Interesting Position, Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia

This interesting position comes via Jeremy:

The England Open team had a good 2½-1½ win against Israel on Tuesday (2nd October), at the Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia. But one that got away was David Howell’s game against Emil Sutovsky. Here is the position at a critical point (after 26. Re1-e2…), with Howell (Black) to move):

Here he played 26…Rfe8, allowing White to play Nf4 and then Rd1, consolidating (though I assume it’s still much better for Black) – the game ended as a draw.

Can you do better than our grandmaster in this position?! There are actually two very strong continuations. Solutions in a few days!


  1. Bb1 seems good to me – blocking off the rook from the back rank so White has to capture the d pawn (Nxf8 d1=Q+ and mate in a couple). Then Rxf3 wins a piece I think? (xf3 Qg1#). If White doubles up on the back rank against the bishop, Black can withdraw the rook and hit the knight so there’s no time for White to win back the piece? Not an obvious move to see though unless you already know there’s something in the position!

  2. I actually ended up using a computer to find the other solution as I couldn’t work it out – so not going to post it here in case someone else figures it out. Still think it’s rather bizarre that Howell missed both options – Bb1 was only the second move that I considered when looking at it and it doesn’t take a great deal of calculation either.

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