Chess, July 2009

Peckover & Chekhover

Sometimes a new composer moves into the limelight and starts winning awards almost without serving an apprenticeship. Such a one was Joseph Edmund Peckover (1896-1982), whose studies started appearing in the late 1950s. Peckover was born in London, educated in England, France and Switzerland, served in the British Army during World War I and in the US Army during World War II, having taken up residence in that country in 1921. He was a portrait artist who found time for other interests. As well as being one of the few active American study composers during the second half of the twentieth century, he was also probably the leading authority on cricket in the USA. Our first study is one of his earliest successes.

Joseph E Peckover

1st Prize, Problem, 1958-1959

2K5/2P5/1r6/8/7B/8/b3k3/8

White to play and draw

White can draw this miniature position if he promotes his pawn, and so he starts off by moving his king off the promotion square. If he goes directly to d7 – to guard c6 – he loses (1.Kd7? Be6+ 2.Kd8 Rc6 0-1) because he has been forced out of d7, from where he hoped to attack the rook. 1.Kd8 White goes to d7 via d8 and e7. By this manoeuvre he can play to d7 after Black plays his rook to c6. 1...Rd6+ 2.Ke7 Rc6 3.Kd7 Now, with his rook vulnerable, Black would give up the fight by playing 3...Be6+? 3...Rh6 Played to pick up the white bishop if White promotes - 4.c8Q? Be6+ 5.Kc7 Bxc8 6.Kxc8 Rxh4 0-1. 4.Bf6! Cuts off Black's protection of e6. If Black takes the proffered bishop, then 4...Rxf6 5.c8Q Be6+ 6.Ke7 draws. 4...Bb1! So Black tries for f5 instead... 5.Ke6 which White guards... 5...Rh5 ...so Black adds a guard by the rook. 6.Bg5! White cuts off with his bishop in a manner analogous to his fourth move. Now, if 6...Rxg5 7.c8Q Bf5+ 8.Kf6 draws. 6...Rh8! 7.Bd8 Rh5 8.Bg5 with a draw by repetition of position.

In Test Tube Chess (Faber, 1972), John Roycroft mentions that, when Peckover’s studies started to appear, some observers mistakenly thought that his name was a misprint or pseudonym for the Soviet composer Vitaly Chekhover. This prompts me to offer this study by the said Vitaly Chekhover for your solving.

Vitaly Chekhover

USSR Championship Bulletin, 1949

S4B2/7K/8/6k1/p7/3p4/4s3/8

White to play and draw


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