Chess, June 2011

The Macleod Award

One of Great Britain’s best loved chess composers was Scotsman Norman Macleod, who lived from 1927 to 1991. He was Great Britain’s second composing GM (after Comins Mansfield in 1972), that title being awarded to him posthumously in 1993. Norman was our most versatile composer – he composed in just about every genre, including studies. After his early death the British Chess Problem Society decided to institute an award in his memory, to be presented every two years. Very appropriately, it is for the most striking and original composition of any genre to appear in The Problemist. For the 2008-2009 event, the judges found the standard especially high and announced joint-winners, one of which was this study by ace-composer Gady Costeff of Israel.

Gady Costeff

The Problemist, 2009

1q6/3k1ppp/3p4/3P1P1K/6PQ/p2R2P1/P2p4/6r1

White to play and draw

As well as 1...d1Q, Black also threatens the following mating attack - 1...f6 2.g5 Qe8+ 3.g6 (3.Kg4 Qe2+ 4.Rf3 d1Q 0-1) 3...hxg6+ 4.fxg6 Qe5+ 5.Kg4 Qe4+ 6.Kh5 Qf5+ 7.Qg5 Qxg5#. 1.g5! 1.Rxd2? just isn't good enough, as the following analysis shows - 1...Qe8 2.f6 (2.g5 f6+ 3.Kg4 Qe4+ 4.Kh3 Rh1+ 5.Rh2 Qxf5+ 6.Qg4 (6.g4 Qf1+ 7.Kg3 Rg1+ 8.Rg2 Rxg2+ 9.Kh3 Qh1#) 6...Rxh2+ 7.Kxh2 Qxg4 0-1) 2...g5 3.Qxg5 (3.Kxg5 Qg8+ 4.Kf4 Rf1+ 5.Ke3 Qe8+ 6.Kd3 Rf3+ 7.Kc4 Kc7 8.Rd3 Qe4+ 0-1) 3...Rh1+ 4.Qh4 Rxh4+ 5.gxh4 Qe1 0-1. 1...d1Q+ 2.Rxd1 g6+ 2...Rxd1 3.Qa4+ Ke7 4.Qxd1 g6+ 5.Kh6 has transposed to the main line. 3.Kh6! Else Black exchanges off and wins on material. 3...Rxd1 4.Qa4+ Ke7! If 4...Kd8 then White draws comfortably – 5.Qxd1 gxf5 6.Qd4=, though other squares for the black king lose – 4...Kc8 5.Qxd1 gxf5 6.Qc1+ Kd8 7.Qxa3 Qc7 8.Qd3 Ke8 9.Qxf5 Qc3 10.Kxh7 1-0; 4...Kc7 5.Qxd1 Qb2 6.Qa4 Kb6 7.Qc6+ Ka5 8.Qxd6 Qxa2 9.Qc5+ Ka4 10.d6 Qd2 11.fxg6 a2 12.gxf7 Qd3 13.Qc6+ Kb3 14.Qb6+ Kc3 15.d7 a1Q 16.d8Q Qxd8 17.Qxd8 Qh1+ 18.Kg7 Qb7 19.Kh8 1-0 5.Qxd1 Kf8 6.Qd4 Threatening a check on h8. 6...Qb2 Which Black protects while discouraging a queen exchange. 7.Qh8+!! White plays the check anyway and lures the black queen into the corner, where it is soon confined. 7...Qxh8 Black must accept the sacrifice or lose like this – 7...Ke7 8.f6+ Kd7 9.Qg8 Qxa2 10.Qxf7+ Kc8 11.Qe8+ Kb7 12.f7 1-0 8.f6! Ke8 Black tries to give the black queen some space. The only other alternative leads to a rapid stalemate – 8...Qg8 9.g4 Qg7+ 10.fxg7+ Kg8 = 9.g4 The only legal move, but good enough. 9...Qf8+ All other moves leave White stalemated. 10.Kxh7 Again, the only legal move and White has stalemated himself. The draw is now clear, with Black having to either maintain the stalemate or give up his queen.

Serbian composer Marjan Kovacevic, one of those rare people who have been awarded two GM titles (for solving in 1988 and composing in 2007) commented on this study – “A study with a romantic flavour. After the sharp and attractive introductory play, it is the white king that chases the black queen on his way to stalemate“.

Our study for solving is a 1983 prize-winner from a Russian magazine. White is a whole rook down, but he has the black king confined.

L. Silaev

1st Prize, Shakhmaty v SSSR, 1983

4Q2K/8/5r1k/6p1/6P1/7r/8/1R4q1

White to play and win


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