These endgame puzzles have been previously posted on this site and here make up a collection available to everyone to enjoy.
They come from actual games, as well as from famous chess studies and compositions, filled with nasty tactical blows to dismantle the opponent (dry and too technical in nature endgame position, though indispensable in the OTB play, are not paid too much attention here).
Why endings? Because it is in an endgame that full potential of pieces, individually and in cooperation, is lucidly expressed.
Smyslov, a genius of the endgame, wrote that [his] father “instilled in me a love for so-called ‘simple’ positions, with only a few pieces. I was able to gain a deep feeling for what each piece is capable of, to sense their peculiarities, their strength and impotence in various different situations on the board, the limits of their capabilities, what they ‘like’ and what they ‘don’t like’ and how they behave… Such a ‘mutual understanding’ with the pieces enables a player to see what often remains concealed to purely logical analysis. It is then that the innate ability of a player, which I call a sense of harmony, manifests itself.” Thank you Maestro! Now, let’s go to study…
A knowledge of the endgame is the magic key to the secrets of chess mastery…
Delving into the secrets of the endgame reveals an amazing world of chess harmony.
The solutions to the problems below can be found at the end of this page.
White to move and draw
1.Rf5+ Kg7 2.Kh3 g1=Q 3.Rg5+ Bxg5 (or 3…Qxg5) stalemate.
If 1…Ke7, then 2.Re5+ Kd6 3.Re1 Bxe1 4.Kh3 g1=Q(R) stalemate;
or 4…g1=N 5.Kg2 Ne2 6.Kf1 and Black loses a piece
1.a7! Bxa7 2.Kc8 and the bishop is lost
1.Bf6 gxf6 2.Kf8 and 3.Nf7#
1.Kc3 b1=Q 2.Nc2+ or 1…b1=N 2.Kc2+
1.Bf2 Rg7 2.Bg3
1…Ne5 2.Be6 (2.h6 Ng4+, or 2.Kxe5 Kg7) Nf7 3.Kg6 Kg8 4.Bxf7 draw agreed
1…f2 (1…Ke3 2.h4 Kf4 3.Rxf3! and if 3…Kg4 then Rh3!)
2.Rg8 Bb1! (to meet 3.Rf8+ with Bf5)
3.Kxb1 and Black pawn queens with check
1…Qh2+ 2.Kg4 f5+ 3.Kg5 Qxg2 4.Qxg2 Be3#
1.Kf4 Kg7 2.a8Q! Rxa8 3.Ke5 Kf7 4.Kd6 Ke8 5.Kc6 Rc8 6.Kd6!! Ra8 7.Kc6 and it’s a positional draw; if 7…Ke7, then 8.Kb7
1.Bh5 Kg3 (if 1…gxh5? 2.h7 Rc8 3.g6) 2.Bxg6! Kf4 3.h7 Rc8
How is the g-pawn to be saved now?
4.Be8!! Rxe8 5.g6 winning
If 3…Rc3+ 4.Kb4 Rh3! 5.Bh5!! Rxh5 6.g6
1.Rb3! Now neither 1…Rxb3 2.h7, nor 1…Rh1+ 2.Kg2 Rxh6 3.Rb8# helps
1…e2 2.Bxf2 Be3! (2.Rxf4 Rxf4 3.Bxg3 Kc6!, or 2.Ba5+ Kc6 3.Ra1 Be3)
1.g6!! fxg6 2.f5!! gxf5 3.Kg1! Kg5 4.Kf1! =
1.h5! gxh5 (1…Ke7 2.h6) 2.Kf5 h4 3.g6 h3 4.Ke6 h2 5.Rxe8! Kg7 6.Rh8!! Kxh8 7.Kf7 and Black king resigns
1…Kf1 2.Rxh3 (2.Rf8+ -/+) Ng4 and 3…Nf2#
1.Bg5! h1Q (1…fxg6 2.f6 with mate; 1…Qxg5 2.Qd8+ Kg7 3.Qc7+ and 4.Qxh2 +/-) 2.Qe8+ Kg7 3.Qg6+ Kf8 4.Qxf6+ Kg8 5.Qd8+ Kg7 6.Qe7+ Kg8 7.Qe8+ 1-0
1.Nd7 a2 2.Ndf6 a1Q+ 3.Ke6= as the cavalry keeps Black’s king stalemated.
1…a3! (1…Nf3 2.Rg8 e2 3.Rd8! with Re8 and Rxe2) 2.Ra6 Nb3!! 3.Rxa3 e2 4.Ra1! Beautiful!
1.Ke7! (in chess, a straight line isn’t necessarily the shortest) g5 2.Kd6 g4 3.e7 Bb5 4.Kc5= (a key gain of tempo) 4.Bd7 5. Кd4 Кb7 6.Ке4 Кс6 7.Кf4 Кd6 8.e8Q=
Rook and knight, once the most powerful units, are also the only pieces that retained their original fighting power. Here the old friends show how little space they need to achieve perfect coordination and harmony:
1.Nd7 (with a deadly threat Nf6) Na6 (1…Nd5 2.Rc5 Rd8 3.Rxd5 b4 4.Nb6) 2.Ra7! Rd8 3.Nf6 Rd1+ 4.Kf2 Rd2+ 5.Ke1 1-0
Rook and knight, the old friendship and alliance cemented by the perils of innumerous battles on the chess board, show us again how to achieve that ever-escaping perfect coordination and harmony.
Look at the white pieces under the Maestro’s baton of Smyslov endgame virtuoso: can you find a more ideal set up for your troops before the final bugle call?
1.g6! Nd8 (1…fxg6 2.h7+ Kh8 3.Ng6#) 2.Nd7 Re8+ 3.Kd5 Black king resigns 1-0 Threatens 4.Nf6+; on 3…Re6 follows 4.Ra8! Rxg6 5.Rxd8+ Kh7 6.Nf8+
1…Nf3+! 0-1 (2.gxf3 Rg6+ 3.Kh1 Nf2#)
Black is in a difficult position – in his position are significant defects: a “bad” bishop and weakness of the white squares. Any dynamic compensation in the form of active play against the enemy king appears insufficient – on 1…Qh6 follows 2.Qh1 with an exchange of queens (Paata Gaprindashvili, Imagination in Chess 2006).
So, is there anything Black can do here? Well, as the great Tal put it: Gligo felt a dislike of passive positions…
“Gligorich’s games , in my opinion, rank as some of the most beautiful examples of how chess should be played! When I am asked by chess amateurs, interested in improving the level of their play, what player’s games they should study, I have never hesitated in recommending the games of Svetozar Gligorich!” –Canadian GM Kevin Spraggett
43…e4!! Surprise! Gligoric frees the e5 square for the bishop, and then in turn, the c1-h6 diagonal for the queen 44.dxe4 Be5 45.Rc8 (45.Qh1 Qd2!; 45.Ra2 Rf8!) Qh6 46.Qg1 Qh4 47.Qf2 Qh2+ 48.Kf1 Qh1+ 49.Ke2 Qc1 50.Rc7 Qxc4+ 51.Kd2 Qa2+ 52.Ke1 Qb1+ 53.Ke2 Qb5+ 54.Ke1 Qb1+ 55.Ke2 Qb5+?! (55.Bd4! offered good winning chances) 56.Ke1 1/2-1/2 commentary by Paata Gaprindashvili, Imagination in Chess 2006
In time pressure, Black, one of the most renowned positional players in the history, seeks some counterplay (he just played …Ra4), but it seems it’s too late.
Rook and Knight. Long live the tandem! We saw them already in a few puzzles recently (see ##21/2/3) make marvels of art in chess harmony and team play.
40.Rb7! Rxd4 41.Ne8 Re4 42.Rxg7+ Kh8 43.f4 Rc4 44.Re7 1-0 Black king resigns. After 45.Nf6 and 46.Rf7 will be virtually paralyzed, and the advance of White’s king will prove decisive.
Black must have been pretty happy with his position. The h3 rook looks useless. On top of that, the d6 pawn seems to be doomed. It doesn’t look promising for White. Yet the Maestro finds the way!
1.Rh6! Qd7 (1…gxh6 2.Qd4+ Kg8 3.Qd5+) What now? 2.Re6!! Qxe6 3.d7 Rd6 4.d8Q+ Rxd8 5.Qxd8+ Qg8 6.Qxb6 and White won the endgame.
The set up with b- and g-pawn wants a sac badly:
1.Bxb6! and Black’s king resigns as after 1…Bc3 2.Ba5! it’s over
Beware bluder! Only one out of the three candidate moves here is right. Even an experienced GM like Vlastimil Hort missed it.
Instead, Black fell into a well-hidden trap: 1…Ke1? 2.Qg3+! ½-½ while 1…Kf1? runs into 2.Qf4+! =
Henri Gerard Marie Weenink, born 1892, was both a problem composer and player. At Amsterdam 1930 he was 1st in a field that included Max Euwe and Rudolf Spielmann. Sadly he died an early death because of tuberculosis in 1931.
1.a7 Rg2+! (1…Rg8 2.Bg3!+ and 3.Bb8)
After 1…Rg2+ White’s king must stay shy of the 3rd rank: 2.Kb3 Rg8 and if 3.Bg3?+ Rxg3 with check. His majesty cannot give up watch over a-file because of …Ra1(a2) taking out the pawn. So what is White to play now?
2.Kb1! Rg1+ Perpetual? Nope. White has a clever trick up his sleeve!
3.Be1! Interference, driving the Rook on e1, his king now self-interferring, barring the rook to reach the back rank!
3…Rxe1 4.Kb2 Re2+ 5.Kb3 Re3+ 6.Kb4 Re4+ 7.Kb5 and no more checks baby, so Black’s king may raise the white flag here…
1.Rg5! Qxf6 (if 1…Qxg5, or 1…Qxe4, then 2.Nxf7#) 2.Qd4!! Rg6 3.Rxg6! 1-0 (3…Qxd4 4.Nxf7#)
Philipp Stamma (c.1705–1755), a native of Aleppo, Syria, later resident of England and France, was a chess master and a pioneer of modern chess. He was considered to be one of the World’s best chessplayers and is famous for his book Essai sur le jeu des echecs published 1737 in France (English translation: The Noble Game Of Chess 1745). This book brought the Middle Eastern concept of the endgame to the attention of Europe and helped revive European interest in the study of the endgame.
In 1747, Stamma lost a match against François André Philidor with +1 =1 -8, which marked the beginning of Philidor’s rise to fame.
1.Re1+ Rb1 2.Rc1! Rxc1+ 3.Kxc1 h5 4.gxh5 g4 5.h6 g3 6.h7 g2 7.h8=B#
1.Rxd5! exd5 2.e6! 1-0 as Rh8 mate is threatened, and if 2…fxe6, then a7-rook is lost.
1.Rd8! c2 2.Rxe8 1-0
The original idea by the author was to show how a sole rook could fight against two connected pawns on the second:
1.Rb8+ Ka2 2.Kc2 Ka3 3.Kc3 Ka4 4.Kc4 Ka5 5.Kc5 Ka6 6.Kc6 Ka7 7.Rb1 fxg2 8.Ra1 Kb8 9.Rb1 Kc8 10.Ra1 Kd8 11.Kd6 Ke8 12.Ke6 Kf8 13.Kf6 Kg8 14.Ra8+ Kh7 15.Ra7+ Kh6 16.Ra8 Kh5 17.Kf5 Kh4 18.Kf4 and Black has nothing else but to go back.
But, there is more to it than that… Can you see it?
Actually, a second solution demolishes the study: 1.Rb8+ Ka2 2.Rh8! Now if 2…fxg2 3.Rxh2, or 2…f2 3.Ke2 winning.
The solution was found in 1983 by a student from Belgrade, Veljko Martinovic (nowadays it is easy – one just feeds the Fritz et voilà, the solution is there in no time)
1.Nf6+! gxf6 (1…Kh8 2.Ng6+ fxg6 3.Qxh6+ gxh6 4.Rh7#) 2.Qg3+ Kh7 3.Rxf7+ 1–0
23. Nxb7 Rxb7 24. Qxa6 Rbc7 25. b4 Qd7 26. Qb6 Qe8 27. b5 Nxd4 28. Rxc7 Ne2+ 29. Kh1 Nxc1 30. Rxc8 Qxc8 31. Qc6 Qd8 32. b6 Kf7 33. Qc7+ Ke8 34. Qa7 d4 35. b7 1-0
1.Bg6! Kxg6 2.Qf5+ Kh6 3.Qh5#
1.Rxe5 fxe5 2.Rd8+ 1-0
1.Qh8+ Kg5 2.Qf5+ fxf5 3.Qh5#
1…Rc4+ 2.Kg5 Rh4! 3.Kxh4 g5+ and 4…Kg7 winning
69…Be3! 70.Kxh6 g4+ 71.fxe3 g3 72.Kh7 g2 73.h6 g1=Q 74.Kh8 a2 75.Bxa2 Kxa2 76.h7 Qg6 77.e4 Qf7 0-1
1.Nf3 exf3 2.Ke5 (with 3.Re4 as a threat) e1=Q 3.Kf6 (thanks to closing of the f-file at move one, the king is now safe) Qa1+ 4.d4 h5 5.Kg6 and mating in 2.
It doesn’t work 2.Kxg2 Ne3. So White’s king resigns 0-1 as 2…Nf4# is threatened
1.Rf1+ Ke5 so as not to lose the queen on the next move 2.Kg5 Qa2 (or 2…Qa4) 3.Re1+ Kd5 4.Nc3+ +/-
33…Rdxd7 34.Nxd7 Qg6 White is a piece up, but the mating threats along the g-file decide 35.Qa8+ Rg8 36.Qxg8+ Qxg8 37.b3 Qg5 38.Re1 d3 39.Ne5 d2 40.Nf7+ Kg7 41.Rd1 Qh4 42.Kg2 Qe1 0-1
23.Nd6!+- Bxe3+ 24.Kf1 Bxd7 25.Rxd7 Rf8+ 26.Ke1 1–0
1.b7! (1.bxa7 Ra4 2.Bc5 Kc4 3.d6 Kxc5 4.d7 wouldn’t work due to 4…Rg4+ and 5…Rg8)
1…Rg4+ 2.Kf2 Rg8 3.d6! Kc4! 4.d7 Kb5 5.d8=Q Rxd8 6.Bxd8 Ka6!
7.b8=Q, or R is stalemate, while 7.b8=N Kb7 8.Nd7 Kc8=
The only solution left is: 7.b8-B!
One bishop can’t do it, but two bishops of the same color secure an easy win!!
7…Kb7 8.Be5 Kc8 9.Bh5 Kd7 10.Kf3 Ke1 11.Kf4 Kf7 12.Kf5! Kf8 13.Kf6 Kg8
If White had only one bishop, Black could mark time on the f8 and g8 squares and, in
case of 14.Bd6, sacrifice his pawn by …a5-a4, etc., followed by …Kh8 (Kf7 stalemate)
But now 14.Bb4! a5 15.Be7 a4 16.Ba3! Kh1 17.Kf7#
Thus two bishops could enforce zugzwang and then the mate with discovered check!
1…h5! (how to parry 2…g4? Doesn’t help 2.Qb7+ Kh6, and after 2.g4 hxg4+ 3.Qxg4 Qh1+ 4.Kg3 Qe1+ Black wins the knight) 2.Qxh5 Qh1+ 3.Kg4 Qd1+! 4.Nf3 Qd7#
65…Ng4 66.Nc4 Nh2+ 67.Ke4 Nf1 68.Ne3 Nxg3+ 69.Ke5 Kh2 70.Kd6 Nh5 71.f5 Ng7 72.f6 1/2-1/2
Kubbel is considered one of the greatest of endgame composers. He composed more than 1500 endgame studies and problems, many of which were awarded first prize for their great beauty and original conception. He died of starvation in 1942 during the Nazi siege of Leningrad.
1.Kb5 (threatening 2.Re8+ Kc7 3.Re7+ Kd8 4.Rd7+, White forces the text) Kd8 2.Kxb6 Nc4+ (if 2…d1=Q, then 3.c7+ Kd7 4.Re7+! Kxe7 5.c8=Q where it looks Black has an attack, but: 5…Nd5+ 6.Ka6 Qa4+ 7.Kb7 Qb5+ 8.Ka7 Qb6+ 9.Ka8 Nc7+ 10.Qxc7+ Qxc7 gives stalemate) 3.Kb7 Nd6+ 4.Kb8 d1=Q 5.c7+ Kd7 6.c8=Q! Kxc8 7.Rd5+ Qxd5 stalemate
1…Rh2+ 2.Kf1 Rxe2 3.Kxe2 Ke5 0-1
1.Ke5 d4 2.Kd6 d3 3.Ke7 d2 4.Kf8 d1=Q 5.Bg7#
(or 46.hxg4 Kg3 47.Bf1 Bxf3 48.Ra3 Rb1 49.g5 h3 50.Ra2 Bd5 (50…Bg2 51.Ra3+ Kh4–+) 51.Rc2 Rc1! 52.Rd2 Bc4 53.Rf2 h2+ 54.Rxh2 Rxf1#)
46…Rb1+ 47.Bf1 Bxf3 48.hxg4 Kg3 49.Rc2 h3 50.g5 Bg2 0–1
1…d2 2.Bxf7+ Kf8 3.Rxd4 Re1 4.Kg2 d1=Q 5.Rxd1 Rxd1 6.Bc4 and Black can’t count on victory.
So 1…Kf8!! 2.Bc4 (after 2.Bxf7 follows not 2…d2, but 2…Re4!) d2 3.Rxd4 Re1+ 4.Kg2 d1=Q 5.Rxd1 Rxd1 and wins.
“From a simple and unremarkable starting position unveils a rich play by way of subtle and unexpected moves,” –K. & I. Behting, the judges of the Concourse. Let’s see what happens here:
1.Bf6 d4 2.Ne2 (2.Nf3 to win the queen for two minors gives just a draw: 2…a1=Q 3.Bxd4+ Qxd4 4.Nxd4 Kxd4 5.Kg4 Kxd3 6.Kg5 Ke4 7.Kh6 Kf5 8.Kxh7 Kf6)
2…a1=Q 3.Nc1 With this unexpected move White sets up a mating net for the black king which can get out of it but with a price
3…Qa5 4.Bxd4+ Kxd4 (or 4…Kd2) 5.Nb3+ winning.
If 3…h6 4.Be5 Qxc1 (there is nothing else) 5.Bf4+ winning
1…Rxa4! 2.bxa4 b3 3.Rg4 Be1+!!
1…b5!! Deflecting the knight away from the e2 and e4 squares; after 1…Ng5 2.f3 it is not easy for Black to generate an initiative.
Or 2.Qd1 b4 3.Na4 Rad8 4.e3 Nxd4 5.exd4 Qe4 6.f3 Qe3+ 7.Rf2 (7.Kg2 Rxd4 8.Qe1 Rd2+) 7…Bxf3! 8.Qe1 Qxd4.
2…Ng5! 3.Bxg7+ (3.f3 Qxe2; 3.h4 Qxe2 4.hxg5 Qf3; 3.Rfe1 Qe4 4.f3 Nxf3+)
3…Kxg7 4.Qh4 h6 5.Nd4 Qe5 6.Rc3 Rad8 7.Rd3 Rxd4! 8.Rxd4 (8.Qxd4 Nh3#)
8…Qxe2 9.Rg4 Qf3 10.Rxg5+ 0-1
White resigned without waiting for 10…Kh7, or 10…hxg5 11.Qxg5+ Kh7 12.Qh4+ Kg6.
The commentary from P. Gaprindashvili’s “Imagination in Chess.”
1.h4+ Kh5 2.Rf5!+ and 3.Bf7#
1.b5! axb5 2.Ng6!+ Kg4! 3.e7 Bf3+ 4.Kf2 Bc6 5.Ne5+
1.Ra8! Qa2 (1…Qxa8 2.Bf3; 1…Qe6 2.Ra6; 1…Qd5 2.Bf3; 1…Qc4 2.Rc8; 1…Qh7 see the text)
2.Rxa4 Qg8 (2…Qxa4 3.Be8) 3.Ra8! Qh7 4.Bg6! Qxg6 5.Ra6+
1…f4! 2.Rxe5 (2.gxf4? Rb1+ 3.Kh2 Bxf4 mating) Rb1+ 3.Kh2 Rb2+ 4.Rh3 Rb1 Draw.
1.Qd6+ Ka8 2.Qc6! Qc8 (2…Bxc6 3.Rd8+) 3.Rd8 and mate can’t be prevented.
1.Nf4! f1=Q (1…Be6 2.Ne2+ Kf1 3.Nf4 Bf5 4.Kf3!=) 2.Nh3+ Kh1 3.Nf2+ Draw
1.Na5 b2 2.Nb3+ Bxb3 3.Ka3! b1=Q(R) stalemate
a) 2.Rxg4 Rh2+ mating,
b) 2.Rh5 Rc8 3.Kh7 Rg7+ 4.Kh6 Rh8#
c) 2.Rh1 Rc8 3.Kh5 Rg5+ 4.Kh6 Rh8#
Doesn’t work: 1.Kd2 Rxc2+! 2.Kxc2 Kxe3; or 1.Bxd4 exd4 2.Rc4 (2.Ra2 Rxc2+; 2.c4 d3+) 2…Rxc4 3.bxc4 Rc8!
So 1.c3!! Rxc3 2.Rxe5+ 1-0
1.Nc6! Kxc6 (White threatens Nxd4 and Bf6+; on 1…a2 2.Nb4+) 2.Bf6! Kd5 3.d3! a2 4.c4! Kc5 (4…dxc3 5.Bxc3) 5.Kb7!! a1=Q 6.Be7#
1…Nc2! 2.Rxe5 b2 3. Re7+ Kf8 4.Rxc7 b1=Q 5.Rc8+ Ke7 6.Rc7+ Kd8 7.Rd7+ Ke8 8.Rxd6 Nd4 0-1
1.g7!! (1.dxe6?? Bxg6 2.Nxg6 b3) 1…Be2+ 2.Kg5! (2.Kh4 Re4+! with the threat 3.Rxg4) 2…Re4 3.Kf5 Rg4 4.Ng6 Rxg6+ 5.Kxg6 Bd3+ 6.Kh6 1-0
At first sight, the White’s chances can only be tied with the h-pawn. However, it’s under attack and can’t be protected. If 1.h7? then 1…Re6+ and 2…Rh6.
It’s not clear then what White can count on?
1.Ng7 (threatening 2.Rc5+ Rxc5 3.h7) 1…Rxh6 2.Rc5+ Kd4 3.Rc4! (after 3.Rxc7? Rh2+ winning the last White’s pawn and making the win impossible) 3…Ke5 4.Rxc7 Kf6 (turns out Black’s chances are tied with the awkward position of the knight) 5.Ne8+ Kf7 6.Rc8 Re6+ 7.Kd1!! (only this move leads to a win – see the comment after move nine) 7…Rg6 8.Nc7 Rc6 (deadly pin?) 9.Kd2! (not really as Black is in zugzwang and is unable to keep the pin along the c-file; were the white king on d2, after either 9.Kd1 Rc3 10.Kd2 Rc6, or 9.d4 Rc4 10.d5 Kg6! the pin holds) 9…Rc5 (9…e5 10.Nb5!; 9…Kg6 10.Nd5) 10.Rf8+! and wins.
Black is counting on moving his rook back and forth from g6 to e6. But…
1.g5 Re6 2.Qf6!! Kf8 (the pawn ending is hopeless) 3.Kd8 Kg8 4.Kd7 Re1 (4…Kf8 5.Qh8 mate) 5.g6 1-0
The beauty of the study lies in its paradoxical logic.
Let us state the following:
1) any promotion of the c-pawn loses after …Bf5+,
2) a flank approach via a7 won’t work as with the bishop on c8 the move Kb6-a7 is
countered with b7-b5,
3) 1.Ke6 is also insufficient due to 1…Ke4 (f4, g4)
So what is White to do to save his neck?
1.Kc8!! b5 2.Kd7! (the threat is 3.Kc6) 2…b4 3.Kd6 Bf5 4.Ke5! (gaining a tempo and
getting into the b-pawn’s square – if now 4.Bc8, then 5.Kd4 Ba6 6.c8Q Bxc8 7.Kc4)
4…any B move 5.Kd4=
1.Nxd7!! Rxd7 2.c6! Rxd6 3.c7 Nd7 4.c8Q+ Nf8 and White later won
1.Rxb7+ hxg5 2.Nc6+ Ke8 3.Re7#
1.Rh1 (1.Rf4? Rb2 2.Rf3 e2! but no 1…Re1 2.Rf3!=) 1…Re1 2.Rf1! (a subtle rook sac winning the e- and stopping the advance of f-pawn) 2…Rxf1 3.Bxe3 Kb2 4.Kb4 Kc2 5.Kc4 Kd1 6.Kd3 Ke1 7.Bd2+ Kd1 8.Be3! cunning and unexpected; Black’s rook, an-almost-queen together with support of the king are unable to deal with a single bishop, therefore Draw.
Even the great Tal didn’t see it – the game went 1.Rd5 Bf6 2.Nf4? Bd4 3.Ne2+ Kd2 4.Nxd4 and White eventually won. A much faster line to victory is this:
1.Rd5 Bf6 2.Rd1! (the threat is Nf4) 2…Be5 3.Ng5 d5 4.Rxd5 with mate next move
1.Bf3 Rc4 2.Bd5! Bxd5 (Black is forced to take the bishop: if 2…Rg4+ 3.Kf8! Bxd5 4.d7 Rg8+ 5.Ke7 Rg7+ 6.Kd6 or 2…Rc5 3.Be6 Ra5 4.Kf6! Ra7 5.Bc8 and 6.Ke6 drawing) 3.d7 Rc7 4.Kh8! Rxd7 stalemate. A totally unexpected stalemate finish!
1.e6 Ra7 2.e7! Be4! (threatening mate in case of 3.e8Q? Rh7#; if 2…Rxe7 3.Nf5+ Bxf5 stalemate) 3.Nf3+! Kg4 4.Ne5+ Kf4 (hoping to avoid a perpetual and keeping the threat of mate at h7) 5.Ng6+! Bxg6 (otherwise, by closing the bishop’s diagonal and escaping from mate White plays e8) 6.e8Q Bxe8 stalemate.
White has just made a sacrifice on e8 hoping for 1…Rxe8 2.Nxf6. But what happened was 1…Rh5+! 2.Kg1 Rxe8 3.Nxf6 Rh1+ 4.Kxh1 Re1+ 5.Kh2 Rh1+ 6.Kxh1 stalemate!
White missed the key idea in the game.
1.Re6! Nf3 (now with the knight off, White wins by advancing his king to support the pawn; it doesn’t work 1…Nc4 2.Rc6+!; 1…Nd7 2.Re7 and Rxd7) 2.Re7+ Kb8 3.Kc3 Ka7 4.Kc4 etc.
In the game White played 1.Rb6? but after 1…Nd7 the position was a draw.
1.Kb6! (1.Kc6? Ka5) 1…Rg6+ 2.d6!
1.Bd5! Rh5 2.Kf5 cxd5 [2…Rh8+ 3. Bg8] 3.Kg7 Rg5+ 4.Kf7 Rf5+ 5.Ke7 Re5+ 6.Kd7
1…Rxf6! 2.Nxf6 g1Q 3.Rg8+ Kh6! =
This study strikes with its logical play. First, move by move the black rook drives the
white king from the pawn, which then seems doomed – yet…
1.Be5 Rb4+ 2.Kd5 Rb5+ 3.Kc6 Rxe5 4.d7 Re6+ 5.Kb7 Rd6 6.Kc8 Rc6+ 7.Kb7 Rc7+ 8.Ka8 Rxd7 stalemate.
Two white pieces are under attack. Of course, White will save his rook and then try to win either the pawn or one of black minors.
Seems it is 1.Rh4 Kxg8 2.Rg4 that works. On 2…g5? 3.K(on a white square) Kf7 4.Rg3 with draw. However, after 2…Kg7 3.Kb7! Kh6! (not 3…Kf6? 4.Rg3 Bc5 5.Kc6 Ba7 6.Kb7=) 4.Rg3 Bc5 5.Kc6 Bd4! 6.Rg4 Nf3 7.Rf4 Ne5+ 8.Kd5 Bg1! 9.Kxe5 Bh2 winning. So White must try other rook moves.
1.Rh8 Kg7 2.Bh7! g5 3.Bf5!! [White unexpectedly gives out his rook without any compensation] 3…Kxh8 4.Bg4! Kg7 5.Kc7 Kf6 6.Kd6 Bc1 [perhaps the bishop may do something?] 7.Kd5 Ba3 8.Ke4(d4) ke7 9.Kd5 Kd8 [the last chance is to try to get around]] 10.Kc6 Bf8 11.Kb7 positional draw
1…Be5! [1…g3 2.Kf3 g2 3.Rg7+ is draw, but 1…Bg3 2.Rg7+ Kf6 3.Rxg4 h2 wins]
2.Rd7 [2.Kxe5 h2 3.Rg7+ Kh6 4.Rg8 Kh7]
2…h2 3.Rd1 [or 3.Rh7 Bg3, threatening 4…Bh4]
1.f8Q!! Kxg8 2.Kf6! Bg8
[2…Re8 3.Rh8+ Bg8 4.Ng6 mate; 2…Kg8 3.Rg7+ Kf8 4.Ng6+ Ke8 5.Kxe6 Rc6+ 6.Ke5 Rc2 7.Nf4 Rxf2 8.Ne6 Re2+ 9.Kf6 and wins; 2…Bd5 3.Rh8+ Bg8 4.Ng6+ Ke8 5.Rxg8! Kd7 6.Ne5+ Kc7 7.Rxc8 Kxc8 8.Nxf3 b3 9.Nd2]
3.Re7! Bh7 [what else?] 4.Rxh7 Kg8 5.Rg7+ Kf8 6.Rb7 Ra8 7.Rf7!+ Ke8 8.Re7+ Kd8 9.Nf7+ Kc8 10.Nd6+ Kd8 11.Ke6 Ra7 12.Rxa7 b3 13.Rd7# 1-0
1.h7+! Kxh7 2.Ba4 Rxb2 3.Bc2+! Rxc2 4.Kf3 Rc3+ 5.Kf4 Rc4+ 6.Kf5
1…Bc1!! [much weaker is 1…Qxf4 2.Qa8+ Kd7 3.Qxa3 Qe4+ 4.Ka1] 2.Bxc1 [2.Bh2 h3! 3.Qf2 b2 4.Qb6 Qe4+ 5.Ka2 b1Q+! 6.Qxb1 Qa4 mate] 2…h3! 3.Qe2 Qa2+ 0-1
1.Kg6 Kb6 [1…f5, or 1…h5 would be followed by 2.Kxg7! f4(h4) 3.Kf6! etc.; if 3…f3(h3) then 4.Ke6! f2(h2) 5.c7! Kb7 6.Kd7!]
2.Kxg7! f5 [after 2…Kxc7 3.Kxf5 the rook pawn will also be lost; if 2…h5 the draw be secured by 3.Kxf6 h4 4.Ke5 threatening both Kd6 and Kf4]
3.Kf6! f4 4.Ke5! f3 5.Kd6! f2 6.c7!
71.Ng8! Rxg8 72.Bc4+ Ke7 73.Bxg8 Ne5 74.Bc4 Bf2 75.Bb5 Bxg3 76.Kc3 Bh4 77.Kd4 Kd6 78.Rb6+ Kc7 79.Rh6 Bg5 80.Rh7 Nf3+ 81.Kd5 e3 82.Rh8 Bd8 83.Rh1 Kb6 84.Be2 Ng5 85.Rc1 f4 86.Rc8 Nf7 87.Bh5 Bh4 88.Bxf7 f3 89.Bh5 1-0
1.Kd8 Rd6+ 2.Ke7 Rc6 3.Kd7 Ra6 4.Bf6 Bb1 [4…Rxf6 5.c8Q Be6+ 6.Ke7 Bxc8 7.Kxf6] 5.Ke6 Rh5 6.Bg5 Rh8 7.Bd8 Rh5 8.Bg5 and draw.