Weekly endgame study | February 28, 2010 22:05

Weekly Endgame Study (158)

Weekly Endgame StudyEvery week we present you an endgame study selected by IM Yochanan Afek: player, trainer, endgame study composer and writer. A week later the solution is published. Good luck solving!

I. Aliev

White to play and win

Next week the solution.

Solution last week

V. Kovalenko

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Yochanan Afek's picture
Author: Yochanan Afek

IM Yochanan Afek is a chess player, trainer, endgame study composer and writer. His complete selection of studies can be found here.



Jens Kristiansen's picture

No, Bootvis,, you are not right. I believe I have solved it, but of course I will not tell you the solution. This is, in my eyes, not the most difficult study to solve, but it is still very elegant. Give it a try and you will manage - and have a lot of enjoyment.
As I am at the tabs I will like to express my gratitude for Afeks column. It is especially nice to so many studies composed in recent yearst. The art of chess composition is seemingly very much alive and kicking.
And then a humble request to ChessVibes: Why not organise a study compition? As you are dutch-based, you have some of the highest athorities just around the corner. And it is not very expensive, it is still genuinely art for arts sake.

cip's picture

:) of course, you are right, but Bxb7 seems more of a show

Bootvis's picture

1. Rd8 Bb5
2. c4 Bxc4
3. Bd3 Bxd3
4. Rxd3 c1=Q
5. Ra3#

Jens Kristiansen's picture

Ok, Xstreem...you have solved it. But I really do not understand this urge to tell us all about it. There are no prices here, and if someone cannot solve the puzzles, they can just ask for help from their chess engines. They will usually come up with the solution in af few seconds. And it does not have to be Rybka or Fritz12 for that purpose - some of the free engines you can download from the net are perfectly capable.
And then just one extra question concerning this weeks study: Why does black have the h-pawn?

Sergio's picture

Jens I understand why black needs another pawn. But does is h5 specially chosen or wouldn't it mather if it was on h7 or g7 for instance?

I think it is on h5 to block Bh5 - Be2 , or am i mistaken?

nik's picture

nice one.. i think i solve it too.. the first move is the key..

Sergio's picture

Bootvis, Ra3# is not correct, Qa6 still possible, and then it is lost for white, cause the far h pawn.

I got a feeling you get more chances if you play Rd5 with a treat of Ra5#. I think if Rook is changed with the new queen with bishops still on the board the ending is won for white.

Willem's picture

I somehow thought I've seen teh position before.

It's published earlier as no. 99

nik's picture

Rd5 is also incorrect.. i think 1. Kc7 move is the key.. this will help the b pawn to become queen..

Rubby's picture

Afek's database is already out of fresh puzzles? Willem is right!

cip's picture

@ Willem: Isn't that the same as posting the solution?
@ nik: If you really have not solved the position at the time of the post, then wow... But otherwise... :P what an insightful hint!

This study is cute, mostly because it could be a real game position.
I don't mind that the solution was posted somewhere. I first try to solve the puzzle and then, if I'm happy with my solution, I check the comments.

I apologize if I spoiled the position for anyone last week. I posted the solution, mostly for feedback. Sometimes you miss a move (and maybe half the solution). Though ok, last time I was fairly sure it was right --- but you always are when you stop looking for moves. (funny that if you post the wrong thing nobody minds it...) Of course, I will never post a solution again.

@sergio: The bishop ending is a draw. White is slightly better, with the more active king, but black would just hold the c6 square and you cannot promote the position. If Black makes several blunders, you might win...

Sergio's picture

Cip i got the same aprooch as you on those studies. I looked at the move nik said, but couldn't find out why it was needed, cause i was looking for mating paterns with a Rook on the A-file.

Even with the hint i don't find it, so i gonna check the solution. The hint made me very curious, can't wait untill saterday, so gonna look the old puzzle up.

nik's picture

how to look at the old puzzle? i also want to check if my solution is correct or not. im pretty sure that i found the correct answer but still, maybe there is other possibility..

i just want to post the solution i think here, but im afraid it will spoil others who want to try it.. so lets wait until the solution comes out..

xtreemmasheen3k2's picture

1. Kc7+ (drawing the Black King to the center) Ka7 (only move)
2. Rd1 (protecting f1) Bb5 (supporting f1)
3. c4 (blocking the Bishop) Bxc4 (taking the pawn)
4. Bd3 (blocking the Bishop) Bxd3 (taking the Bishop)
5. Ra1+ Ba6 (only move)
6. b5

After this, 6... f1 or h4 leads to:

7. Rxa6+ bxa6
8. b6+ Ka8
9. b7+ Ka7
10. b8=Q++

If 6... Ka8, Black lasts for one more move with:

7. Rxa6+ bxa6
8. b6 a5
9. b7+ Ka7
10. b8=Q+ Ka6
11. Qb7++ or Qb6++

So Black really has no way of preventing the f pawn from being taken after 2. Rd1, so he'll have to focus on his h Pawn or something. There are a lot of variations after this, so just ask whatever other move and I'll try to think up a response. However, the h pawn wont be able to be defended after the f pawn is taken down due to the fact that White's gonna free up his Bishop and Black's Lone Bishop is not enough to defend the h pawn with. After that, all that's left is for White to trade off the Bishops and White can win since he can easily take out Black's last remaining pawn with the King and Rook alone, and the King and Rook are enough for a checkmate.

But again, whatever variations anyone decides on, I'll try to come up with a response.

nik's picture

thats the same variation with me xtreem ;)

Bootvis's picture

Maybe a spoiler tag would be nice. Posting (attempts at) solutions leads to discussion and hopefully learning. If the readers just use their engine to find a solution to the puzzle the beauty is lost (for me). The ideas make a study worthwhile.

Sergio's picture

@jens the h-pawn is there just to annoy bootvis;) (see 1st solution given by him)

Without h pawn his line would stil be a win for white, but now it is a win for black.

Jens Kristiansen's picture

No, Sergio, your answer is wrong. Try again.

Sergio's picture

Jens enlighten me please. Is it maybe to prevent Bh5, Be2?

Jens Kristiansen's picture

Ok, without the h-pawn I believe there is a twin solution: 1.Rd1, Bb5 2. c3, f1Q 3. RxQ, BxR 4. Be4, Ba6 5. Bd5 followed by c4, fi. 5. -,Ka7 6. Kc7, b6 7. c4 with a kind of zugswang.
You see these seemingly superfluous pieces in many endgamge studies. They are usually put there to avoid bisolutions. And they can sometimes give you a hint at what the solution is NOT.

Sergio's picture

Jens correct, i thought that was the same i posted on 4.12 forgotten that in the line mentioned the c pawn was sacced.

I like this discussions, more then just reading the solution. This gives me (and other weaker players) more insight in the posistion.

Frits Fritschy's picture

Great that you put effort in it letting people see other things in these endgame studies. But commenting on giving solutions. you pass a strong argument 'cip' has: "funny that if you post the wrong thing nobody minds it…."
Which, by the way, is not strictly true - if you show any disrespect to Mr. Afek, Arne Moll's scorn can be expected.
But what the hell is the problem? If you really want to solve the thing yourself, just don't look at the comments.
When I'm doing The Big Dvoretsky, sometimes I want to use my brain and I'll try to solve his endgame positions myself. If that gives me a headache or when I just want some entertainment, I look in the back of the book for the solution. Same thing here.

cip's picture

Now, now, let us not be harsh to Mr. Kristiansen. I think his attitude is legitimate: he does not like people to post the solution, it looks like bragging and it is displeasing.

It is fine to express your feelings. He is also not forcing anyone to follow his words.

I was smiling at his original comment:
"@cip: Congratulations! You must either be a very gifted player or allied to a strong chessplaying device/person. Does that statement satisfy you?"
It is quite cleverly put. But, I guess it would not be a streach to imagine there may be many people quite happy with that statement. In fact, that is exactly what bragging is all about.
My point Mr. Kristiansen is: in general, there are some people in this world who may simply be sad and who would be happy with a word of appreciation! More to the point, many amateurs who do not have a rating of 2400 and are not top 20 in their country, may be more than happy to solve one of these puzzles. Why not let them brag about it? Why not praise them? Must we be so "elite"? It could be just a matter of good will. Of course, you may keep your attitude, I would not misunderstand.

Btw, your solution without the h pawn is very beautiful. It seems also correct (though I would still try one more move with 7... b5 8. c5 Bb7, just because at some levels (where chess is most popular and maybe enjoyed most also), someone may actually take the bishop). And I should say, I am not surprized you have found it very fast. I guessed from your name/posts that you are a very strong player.

nik's picture

if there is no h pawn, white also can do this variation..
1. Kc7 Ka7
2. Rd5 f1=Q
3. Ra5 Qa6
4. RxQ then can win with 2 pawns againts 1 pawn with same colour bishop each..

with the existence of h pawn, the 2. Rd1 move is the only move that can force a win..

cip's picture

Quote nik: "then can win with 2 pawns againts 1 pawn with same colour bishop each.."

How? I play 4... Kxa6 with the plan b6, Ka7 and then I wait moving just my bishop around the diagonals a4-e8 and h1-a8. I guess at some point you have to play c5 and after exchanging on c5, the remaining white pawn should not get past the black bishop. I think you can draw with black.

The difference is, with your solution the black bishop does not become trapped on a6.

And.. I completely agree with the last sentence.

cip's picture

I was wrong. Nik is right, white wins. Black loses to pawn advances such as c5 followed by b5, b6 etc. If he can hold the diagonals it's a draw. It seems Black is not fast enough.

Here are some lines:

1. Kc7 Ka7
2. Rd5 f1=Q
3. Ra5 Qa6
4. Rxa6 Ka6
5. c4 b6 (not 5.. Bc6 which maybe loses to 6. Bd3 (if 6. b5 then 6... Bxb5 7. axb5 Kxb5 draw) 6... Ka7 7. b5 Bg2 8. b6! and now you can push the pawn to c5 and sac Bxb7, Bxb7 and c6!)
6. Bd3 Ka7
and 7. b5 wins (8. c5)

It may still be tricky (look at the following stalemate: White Kc7, Bd5, b5, c4 Black: Ka7, b6).

nik's picture

yes cip, i have considered both axb6 and Kxa6. i still find that White can win both variation with accurate play. White need to make sure 1 of his pawn survive to promote to Q @ R.

maybe there is no need sacrifice Bxb7 there.. white can place B at d7, then push c6 and when bxc6, white can play b7 b8=Q..


Jens Kristiansen's picture

About the position without the black h-pawn: I think I was a little bit too sophisticated in the way I proved a win for white. Some of you are pointing to a far more track, but I think it should be done in this way: 1. Rd5, f1Q 2. Ra5+, Qa6 3. RxQ, bxR 4. c4 and white should win, I guess.
And, besides that, it could be I have been a little too harsh in my comments on people publishing the solutions too soon. In that case I apologize. But I still think we should find some decent balance in this matter.
At least be a little more patient, dear fellow solvers. And then let us have some more discussions on these interesting end games - as we have just had.

cip's picture

Isn't this a bit much? The next question would be, where should the h pawn be for black to win (if white does not play the solution)? h2? h3? h4?

cip's picture

Oh, sorry Sergio, misunderstood. I think Bh5, Be2 is not relevant in this position. White would just play Rd1 - Rf1 - Rf2. You must stop Rf1 and this can be done only by Bb5.

xtreemmasheen3k2's picture

Yeah, I don't use engines when I try to find the solutions, it takes out all the fun. Since I don't have a chess program though, I use Shredder's online engine and try to work it down to 6 or less pieces. But everything before that is all my own work though.

xtreemmasheen3k2's picture

And of course people want to solve the puzzles. But don't assume they're going to use engines to do it, since the fun comes from working it out yourself.

Andrei's picture

My solution (after almost a week and no board out or computer)
Rd5 f1Q
Ra5+ Qa6
Rxa6 bxa6 (with what I think is a winning bishop endgame)
c4 (Black has a number of tries here. [a] ... Bc6 to get the diagnol; [b]... Ka7 to improve the King position - incidentally this is why I think 1 Kc7+ is a mistake; [c] ...h4 pushing the pawn.

... [a]... Bc6
Kc7 Bg2
c5 h4
Kb6 h3
c6 h2
c7 and white is queening with check
Kb6 h3

... [b] ... Ka7
Kc7 Bf7
c5 Bd5 (again competing for the long diagnol)
Kd6 (gaining a tempo and following with pawn up to c6

... [c] ... h4
Kc7 (and white can contol the a8-h1 diagnol. He only has to watch out out for the possibility of a black pawn advance to a5 followed by Ka6 and Kxa5 to win the endgame).

Hope I am right

Jens Kristiansen's picture

Andrei, that was a nice try. But I think black is drawing in your line b) after 1.-, Ka7 2. Kc7, h4 3. c5, h3 4. c6, h2 5. Be4, Bg6! 6. Bg2 Bf5 and if white moves his king black plays Kb6 and a5.
After alternativelly 3. Bf5 black has 3. -, Bh5 4. c5, Be2! 5. c6, a5!

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