Saturday, April 02, 2005

A nice endgame study and a nifty diagram tool

A post on A Patzer's Quest pointed me to this nice tool for making PNG diagrams from FEN.

Here's an example, an endgame study by B. Gusev and K. Sambatyan (found in EG #150, available from the EG archive site). White to play and win.

I'll give the solution a couple of paragraphs down. That's a good-looking diagram, and the tool gives a number of style options. Hopefully all browsers understand PNG graphics by now? I may use this in the future instead of the tool I used for the diagram in the _Chess Exam_ review.

OK, Here's the solution:

1. b6 Ka3 (Otherwise the Knight escapes, and White can make Black give up his Rook for the b-pawn and mate with B+N) 2. b7 Rd8+ 3. Ka7 Kb2 (now the Knight is trapped, and the Rook controls the queening square. What ever can White do?) 4. Bg4! (Planning Bc8, interfering with the Rook's control of the 8th rank. If 4...Kxa1 5.Bc8 Rd3 6.b1Q Ra3+ 7.Ba6 and it's all over.) 4...Rd8 (Now if White blocks with Bc8, ...Re7 pins the pawn and draws.) 5.Bd7. The Rook has to move, but where? 5...Rd8, 6.Bc8 wins as seen before, so the Rook has to go somewhere else. Unfortunately for Black, 5...Rf8 6. Nb3 (run away!) 6...Kxb3 7.Bc8 Rf7 8.Be6+ wins the Rook, after which the Pawn queens; and the same fate awaits 5...Rh8 6.Nc2 Kxc2 7.Bc8 Rh7 8.Bg6+. (That's what composers call an "echo".) Nice!

This shared 1st and 2nd prize in the 1998 Moscow composing tournament, and _EG_ calls it the Study of the Year.

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