Following on from last month’s first prize-winner in The Problemist, I thought that this month I would present the second prize-winner, so that readers could get acquainted with the high standard of the competition. Oleg Pervakov, the judge of the tourney, said of it - “Another excellent study with interesting content. White must make a difficult choice between ... equivalent continuations, leading to a curious domination position.”
2nd Prize, The Problemist, 2006-2007
White to play and draw
White is material behind and Black threatens to finish things quickly with 1...Qe2 2.Rb5+ Qxb5 3.Rxe7 Qc4 0-1, so 1.g4+ Kf4 1...Ke4 2.Re6+ Be5 3.Rxe5+ Kxe5 4.Rxe7+ 1-0 2.g3+ Kf3 Note that without his rooks, White would be stalemated. This is a motif that recurs in the remainder of the study. 3.Rb3+ Bc3! This bishop sacrifice gives more winning chances than the alternatives - 3...Kf2 4.Rc2+ Qe2 (4...Kf1; 4...Kg1) 5.Rbxb2 Rxb2 6.Rxb2 e5 7.Rxe2+ Kxe2 8.Kg2 e4 9.h4 = much like the final position of the study; 3...Qe3 4.Rxe3+ Kxe3 5.Rc2 e6 6.Rxb2 Rxb2 = (stalemate) 4.Rcxc3+! White has to be very careful here. Using the wrong rook would be fatal - 4.Rbxc3+? Kf2 5.Rf3+ (5.Rc1 Qe5 6.R1c2+ Rxc2 7.Rxc2+ Ke3 0-1) 5...Kxf3 6.Rc3+ Kf2 7.Rf3+ (7.Rc2+ Ke3! 8.Rxa2 Qf1+ 9.Rg2 Qf8 0-1) 7...Kg1 8.Rf2 Qa1! 0-1 4...Kf2 5.Rc2+! Another chance for White to check with the wrong rook - 5.Rb2+? Rxb2 6.Rf3+ (6.Rc2+ Ke3 7.Rxb2 Qf1+ 8.Rg2 Qd3 0-1) 6...Kg1 7.Rf2 Qb1 0-1 5...Rxc2 We now see a desperado rook that doesn't continually check. 6.Rf3+ Kg1 7.Rf2! Stops all mate threats. 7...Qc1! 7...Kh1 8.Rg2! Qxg3+ 9.hxg3 Rc8 10.Rg1+! Kxg1 = (stalemate); 7...Rc8 8.Rg2+ Kf1 9.Rf2+ = (perpetual check) 8.Rg2+ Kf1 9.Rxc2! Domination. The queen has to move, but all destinations are mined. 9...Qe3 9...Qa3 10.Rf2+ Ke1 11.Rf1+ Ke2 12.Rf2+ Ke3 13.Rf3+ Kxf3 = (stalemate) 10.Rf2+ Ke1 11.Rf1+ Ke2 12.Rf2+ Kd3 13.Rf3 e5 14.Rxe3+ Kxe3 15.Kg2 e4 16.h4 draws the pawn ending.
If you like this study, why not investigate The Problemist, magazine of the British Chess Problem Society, which has several studies, both original and quoted (and much else) in each issue.
The second study is an elegant Romanian composition. Why not have a go at solving it?
Ceskoslovensky sach, 1955
White to play and draw
1.Nf6+ Kh6 2.Rg1! e2 2...d2 3.Ng4+ 1-0; 2...Bd2+ 3.Kc5 e2 4.Kd4 e1Q 5.Rxe1 Bxe1 6.Kxd3 = 3.Kc3! d2 4.Rg4! threatens perpetual check - 5.Ng8+ Kh7 6.Nf6+ Kh6 (6...Kh8?? 7.Rg8#) 7.Ng8+ Kh5 8.Nf6+ Kh6= 4...d1N+ 4...d4+ 5.Kb4 just defers the perpetual. 5.Kd3! Nf2+ 5...Bb2 6.Ng8+ Kh5 (6...Kh7 7.Kxe2 Bg7 8.Rxg7+ Kxg7 9.Ne7 =) ; 5...Bg5 6.Ng8+ Kh5 7.Rxg5+ Kxg5 8.Kxe2 = 6.Kxe2 Nxg4 7.Nxd5! =