I have quoted the work of Georgian study composer David Gurgenidze in this column before and it is time to quote him again.
2nd HM., Shakhmaty v SSSR, 1991
White to play and win
Given Black's threat to the rook, there are really only two possibilities for White. The first, a logical try, captures the advanced black pawn and opens a line of guard to the rook. 1.Kxf2? Rhf4+ 2.Kg1 Re1+ 3.Kh2 Rh4+ 4.Kg3 Rhh1! Now, White has to give up his rook to save his queen. 5.Qf2+ Kxg5 6.Qxc5+ Kg6 7.Qxa7 Rhg1+ = (Tablebases) The second possibility, which must work because this is a study, is to move the rook away while still guarding g4. 1.Rg8! Kf7! The only other move that doesn't lead to the immediate 2.Qxf2(f1), winning, is 1...Rhf4, but White can stay a rook ahead - 2.Rf8+ Ke5 3.Re8+ Kd6 4.Rxe4 f1Q 5.Rxf4 1-0 2.Kxf2 Rhf4+ 2...Ref4+ 3.Kg1 1-0 3.Kg1 Re1+ 4.Kh2 Rh4+ 5.Kg3 Ree4! Instead, if Black plays the move from the 'try' - 5...Rhh1 - White can save his rook by checking and protecting it at the same time. - 6.Qd5+ Re6 7.Qxh1 1-0. Alternatives to 6...Re6 lead to a rapid mate - a) 6...Ke7 7.Rg7+ Kf6 8.Rf7+ Kg6 9.Qf5+ Kh6 10.Rh7#; b) 6...Kf6 7.Rf8+ Kg6 (7...Kg7 8.Qg8+ Kh6 9.Rf6+ Kh5 10.Qg4#; 7...Ke7 8.Rf7+ Ke8 9.Qd7#) 8.Qf7+ Kh6 (8...Kg5 9.Rg8+ Kh6 10.Qg6#) 9.Qf6+ Kh5 (9...Kh7 10.Rh8#) 10.Rh8#. Another 5th move possibility for Black is 5...Rhe4 but White maintains his material lead - 6.Rg4 Rxg4+ 7.Kxg4 1-0 6.Qa2+! Checking and protecting the rook, a tactic seen earlier, in a note. Not yet 6.Rg5? Kf6 7.Qd2 (7.Kf2 Rhf4+ 8.Kg1 Re1+ 9.Kh2 Rh4+ 10.Kg3 Ree4 = (repetition)) 7...Rd4 8.Qc1 Rc4 9.Rxc5 Rxc1 10.Rxc1 Ra4 = 6...c4 Interposing with the rook allows White to maintain his material advantage - 6...Rc4 7.Rh8 Rxh8 8.Qxc4+ 1-0 7.Rg5 Kf6 8.Qd2 wins, i.e. 8...Rd4 9.Qc1! (or 9.Qe3)
So, a logical study. The try (1.Kxf2) fails because White can’t save his rook. The solution works because, before taking the pawn with his king, White moves his rook. This decoys the black king to a square on which it can later be checked by the White queen, that check also guarding the white rook. It also appears to be a difficult study, with only 5 of the competitors in the recent final of the Winton Capital British Chess Solving Championship earning full points for it. Many fell for the try, including the current World Chess Solving Champion!
Veteran Belgian composer Ignace Vandecasteele recently published a collection of his endgame studies. Your study for solving is taken from this collection and is Ignace’s first published study, from way back in 1959.
Tijdschrift vd KNSB, 1959
White to play and draw
1.Rxc3 Nd2+ 1...Ke2 2.Rg3 Kf2 3.Rxg2+ Kxg2 4.Kc2 =; 1...Ne3 2.Rc1+ Ke2 3.Rg1 Kf2 4.Rxg2+ Nxg2 5.Kc2 = 2.Ka1 Nf1! 3.Rc1+ Ke2 3...Kd2 4.Rc2+ Kxc2 = 4.Rc2+ Nd2 4...Kf3 5.Rxg2 Kxg2 6.Kb1 = 5.Rc1 Kf2 6.Rd1 Nf1 (6...Ne4 or 6...Nf3 are equivalent.) 7.Rd2+ Nxd2 stalemate, or 7...Kf3 (say) 8.Rxg2 =
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