(1) Yuri Bazlov - Draw,(Russia)
5th Prize, Nunn-50JT, 2005

This position is a truly astounding discovery. White sacrifices a piece to reach a drawn position in which he is two whole minor pieces down and has just one pawn on the second rank. The refusal to capture Black's bishop at move 4 is especially surprising. Other studies with this concluding material balance (such as Avni #20415) have involved stalemate, but this one is based on a positional draw. This study shows that there are still simple and striking positions waiting to be discovered.

1.Nh8!
Black's bishop occupies a dominating position which makes it hard for White to activate his pieces. White's first move clears g6 in order to play his king to that square. [The alternative is 1.Kg7? Nd6 2.Ne5 g3 but Black can secure his pawn on g3 and gradually improve the position of his pieces. Of course, he must avoid the exchange of knights, which leads to a positional draw provided White's king can reach f1. Although the win is not easy, it can be accomplished in the end; for example, 3.Kg6 Bd8! stopping the white king reaching e6, after which it is very hard for Black to displace the centralised white pieces 4.Kh5 Ne4 5.Kg4 Bc7 6.Kf3 Nd2+ 7.Ke3 (7.Ke2 Nb3 8.Ng6 Kc6 9.Kf3 Nd4+ 10.Kg4 Kd5 11.Nf4+ Ke4 wins) 7...Nf1+ 8.Ke2 Nh2 this prevent s the white king approaching the g3-pawn and gives Black time to bring his own king up 9.Nd3 Kc6 10.Ke3 Kd5 11.Nb4+ Ke5 12.Nc6+ Kf5 13.Nd4+ Kg4 14.Nc2 Bb6+ 15.Ke2 Kf4 followed by ...Ng4, with a technical win.]

1...Ne5
The only winning chance is to prevent White's king moving immediately to g6. [After 1...Nxh8 2.Kxh8 Kc6 3.Kg7 Kd5 4.Kg6 Be3 Black cannot move his bishop to f4 or h4 without losing his pawn, so he loses another tempo later when White attacks the g3-pawn with his king 5.Kf5 g3 6.Kg4 Bf2 7.Kf3 Kd4 8.Ke2! the king reaches f1, with a standard positional draw.]

2.Nf7!
Quick action is necessary, or Black just approaches with his king, but this move is simply unbelievable. Already one piece down, White offers a second one! Black must accept as both his minor pieces are under fire.

2...Nxf7 3.Kg6! Ne5+!
[The best try is to sacrifice the bishop, as 3...Kc6 4.Kxf7 Kd5 5.Kg6 draws as in the note to Black's first move.]

4.Kf5!
Declining the offer. [4.Kxg5? loses after 4...Kc6! 5.Kf4 Kd6! gaining the opposition 6.Ke4 (6.Kf5 Kd5 wins) 6...Ke6 7.Kf4 Kf6 8.g3 Ke6 9.Kg5 Kd5 10.Kf5 Kd4 11.Kf4 Kd3! and the g3-pawn falls.]

4...Nf7
Amazing but true; Black cannot win despite being two clear minor pieces up. [4...Nf3 5.Kxg4 and; 4...Bf6 5.Kxf6 Nf3 6.Kf5 Nh2 7.Kf4 are both clear draws.]

5.Kg6 Ne5+ 6.Kf5! 1/2-1/2