Chess, May 2007

Yochanan Afek

Yochanan is an Israeli study composer currently living in The Netherlands. He is also an IM (otb), an International Arbiter and a FIDE International Judge for Endgame Studies. As well as this he edits the study section of The Problemist, the magazine of the British Chess Problem Society and conducts other columns. He is one of the few modern counterparts of the player-composer of old.

I have decided to illustrate Yochanan’s work with a study that is short on moves but long on quality. Show this one to your friends down at the chess club.

Yochanan Afek

New in Chess, 1997 (version)

8/8/4K3/8/6p1/7P/5pSS/7k

White to play and win

After this was first published Yochanan made an improved version, and it is this version that is given here. White’s first couple of moves, against Black’s f-pawn, make sense, but after that White has to call on a bit of endgame magic. 1.Ne3 g3! If Black takes the pawn he gets mated (1...gxh3 2.Nef1 Kg2 3.Kf5 Kh1 4.Kg4 Kg2 5.Kh4 Kh1 6.Kg3 Kg1 7.Kxh3 Kh1 8.Ng3+ Kg1 9.Nf3#) as he does if he makes a queen [1...f1Q 2.Nexf1 gxh3 3.Kf5 1-0 (According to the Nalimov Tablebases this is mate in 32. )] 2.Nhf1! 2.Nhg4? is only enough to draw - 2...f1Q! 3.Nxf1 Kg2 4.h4 Kxf1 5.h5 Ke2! 6.h6 g2 7.h7 g1Q= 2...g2 3.h4!! What’s this? Black is about to promote and White merely pushes a pawn that is way behind in the race. 3...g1Q 4.Kf7!! 1-0 Now we see the sense of White’s 3rd move. There is no threat, but White wins as the black queen has no safe move. She is effectively mated, or dominated as study enthusiasts term it. As the composer says, in the 1...gxh3 line the king is mated, while in the main line it is the queen that meets that fate.

Our study for solving is one of Yochanan’s earliest successes. Show this one down at the club too.

Yochanan Afek

2nd Prize, Tidskrift för Schack, 1972

5r2/8/1R6/ppk3p1/2S3P1/P4b2/1K6/5B2

White to play and win


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