I always find it inspiring to attend chess composition conferences, so when FIDE’s Permanent Commission on Chess Composition met at Jurmala, Latvia from 30th August to 6th September 2008, I was in attendance. Among the many events that took place that week as part of the conference there were, as normal, a lot of special-interest sub-commission meetings. One of them discussed endgame studies and one of their decisions was announcing the winner of the Study of the Year, 2008. That study, complete with notes based on those provided by the sub-commission spokesperson, Yochanan Afek, is our first diagram.
1st Prize, Polasek and Vlasek-50 JT, 2007
White to play and win
1.Nf3+ Kh1 1...Kh3 2.Ng5+ Kg2 3.Bxc5+ 1-0 2.Bd4! Threatens mate on h2 and stops a check from a4. If 2.Bxc5? then 2...Qa4+ 3.Nd4 Qxd4+ 4.Bxd4 = 2...Qf7+ Other checks also fail - 2...Qc7+? 3.Ne5 Qc8 (3...Qb8 4.Rb2! Qf8+ 5.Kg3 Qg7+ 6.Ng4 Qc7+ 7.Be5 Qh7 8.Rd2 1-0) 4.Kg3 Qg8+ 5.Ng4 Qb8+ 6.Kh3 Qb3+ 7.Rc3 Qb1 8.Nf2+ Kg1 9.Ne4+ cxd4 10.Rg3+ Kf1 11.Nd2+ 1-0 or 2...Qb8+? 3.Be5 Qf8+ 4.Ke3 Qh6+ 5.Kf2 c4 [5...d4 6.Ra2 Qc1 (6...Qe3+ 7.Kg3 1-0) 7.Kg3 1-0] 6.Bd4 c3 7.Be3 1-0 3.Ke3! Walks into another check that is also the loss of a piece, but alternatives lose - 3.Kg3? Qg6+ 4.Kf4 Qxc2 0-1 or 3.Ke5? Qe8+ 4.Kf6 Qh8+ 5.Kg5 cxd4 0-1 3...cxd4+ 4.Kf2 Qf4 Defending against the mate on c1. 5.Rc6!! Reciprocal zugzwang. In this position, White to play only draws and Black to play loses. 5.Re2? Qe3+! 6.Rxe3 dxe3+ =; 5.Rc8? Qe3+ 6.Kg3 Qh6 7.Kf2 Qe3+ = Now the main line forks. 5...Qe3+ 6.Kg3! Again reciprocal zugzwang 6...d3 7.Ra6! Qc1 8.Ra7! (8.Ra8? Qc7+ 9.Kf2 Qg7 0-1) and Black can't cover both mate threats, so 1-0. Back on move 5, if Black were to move his pawn instead, then there is this echo - 5...d3 6.Rc8!! Qh6 7.Rb8 (7.Ra8? Qg7 0-1) 1-0
This study is a tense struggle in a materially unbalanced position. White has to step very carefully, using a combination of zugzwang play and threats to reach positions where the black queen is ultimately overloaded.
Our study for solving is one used as part of the Open Solving Tournament that was one of the events at Jurmala. Enjoy your solving!
Peder A Larsen
v. Tidskrift for Skak
White to play and draw
1.Rd1 Bxd1 2.e7 Ba4 3.Nb5 Bxb5 4.c6 Bxc6 5.Bd7 Bxd7 6.e8Q+ (or 6.e8R+ of course.) 6...Bxe8= White sacrifices all three of his pieces to force stalemate.
Developed and maintained by Brian Stephenson.