Every year the Permanent Commission of FIDE for Chess Composition chooses a ‘Study of the Year’. At the recent meeting at Wageningen, they decided on the winner for 2005, which is our first study. It’s a prizewinner from John Nunn’s tourney to celebrate his 50th birthday. John himself was the judge and the notes are his, slightly shortened.
5th Prize, Nunn-50 JT, 2005
White to play and draw
1.Nh8! If 1.Kg7? Nd6 2.Ne5 g3 Black can secure his g3-pawn and gradually improve the position of his pieces. He must avoid the exchange of knights, which leads to a positional draw provided White’s king can reach f1. Although not easy, the win can be achieved in the end; e.g. 3.Kg6 Bd8! stopping the white king reaching e6, after which it is very hard for Black to displace the centralized white pieces. 1...Ne5 The only winning chance is to prevent White’s king moving immediately to g6. After 1...Nxh8 2.Kxh8 Kc6 3.Kg7 Kd5 4.Kg6 Be3 Black cannot move his bishop to f4 or h4 without losing his pawn, so he loses another tempo later when White attacks the g3-pawn with his king 5.Kf5 g3 6.Kg4 Bf2 7.Kf3 Kd4 8.Ke2! The king reaches f1, with a standard positional draw. 2.Nf7! Already one piece down; White offers a second one! 2...Nxf7 3.Kg6! Ne5+! The best try is to sacrifice the bishop, as 3...Kc6 4.Kxf7 Kd5 5.Kg6 draws as in the note to Black’s first move. 4.Kf5! Declining the offer. 4.Kxg5? loses after 4...Kc6! 5.Kf4 Kd6! gaining the opposition 6.Ke4 (6.Kf5 Kd5-+) 6...Ke6 7.Kf4 Kf6 8.g3 Ke6 9.Kg5 Kd5 10.Kf5 Kd4 11.Kf4 Kd3! and the g3-pawn falls. 4...Nf7 Amazing but true; Black cannot win despite being two clear minor pieces up. 4...Nf3 5.Kxg4 and 4...Bf6 5.Kxf6 Nf3 6.Kf5 Nh2 7.Kf4 are both clear draws. 5.Kg6 Ne5+ 6.Kf5! ½-½
Our second study, which is for solving if you wish, is from earlier in the career of the same composer, who is a senior Russian study expert.
L'Italia Scacchistica, 1976
White to play and win
1.Bf5+ Kg7 1...Kh8 2.Bf6+ 2.Nh5+ Kf8 3.Bf6 Ke8 4.Kf2 Kf8 4...Qf8 5.Ng7+ 5.Nf4 Ke8 6.Nd5 Qf8 6...Kf8 7.Ne7 7.Nc7# 1-0