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The amazing key: 1. Kc8!! (Hesse: “It is almost incomprehensible that such a move should not only be possible in such a stripped-down position, but even more so that it should be the only one which achieves a draw”) b5 2. Kd7!, and the White king is back where it started and Black’s pawn is two squares closer to queening. But it’s still a draw - 2. …b4 3. Kd6! Bf5 4. Ke5! (the point of the White king’s original two-step: this move now wins a critical tempo to chase down the pawn) Bg4 5. Kd4 and the pawn can’t be saved. The try 2. …Bf5+ 3. Kd6 b4 4. b5 Ke5! also saves the game for White. Amazing.

Zhao-Shahade, Manhattan Open, August 2011

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Qxd4 Nf6 5. e5 Nc6 6. Qa4 Nd5 7. Qe4 Ndb4 8. Bb5 a6 9. Bxc6 Nxc6 10. Nc3 Bg7 11. Bf4 O-O 12. O-O d6 13. exd6 e5 14. Be3 Qxd6 15. Rad1 Qe6 16. Bc5 Rd8 17. Nd5 Qg4 18. Ne7+ Kh8 19. Qxc6 bxc6 20. Rxd8+ Bf8 21. Rxf8+ Kg7 22. Rxf7+ Kh8 23. Bd6 1-0.

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by email at