Time to dip into the rich back-catalogue of the endgame study. Here’s a classic by Finnish composer Julius Gunst.
1st Prize, Hinds JT, 1946
White to play and win
1.exd8Q? doesn't win, despite White being just about queen and bishop ahead! Play may continue - 1...Kg1 2.Qd1 (2.Qg5+ Kxf1 is a known theoretical draw, the white king being too far away.) 2...h1Q 3.Bc4+ Kh2 4.Qh5+ Kg1 5.Qc5+ Kh2 6.Qe5+ Kg1 7.Qe3+ Kh2 8.Qh6+ Kg1 9.Qc1+ Kh2 10.Qf4+ Kg1 11.Qd4+ Kh2 12.Qd6+ Kg1 13.Qb6+ Kh2 14.Qb8+ Kg1 15.Qg3+ Qg2 =. So 1.e8Q! threatening a check on the diagonal and then mate. 1...Be7+ Instead of this sacrifice, Black could play 1...Kg1 2.Qe3+ Kxf1 3.Qf3+ Kg1 4.Qg3+ Kh1 5.Qf2! Bb6 6.Qf1+ Bg1 7.Qf3# where the black bishop comes in handy for White, destroying what would otherwise be stalemate after 5.Qf2 and ultimately blocking a square so that mate is possible. Another possibility is 1...Ba5+ when White has to be careful to keep the black bishop on the board for the reasons shown in the previous line. If he doesn't, then after the white bishop is captured, there is the theoretical draw referred to earlier - 2.Kxa5? Kg1 3.Qe3+ Kxf1 4.Qf3+ Kg1 5.Qg3+ Kh1 = 2.Qxe7! So why does White now have to capture the bishop? The answer comes in a couple of moves time. Meanwhile, if White tries leaving the bishop on, he can only draw. Thus - 2.Kc4? Kg1 3.Bg2 The only way to stop the pawn promoting as White has no useful checks while the black bishop blocks his queen. 3...Kxg2 4.Qa8+ Kg1 5.Qa1+ Kg2 6.Qb2+ Kg1 7.Qd4+ Kg2 8.Qg4+ Kf2 9.Qh3 Bd6! 10.Kd3 Bf4! = 2...Kg1 3.Ba6! White allows Black to promote (well, this is a study!) and moves his bishop to the only square from where it can move to attack h1 and itself be protected. 3...h1Q 4.Bb7 And now we see that the white queen on e7 stops all possible checks that the black queen would otherwise have. 4...Qh3 Any further up the file and White has a working skewer. For instance - 4...Qh8 5.Qe1+ Kh2 6.Qh1+ 1-0 5.Qe1+ Qf1 5...Kh2 6.Qf2+ mating next move. 6.Qg3+ with mate next move.
The annual meeting of what used to be the Permanent Commission for Chess Composition, newly-renamed the World Federation of Chess Composition, took place in Crete in October. Alongside the conference and the World Chess Solving Championship (won for the third time by Britain’s John Nunn, the GB team of Nunn, Mestel and McNab coming fourth!), there were numerous composing tourneys for all kinds of chess compositions. Over the years it has become the tradition for countries to offer as prizes bottles of alcoholic beverage well-known in their land. In the Netherlands, this is Jenever, a juniper-flavoured liquor known to the English as Dutch gin. ARVES (Alexander Rueb Vereniging voor SchaakEindspelStudie), for the third year, organised a tourney for endgame studies. Our second study, for solving, didn’t win the Jenever, but it did get into the award. It is by well-known study-composer Vitaly Kovalenko (Russia), whom I was delighted to meet for the first time in Crete.
2nd Comm., ARVES Jenever Ty., 2010
White to play and win
1.h7 Rxh4+ 1...g2 2.Bf2 g1Q 3.Bxg1 Rxg1 4.Kh2 Re1 5.h8Q 1-0 2.Kxh4 g2 3.h8Q g1Q 4.Qh6+ Ke4 4...Kf5 5.Qf8+ Kg6 (5...Ke4 6.Qf3+ Kd4 7.Qd3#) 6.Qg8+ 1-0 5.Qh7+ Kd5 5...Kf4 6.Qf7+ Ke3 (6...Ke4 7.Qf3+ Kd4 8.Qd3#) 7.Qxa7+ 1-0 6.Qd3+ Qd4+ 7.e4# Mate by a pinned unit, the theme the tourney required.