My previous column contained a study by Genrikh Kasparyan. This column is about a composing tourney held to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Kasparyan’s birth in 1910. As well as being one of the World’s best and most famous study composers, Kasparyan was also a strong player. He won the championship of Armenia on ten occasions, was three times champion of Tbilisi and competed in the final of the USSR Championship four times. It is encouraging that some of the top players of today know about Kasparyan and that one of them, Vladimir Akopian, acted as judge for this memorial tourney. As a player, I assume that Akopian was pleased to be able to award first prize to our first study, a logical and game-like one by the successful Georgian composer David Gurgenidze.
1st Prize, Kasparyan-100 MT, 2010
White to play and draw
The black pawn on a2 is too threatening, so must be attacked. 1.Ka3 Rg3 Playing passively gets Black nowhere - 1...Rg2 2.Bh7 Nc2+ 3.Kxa2 Ne3+ 4.Kb3 Ke2 5.Kc3 = 2.Kb2! After playing to attack the pawn, you would think that White would now take it, but that's the thematic try of this logical study - 2.Kxa2? Rxd3 3.Kxa1 Rb3 4.Ka2 Rb5 5.Ka3 Kd2 6.Ka4 Rb1 7.Rd4+ Kc3 8.Rxd5 Kc4 0-1 ending in a familiar win of the white rook. Another possibility is 2.Rh1+? but after 2...Kd2 3.Rxa1 Kxd3! 4.Kxa2 Rg8 5.Kb2 Kd2 6.Ra4 Rb8+ 7.Ka1 Kc2 the white king is imprisoned on the edge of the board and Black promotes his pawn - 8.Ra2+ Kc1 9.Ra6 d4 10.Rc6+ Kd2 11.Ka2 d3 12.Rd6 Kc2 13.Rc6+ Kd1 14.Rd6 d2 15.Ka3 Re8 16.Kb3 Ke2 0-1 2...Rxd3 2...Nb3 3.Kxb3 Kd2 4.Kxa2 = 3.Kxa1 Ra3 If Black tries 3...Rb3 White can be grateful he didn't take that pawn on the second move - 4.Rh1+ Kd2 (4...Kf2 5.Rh2+ Kg3 6.Rh5 Rb5 7.Rf5 Ra5 8.Rf8 =) 5.Rh2+ Kc3 6.Rh3+ Kc4 7.Rxb3 Kxb3 = Stalemate! 3...Rd2 also draws, for instance - 4.Rh1+ Kf2 5.Rh3 d4 6.Rh6 d3 7.Rh2+ Ke3 8.Re2+ Rxe2 = 4.Rh1+ Kf2 5.Rh2+ Kg3 6.Rh5 d4 7.Rd5! White has to be careful. If 7.Rf5? Rf3! Black gets to support his pawn, and thus win. 7...Ra4 8.Rf5 d3 9.Rd5 Ra3 10.Rf5 White ensures the draw by keeping the black king away from the action.
Further down the award there is a short and sweet study by well-known player, Grandmaster Jan Timman of the Netherlands. It is our study for solving this month, so why not have a go at taking on the Grandmaster?
4th HM., Kasparyan-100 MT, 2010
White to play and draw
1.Ra8 Rb6! 2.Bxb6 b2 3.Ra1! 3.Rxb8+? Kf7 0-1 3...b3 4.Bd4! Ba7! 5.Kf1! 5.Kh1? bxa1Q+ 6.Nxa1 exd4 7.Nxb3 d3 0-1 5...bxa1Q+ 6.Nxa1 exd4 7.Nxb3 =
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