The Iniyan Challenge

by Frederic Friedel
4/9/2023 – Recently young grandmaster P. Iniyan visited our company and showed us a position from one of his games which should be won by White. But he needed to work very hard to do so. It was a remarkable rook ending from which there was a lot to learn. We challenged our readers to find a comprehensive solution, and received some excellent analyses. This we present you today, with Iniyan's own analysis. Don't miss the wonderfully instructive video at the end.

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This is the position Iniyan gave our readers to analyse.


What are White's breakthrough possibilities, and what are Black's defensive/counterattacking chances? These are the questions Iniyan asked you to think about.

Iniyan (middle) showing his endgame position to super-talent Praggnanandhaa (right) and super-trainer RB Ramesh (left) in the ChessBase office. 

We now present the two best analyses we received. After that we will show you Iniyan's analysis, and a video of him explaining things to Pragg. The video has instructive commentary by Sagar Shah. Don't miss that!

The first prize-worths entry we received was from Zoran Petronijevic, an International Master with a rating of 2400+. By profession he is a teacher of philosophy and logic. Since 2003 he has worked as a chess coach online. A good time ago he made a DVD for ChessBase about Caro-Kann.

"Before I let an engine analyse a game, I analyse myself on the board to try to find the most important ideas," Zoran says. "We must know in which positions the engine can help us, and in which positions it is helpless (or almost helpless)."



The second comprehensive solution came from Kevin Cotreau.

Kevin bought his first computer, back in 1991 – specifically to run ChessBase. "I really enjoyed learning about computers", he says, "I guess you could say that ChessBase is the reason I have a career now, as it steered me into my chosen field: I have been primarily self-employed as a computer network consultant since (I am actually a lot better at computers than I ever was at chess)."

A full description of Kevin's chess endeavours can be found here. And here is his analysis of the Iniyan endgame:


There were several contributions and comments mailed to us. We have decided that Zoran Petronijevic (Serbia) and Kevin Cotreau (USA) will receive as prize a signed DVD by Karsten Müller. Zoran's analysis is short, correct and to the point; and Kevin's explains it well in human terms mainly why a3 is needed in order to win. A really subtle point. The other contributions and comments were also mostly right, but in my opinion not good enough to merit a prize. I should mention that Charles Sullivan (USA) and Wolfram Schön (Germany) had checked Iniyan's analysis in advance to make sure that the riddle has a solution, and so they could not win prizes.

And now for Iniyan's analysis of this very instructive endgame:


Special treat

In the ChessBase office Iniyan explained the intricacies of the endgame to his friend and colleague Praggnanandhaa. It is interesting to watch the latter: he often has his eyes closed, not because he is falling asleep, but because players of his calibre do most of their chess thinking in their minds. They don't really need a chessboard.

In this video Sagar Shah explains some of the most salient points

We hope you have enjoyed this instructive report. Actually we should ask you to remit 15% of the rating points you gain after reading the above to Iniyan's FIDE account, but then we don't really know how that can be done. In any case: thanks a million, Iniyan, for this wonderful lesson in rook endgames.

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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