Endgame study solving is fun for everybody

3/19/2012 – A fortnight ago we brought you a report on Harold van der Heijden, who had collected 76,132 studies in an electronic database. At the end of the story there was a study by the Dutch endgame expert himself – for you to solve. Simple and elegant it is not quite easy to calculate. Harold explains the solution and tells us about a GM who took just seconds to give the main line.

ChessBase 14 Download ChessBase 14 Download

Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. Start your personal success story with ChessBase 14 and enjoy your chess even more!


Along with the ChessBase 14 program you can access the Live Database of 8 million games, and receive three months of free ChesssBase Account Premium membership and all of our online apps! Have a look today!

More...

Endgame study solving is fun for everybody

By Harold van der Heijden

Some years ago I was invited to a general chess meeting in the city of Apeldoorn to promote the endgame study. The meeting was attended by many young chess talents, strong players, and even some grandmasters. Besides some promotional material (magazines and books on endgame studies) I hoped to attract the audience with a chess board which had the following position:

Harold van der Heijden

White to play and win

This composition, authored by myself, had previously appeared in a Dutch newspaper (Algemeen Dagblad, 18.1.2003). It is very suited for such an occasion, as it can be solved by everybody by the trial-and-error method, while it is still fun (i.e. difficult) for the more gifted o.t.b. players.

Surely, everybody appreciates that White’s win should come from a pawn breakthrough combination. However, 1.g5? fxg5 is a draw – after 2.e5 Black even wins, as the black g-pawn advances with check and promotes with a mate-in-one threat. And 1.e5? fxe5 2.g5 e4 3.g6 e3 4.g7 e2 5.g8Q e1Q is a draw. Perhaps 1.Kh3? In that case, after 1...Kf3! White has nothing better than 2.e5 fxe5 3.g5 e4 4.g6 e3 5.g7 e2 6.g8Q e1Q with a draw we recognize from the 1.e5? line.

The only legal move that remains is the surprising 1.Kh1!, which is “of course” the solution. Obviously, if Black plays to the e-file (1...Ke3) then White plays 2.e5 fxe5 3.g5 e4 4.g6 and the black king obstructs his e-pawn. Playing to the g-file (1...Kg3) allows White to promote with check: 2.e5 fxe5 3.g5 e4 4.g6 e3 5.g7 e2 6.g8Q+ and win.

More difficult is 1...Kf3. White then plays 2.e5! (not 2.g5? fxg5 3.e5? – still attempting to win – 3...Kf2 and White is mated) 2...fxe5 3.g5 e4 and now 4.Kg1! e3 5.Kf1 and wins.

But, almost everybody asked, what about 1...Kf1, which seems to change nothing in the initial position? But it does: 2.e5! fxe5 3.g5 e4 4.g6 e3 5.g7 e2 6.g8Q e1Q with a position that we have seen with the kings shifted one or two files up. Here’s the difference: 7.Qg2 mate!

[Event "Algemeen Dagblad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2003.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "van der Heijden, Harold"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/5p2/8/4P1P1/8/5k1K/8 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "13"] [EventDate "2003.??.??"] 1. Kh1 $1 (1. e5 $2 fxe5 2. g5 e4 3. g6 e3 4. g7 e2 5. g8=Q e1=Q 6. Qg3+ Ke2 $1 $11) (1. g5 $2 fxg5 2. Kh3 (2. e5 g4 3. e6 g3+ 4. Kh3 g2 5. e7 g1=Q 6. Kh4 Qe1 $19) 2... Kf3 $11) (1. Kh3 $2 Kf3 $1 2. e5 fxe5 3. g5 e4 4. g6 e3 5. g7 e2 6. g8=Q e1=Q $11) 1... Kf1 (1... Kf3 2. e5 $1 ({Not} 2. g5 $2 fxg5 3. Kg1 {draw.} ({If} 3. e5 {still attempting to win} Kf2 {and White gets mated.})) 2... fxe5 3. g5 e4 (3... Kf2 4. g6 e4 5. g7 e3 6. g8=Q $18) 4. Kg1 $1 e3 5. Kf1 e2+ 6. Ke1 $18) (1... Ke3 2. e5 (2. g5 $2 fxg5 3. e5 $4 Kf2 4. e6 g4 5. e7 g3 6. e8=Q g2+ 7. Kh2 g1=Q+ 8. Kh3 Qg3#) 2... fxe5 3. g5 e4 4. g6 $18) (1... Kg3 2. e5 fxe5 3. g5 $18) 2. e5 $1 fxe5 3. g5 e4 4. g6 e3 5. g7 e2 6. g8=Q e1=Q 7. Qg2# 1-0

I estimate that perhaps some fifty people tried to solve the position, and almost all of them tried all other keys before considering 1.Kh1 (i.e the trial-and-error method). Some smart guys said: “1.Kh1 is the solution, because it is the most unlikely move in this position”. But they also failed to see the point from the initial position. Then GM Artur Yusupov walked along my table.

Earlier that day I had talked to this very nice person, and he told me then than he often used my endgame study database for training purposes, i.e. improving his endgame tactics. I challenged him: “Mr. Yusupov, can you solve this study?”. He glanced over the position for about ten seconds and said: “Kh1 and Qg2 mate” and shook my hand.

My “revenge” was a challenge that even proved to be too difficult for him to solve (see picture). Here he almost discovered the main line, but found himself lost in the myriad of sub-variations. Endgame study solving is for fun for everybody!

Van der Heijden,H, Beasley,J, 2000

White to play and win

Solution

[Event "sp.p Diagrammes#4510"] [Site "?"] [Date "2000.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Van der Heijden=H Beasley=J"] [Black "(+0013.30a3b1)"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/8/8/4n3/K1P5/P1P5/Bk6 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "19"] [EventDate "2000.??.??"] 1. Bb2 $1 (1. c4 $2 Kxa1 $1 2. Kb3 Nd2+ 3. Kc3 Nb1+ 4. Kb3 Nd2+) (1. Kb3 $2 Nd2+ $1 (1... Kxa1 $2 2. a4) 2. Ka3 Kxa1) (1. Kb4 $2 Kxa2 $1 (1... Kxa1 $2 2. a4 $1) 2. c4 Kxa1) 1... Nd2 (1... Kxc2 2. c4 $1 Kb1 3. Bh8 Nc5 4. Bd4 Ne6 5. Bb6) (1... Nc5 2. c4) (1... Nd6 2. Kb3) 2. c4 $1 (2. Ka4 $2 Kxb2) (2. Kb4 $2 Kxa2 $1 (2... Kxb2 $2 3. a4 $1 Ne4 4. c4 $1 Kxc2 5. c5 $1 Kd3 6. a5 $1 Kd4 7. a6 $1 Nxc5 8. a7 Na6+ 9. Kb5) 3. Bc1 Ne4 $1 4. Ba3 (4. Bf4 Kb2) 4... Kb1 5. Kb3 Nd2+) 2... Nxc4+ 3. Kb4 $1 (3. Kb3 $2 Nxb2) 3... Nxb2 4. Kb3 $1 Kc1 $1 (4... Nd1 5. c4) (4... Ka1 5. a4) 5. a3 $1 (5. a4 $2 Nxa4 6. Kxa4 Kxc2) (5. c4 $2 Nd3 $1 6. a4 (6. Kc3 Nc5 7. Kb4 Ne6 8. a4 Kd2 9. a5 Kd3 10. a6 Kd4 11. a7 Nc7) 6... Kd2 $1 7. a5 Ke3 $1 8. a6 (8. Ka4 Nc5+ 9. Kb5 Kd4) 8... Nc5+) (5. Kc3 $2 Na4+) (5. c3 $2 Nd3 $1) 5... Nd1 (5... Kb1 6. c4 $1 Nd3 7. a4 $1 Nc5+ 8. Kb4 $1 Na6+ 9. Kb5 Nc7+ 10. Kb6) 6. a4 $1 (6. c4 $2 Kd2 7. c5 Nc3 8. Kc4 Na4 $1 9. c6 Nb6+ $1 10. Kb5 Nc8 11. a4 Kd3 12. a5 Kd4 $1 13. Ka6 Kd5 14. Kb7 Nd6+ 15. Kb6 Nc8+) 6... Ne3 (6... Kd2 7. a5 Nc3 8. Kc4 Ne4 (8... Kxc2 9. a6 Na4 10. a7) 9. Kd5 Nf6+ 10. Kc6) 7. a5 $1 (7. c4 $2 Kd2 8. a5 Kd3 $1) 7... Nd5 (7... Nf5 8. a6 $1 Ne7 9. a7 $1 Nc6 10. a8=Q) (7... Nxc2 8. Kc4 (8. Kc3 $1 Ne3 9. a6 Nd5+ 10. Kb3 $1) 8... Ne3+ 9. Kc5 $1) 8. a6 $1 (8. c4 $2 Nc7 $1) (8. Kc4 $2 Nc7 9. Kc5 Kxc2 10. Kc6 Na6) 8... Nc7 (8... Kd2 9. a7 $1 Nc7 10. Ka4) (8... Nb6 9. a7 $1 Kd2 10. Kb4) 9. a7 Nb5 (9... Kd2 10. Kb4) 10. a8=Q 1-0


Study king Harold van der Heijden


  • The world's largest collection of endgame studies
  • 76,132 endgame studies
  • PGN-format
  • Price: 50 EUR (Discount for recent buyers of HHdbIII)
  • More than 8000 new studies, and tens of thousands corrections in other studies
    Numerous extra endgame study details added.

The product consists of a chess database in PGN-format, without any software. In order to access the database you need to have chess software.

Copyright ChessBase


Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register