Magnus Carlsen defended his World Blitz Chess Champion Title this past December. Kateryna Lagno won the Woman’s Title. This week’s position is from Carlsen’s game against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.
Carlsen has the black pieces; Mamedyarov, the white. Both sides have their queen, and Carlsen has the extra pawn. Nevertheless, the queens complicate the endgame. In a queen endgame such as this there are many ways for white to escape with a draw by perpetual check. A queen endgame also lends itself to stalemate possibilities.
Carlsen squelched any hope Mamedyarov had of a draw with his next move. With this hint in mind, please try to find black’s winning move.
Black can force a trade of queens. Carlsen, thus, moved his queen to c5, checking white. Because white’s queen is also under attack, white must defend against the check by trading queens on c5. After black’s king captures white’s queen, the kings stare each other down from the 5th rank (see next diagram).
Black’s king shields its pawn. The white king cannot turn the corner and protect or occupy the pawn’s promotion square on a1. For example, after white moves its king to e4, black’s king moves to c4, etc. Black’s pawn advances and black soon checkmates white with black’s new queen or rook.
Because of this, Mamedyarov resigned after the black’s queen check from c5.
The lesson this week is that, like in business, in chess trade deals can also be profitable.