuition and find the strongest move – step by step – and you would have the swell win! Try it: White to play and win. Solution is in the extended post.

Hertan – R.MacDonald

Result: 1-0
Site: Amherst
Date: 1999

[…] 1.£xh7+ ¢xh7 2.¦f7+ ¥g7

(2…¢h8 3.¦h6+ £h7 4.¦fxh7# (0:00:01) 2.Rf7+)

3.¦gxg7+ ¢h8

(3…¢h6 4.¦h7+ £xh7 5.¥e3+ ¢h5 6.¦xh7# (0:00:00) 3.Rgxg7+)

4.¦h7+ £xh7 5.¥d4+ £g7 6.¥xg7+ ¢h7 7.¥c3+

(7.¥e5+ ¢h6 8.¥f4+ ¢h5 9.¦h7# (0:00:09) 6…Kh7)

7…¢h6 8.¥d2+ ¢h5 9.¦h7# (0:03:56) 1.

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