Michael Adams Game of the Month
Bindrich v Haria, European Hybrid 2021
Harvey v Kozul, European Hybrid 2021
ECF Checkmate COVID – The Return marathon
Arkell v RockTroll
Arkell v Cox
Arkell’s Endgames – Rook Ducking and Weaving
Game 1 – Hort v Arkell February 2020
Game 2 – Milliet v Arkell January 2020
How to Solve a Study
White to play and draw
Here’s a famous classic study; it was composed, like one of last month’s, by Nikolai Grigoriev. It was published in Shakhmatny Listok in 1934. Let’s see how to go about solving it.
You know that White can draw, because the stipulation under the diagram tells you that. You also know that it won’t be easy for White to do so, because it’s a composed study and that means that White’s moves are going to be ‘only moves’. The first thing you’ll notice on the board is that White’s knight is trapped and Black’s king can walk across and capture it. Does White’s king have time to grab the b-pawn and then race back towards the h-pawn? Try it: 1.Kd3 Kf7 2.Kc4 Kg7 3.Kxb4 Kxh7 4.Kc3, and you can easily see that White makes it back in time to stop the h-pawn. In a game, that would maybe be all you’d analyse before playing your moves, but obviously there has to be much more in this composed position than just that sequence. So, knowing that White draws trivially in that line, you need to find a more challenging Black plan.
Now it occurs to you to let the White knight out, by pushing the h-pawn. Well, the knight can move a lot faster than the pawn, and easily gets down the board in time and can fend off the Black king while stopping the h-pawn, and the White king removes the b-pawn and strides across. But maybe you can modify that idea a bit? Let the knight out, but only towards the left side. You find the line 1.Kd3 Kf7 2.Kc4 Kg6, and Black will be able to push his h-pawn, so the knight has to rush around the Black king to get back and stop that pawn. Can it make it in time? Try it. 3.Nf8+ Kf5 4.Nd7 h5 5.Nc5 h4 6.Nb3 h3 7.Nd2 h2 8.Nf1 h1Q 9.Ng3+. Yes! Just! The knight tours round the board but gets there in the nick.
Now you should ask yourself: is that the composer’s main line? And, what happens if either player varies from that line? You can be fairly sure it is what the composer intended, because it’s surprising, elegant, and most significantly, White has no choice at any point in the sequence. Anyway, you should look at the side-lines too, to be certain White really doesn’t have any alternatives. 6.Nd3? fails to 6…h3 7.Nf2 h2 8.Kxb4 Kf4 9.Kc3 Kf3 10.Nh1 Kg2, and 5.Nb6? fails to 5…h4 6.Nd5 Ke4 7.Nf6+ Kf3.
David Gurgenidze found a way to enhance the Grigoriev study. He transferred the White king to a2 and the Black b-pawn to b5, keeping the rest of the position unchanged. Your task is to solve this version, which was published in the Soviet chess magazine 64 in 1970. As I’m giving it you as a task, it obviously won’t have exactly the same solution as the original, but the position is very similar so a lot of the ideas will be unchanged. The more studies you know, the easier it is to solve them because there are frequently-occurring structures and common themes – just like in over-the-board chess, where the more games you know, the more familiar you get with the best plans for each type of position.
In the last Newsletter I left you with this problem –
Mate in 4
Adolf Bayersdorfer; 3rd Prize, Chess Monthly 1895
I hope that the hints that accompanied the diagram may have been helpful – “if White didn’t have a Bishop at c6 then 1.Nc6, with the threat of 2.Ne7, would win out of hand. At first it appears that we can get it out of the way with check, but after 1.Bd7+ Ne6 Black has made the square g7 available for his King, so defends 2.Nc6 with 2…Kg6. But otherwise what? The composer presumably had a positive purpose in mind for the c6B, and also for the out-of-play white Queen…”. In fact, we do need to find a way of moving the Bishop off c6 while making a threat; and it turns out that to this we have to enlist the services of the white Queen. Both of them are sacrificed in the spectacular line of play 1.Qa2! (threats 2.Qb1+ and 2.Qxh2) Bxa2 2.Ba4! (threat 3.Bc2) Rxa4 3.Nc6 and now mate by 4.Ne7 is unavoidable.
If you like that problem, you may like this one, from a similar vintage, also —
Mate in 3
Franz Dittrich; 3rd Prize, Cesky spolek sachovni 1898
Here, if you want a hint (but you don’t need me to tell you this really), it looks worrying that the black King could avoid immediate danger by going to f5. And those two black Rooks aren’t just camouflage – if you find the solution you’ll find that they feature in parallel black attempts to defend.
Solution next time! In the meantime, if you have any queries or comments don’t hesitate to email me.
— Christopher Jones Email: firstname.lastname@example.org