One Pawn, Knight, Bishop, and Rook Save the Day

Sergei Tkachenko,

a Grandmaster of composition, is a member of the Ukrainian team that won the 5th World Chess Composition Tournament in 1997 and which came in second in 2000. 2004, 2013, and 2017, has produced four books in which white ends up with just one pawn, knight, bishop, or rook in the finale manages to win or draw.

I think of these small books as “little jewels,” as in diamonds! These amazing and fantastic studies, some classics from bygone ages, others originally published in the Soviet Union, or ex-Soviet countries, and Sergei’s own compositions, are a feast for those who enjoy expanding their minds and improve their play.

I recall reading a story about former US Chess Champion Stuart Rachels,

from Alabama, in which his father, James Rachels, a professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama, a position in which one can now find Stuart, who followed in his father’s footsteps, said that when he came home Stuart would often greet him in the driveway while holding a Chess board with a study he had been attempting to solve. Stuart would have loved these books!

Each book contains one hundred problems. The paperback books measure four by six inches so they can be transported easily. They can also be purchased in Kindle form. Unfortunately only One Pawn and One Knight are available on Kindle now. They are free if you purchase a Kindle unlimited. How can one beat that price? In addition, the Endgame Books Available on the Forward Chess App, which can be found here: https://forwardchess.com/product-category/endgame-books/

Some examples follow:


Black to move

M.Klyatskin, 1924 (finale)

The first problem is No. 1 in the pawn book. It is one of the most well-known studies in Chess, and the solution should be known by anyone attempting to play Chess. This illustrates there are studies for everyone, from beginner to Grandmaster.


White to move and win

Authors: J. Kling and B. Horwitz, 1853

One more pawn study by the man famous for ending World Champion Jose Raul Capablanca’s

long winning streak (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1102101):


White to move and draw

Author Richard Reti, 1925 (position after black’s first move)

From One Knight Saves the Day:

“Newbies to chess problems will also find analyzing these studies useful. The diverse set of tactical ideas involving a single knight in the finale will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the knight’s resourcefulness. The first studies appeared in the game of shatranj, a precursor of modern chess (VII-VIII centuries). They were called mansubat (singular: mansuba), which can be translated from Arabic as “an arrangement.” Around 700 mansubat have survived, some of which involve a lone knight n the finale.”

Mansuba No. A1 from the XII century has spawned a vast number of studies:


White to move and win

Unknown author, XII century

The next is from one of the most famous Chess players in the history of the game:


White to move and win

Author Paul Keres, 1936

I had the good fortune to meet Paul Keres


A stamp released in the USSR in 1991 to mark the 75th anniversary of the birth of Paul Keres

at the Church’s Fried Chicken tournament in San Antonio, Texas in 1972. For those with a desire to learn about Paul Keres I highly recommend the magnificent six part series recently concluded @ https://chess24.com/en/read/news/paul-keres-prince-without-a-crown

The next volume, One Bishop Saves the Day,

contains a history of the development of the bishop. “In the game of shatranj, a precursor of modern chess, the bishop differed from its modern cousin. It could jump diagonally over both its own player’s and its opponent’s pieces. At the same time, this bishop was much weaker and more vulnerable: it moved diagonally only two squares at a time (no lese and no more)), which made it easy prey for more mobile pieces.” Examples are given, but you must purchase the book to see them, as I give only modern examples:


White to move and draw

Author Jan Timman, 1982 (Grandmaster Jan Timman

is the Honorary Editor of the best Chess magazine in the world, New In Chess)


White to move and draw

Author Pal Benko,

1967 (Everyone should be familiar with Pal Benko, the man who punched out by Bobby Fischer! http://chessmoso.blogspot.com/2010/12/getting-killed-over-chess-game.html)

In One Rook Saves the Day

we find:

“In the game of shatranj, a precursor of modern chess, the rook was the strongest piece. The rook featured frequently in ancient mansubat (singular:mansuba) – the first chess compositions. In those days, it was called a ‘rukh’ (sometimes spelt ‘roc’ or ‘rucke’), an ancient and powerful phoenix-like firebird so big that it could even carry elephants in its claws.”


Black to move. White achieves a draw

Author Sergei Tkachenko, 2000, the GM who put these wonderful books together. (http://www.gmsquare.com/composition.pdf)

Every day for I do not know how long I have gone to TWIC (http://theweekinchess.com/) every morning an attempt to solve the Daily Chess Puzzle as a way of firing my brain. Since receiving these books I attempt to solve at least one study. There have been days when I hold the position in my mind and reflect on it throughout the day. For example, yesterday I kicked back in our new recliner to rest, close my eyes, and there was the morning position. One day we were busy so I had not had time to attempt to solve the position that had been indelibly etched in my memory, but when I went to bed that night, there was the position, which I was still unable to solve. The next morning, after taking a couple of jolting slugs of coffee, I opened the book currently being read, looked at the page, and “Wa La,” there was the position! Getting up immediately I walked over to the desk graciously given to me by my friend Michael (Mulfish) Mulford when he moved to Lost Wages, set up the board, and solved the study!

The books are published by Elk and Ruby (https://twitter.com/ilan_ruby?lang=en).

‏I love these books I have come to think of as little nuggets of gold!

The Passive Caro-Kann

“If you play the Caro-Kann when young, what are you going to play when old?” – Bent Larsen

Federico Perez Ponsa (2553)

vs Hikaru Nakamura (2781)

Gibraltar Masters 2018

Round 3

1. e4 c6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. Qxf3 e6 6. Be2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Rd1
d4 9. Nb1 Ne7 10. d3 c5 11. a4 Nbc6 12. Na3 O-O 13. Qg3 a6 14. Bf4 e5 15. Bd2
Rb8 16. Rf1 b5 17. axb5 axb5 18. f4 Bh6 19. Qh4 Bxf4 20. Bxf4 exf4 21. Rxf4 Ne5
22. Raf1 N7c6 23. Qf2 b4 24. Nb1 b3 25. c4 Nb4 26. Qg3 f6 27. Kh2 Qd6 28. Na3
Nc2 29. Nb5 Qe7 30. R4f2 Ra8 31. Rb1 Ne3 32. Na3 Rf7 33. Re1 Kh8 34. Bf1 Re8
35. Nb1 f5 36. Nd2 Qc7 37. Kg1 f4 38. Qh4 Ref8 39. Be2 Qa5 40. Qg5 Qxd2 41.
Qxe5+ Kg8 42. Rb1 Qc2 43. Rbf1 Nxf1 44. Bxf1 Qc1 45. Qxc5 f3 46. g3 Qe3 47. Qd5
h5 48. h4 Kh7 49. Qg5 Ra7 50. Qc5 Ra1 51. Qe7+ Kg8 52. Qe6+ Kg7 53. Qe7+ Rf7
0-1

Does this mean Naka has grown old, at least as a Chess player? Seeing this game caused me to reflect on a post found at GM Kevin Spraggett’s website recently, Samurai Spassky. Kevin provides Spassky’s original annotations to a Caro-Kann game played in 1959: Boris Spassky vs Aaron Reshko, St.Petersburg. Also provided is a PDF of a 1969 Soviet-Life article containing Spassky’s thoughts on the Caro-Kann, which I transcribed:

“The Caro-Kann is quite popular now, but it is usually employed by passive-minded players. The main idea of this system is that Black temporarily declines a Pawn battle in the middle and strives, instead, to quickly as possible finish deploying his forces, especial the Queen’s Bishop, before the King’s Pawn move P-K3. Only after this does he launch vigorous operations in the center. The result is that Black’s position is solid, even though passive. The weakness of this system is that it offers White too much a wide a choice of possible patterns of development, which provides not only chess, but also psychological trumps.”
http://www.spraggettonchess.com/samurai-spassky/

Former US Chess Champion Stuart Rachels,

now an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama, said, “Play main lines.” That may be good advice for top flight players, but for the rest of us, “Where is the fun in that?” I have never, ever, not once, played Bf5. After 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 I have only played 3…c5 and Qb6. Upon returning to Chess after leaving the Royal game for the more lucrative Backgammon I played mostly obscure and little known openings, such as what was called by Kazim Gulamali,

the “Caro-Kann Krusher.” 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 f3!

Now there is a book on the move…

There are so many multifarious opening lines, yet top players continue to trot out the same ol’, same ol’…BORING!

Kevin plays the “passive” 5…exf6 in this game, which features double doubled pawns, and a Queen sacrifice!

Daniel H. Campora (ARG)

(

vs Kevin Spraggett (CAN)

Portugal Open 2018 round 06

B15 Caro Kann, Forgacs variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Qe2+ Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 Nd7 11. h3 Bh5 12. g4 Bg6 13. Bb3 a5 14. a4 Nb6 15. c4 Bb4 16. Rad1 Re8 17. Nh4 Be4 18. f3 Bg6 19. Nxg6 hxg6

White to move

20. Qf2 Qe7 21. Rd3 Nd7 22. Bf4 Nc5 23. Re3 Ne6 24. c5

Black to move

Nxf4 25. Rxe7 Rxe7 26. Qc2 Ne2+ 27. Kg2 Nxd4 28. Qc4 Nxb3 29. Qxb3 Bxc5 30. Qc4 b6 31. Rd1 Rae8 32. Rd2 Re1 33. h4 g5 34. h5 Rg1+ 35. Kh3 Rh1+ 36. Rh2 Rhe1 37. Rd2 Rh1+ 38. Rh2 Rb1 39. Re2 Rd8 40. Qc2 Rh1+ 41. Kg2 Rg1+ 42. Kh2 Ra1 43. Kg2 Bd4 44. Qxc6 Be5 45. Qxb6 Rdd1 46. Rxe5 fxe5 47. Qb8+ Kh7 48. Qxe5 Rd2+ 49. Kg3 Rg1+ 50. Kh3 Rh1+ 51. Kg3 Rg1+ 52. Kh3 ½-½

Rea B. Hayes vs John Harold Belson

1936 Canadian Championship

Toronto

B15 Caro-Kann, Forgacs variation

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nf6 5. Nxf6+ exf6 6. Bc4 Bd6 7. Qe2+ Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Bg4 10. Be3 Nd7 11. Rad1 Qc7 12. h3 Bh5 13. Bf4 Qxf4 14. Qxe7 Nb6 15. Bb3 Rae8 16. Qa3 Bxf3 17. gxf3 Nd5 18. Bxd5 cxd5 19. Qd3 f5 20. Rde1 a6 21. c3 Qg5+ 22. Kh2 f4 23. Qd2 Re6 24. Rxe6 fxe6 25. Re1 Rf6 26. Re5 Qh4 27. Qe1 Kf7 28. Qe2 g5 29. Qf1 h5 30. Qg2 Rg6 31. Re1 g4 32. fxg4 hxg4 33. Rg1 b5 34. Kh1 g3 35. Qf1 Rh6 0-1

Tribute to Rea Hayes

Rea B. Hayes

October 31, 1915 – February 15, 2001

Rea Bruce Hayes was born in Weston Ontario, Canada, on October 31, 1915. His first memory of chess was when he was taught to play at age eleven by a boy in the neighborhood. When he thought his friend was being inconsistent about the rules, Rea “read the article in the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica”. From that point on he was the teacher.

Rea joined the St. Clair Chess Club in Toronto and became its champion a few years later. This club later became the Canada Dairies Chess Club.

He moved to Greeneville, South Carolina in 1953 and won his first tournament at Columbia. One trophy was for being the South Carolina Open Champion, the other one was for being the highest scoring South Carolina resident. At the time, no one expected a resident to win the state tournament outright. In 1954, Rea was again the South Carolina Open Champion, but he only received one trophy this time.

While living in South Carolina, Rea tied for third with a 5-2 score in the 1953 Southern Open in Columbia. He finished in a foursome of 5.5-1.5 scores in the 1954 Southern Open in Atlanta and had to settle for fourth on tie breaks.

From South Carolina, Rea transferred to Chattanooga, TN for a two year period. Having just moved, he entered the 1955 Southern Open in Chattanooga and won the Southern Championship with a 6-1 score.

Rea lived the next 30 years of his life in Cincinnati, Ohio. There, he organized the Parkway Chess Club and the City League, a chess team competition. He revived the city championship which had been abandoned for years, winning both the city and club championship many times. For his efforts on behalf of the club, Rea is an honorary member.

In Ohio, the annual Ohio Championship was captured outright by Rea in 1963, winning with only one draw. Several other times, he tied for first in the event. The Region V Championship was his at least once. He was instrumental in organizing the Cincinnati Open, the second annual tournament in Ohio. He was also the president of the Ohio Chess Association. Rea was twice honored by his Cincinnati club, as Chessman of the Decade (1958-1968) and again when he left Cincinnati in 1987.

Before leaving Cincinnati, Rea retired from Union Central Life where he worked as an actuary. Rea visited New Zealand in 1980-1981. Playing chess with players in the Hastings area, one of them paid him the compliment of saying that if Rea lived there, he would be the second or third player in the country.

During 1981, he traveled to Sun City West in Arizona, to take part in the 1st US Senior Open tournament. Although ranked 7th of the eight upper section players, he won top honors. He conceded only one draw, to the player ranking below him. He also won the upset prize, a nice wristwatch, for beating the favorite, Eric Marchand.

Rea’s lasting legacy is being the first US Senior Champion. The Senior trophy now rests at the US Chess Hall of Fame in Washington DC with his name engraved first on the list of champions.

He moved to Chattanooga for the second time in 1990 and became a regular player at the tournaments in and around the state of Tennessee. In 1992, he entered the 46th Annual Tennessee Open in Oak Ridge and captured State Champion honors. He had three wins and three draws.

Since his coming to Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Chess Club, Rea fulfilled the role of Chessman of the Area. He served in almost every club capacity over the years, including president and newsletter editor. All of his contributions and accomplishment have prompted the Chattanooga Chess Club to elect him Life Member and hold an annual tournament in his honor.

http://www.chattanoogachess.org/rea-hayes/

San Francisco Chess Institution

The Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter, written by IM John Donaldson, is, quite simply, a treasure-trove. The MIN is one of the chess sites I frequent regularly. It is de rigueur not only for the members of the M.I. but for anyone fortunate enough to have visited the venerable institution. Upon entering the building at 57 Post street the sense of history is palpable. It is as if the contained chess history of the last century or so oozes from the nooks and crannies, seeping into the visitor by osmosis. What IMJD has written will stand the test of time long after he has departed for the awaiting chess board at the next plane of existence.

Imagine my surprise upon reading the latest entry, #692, dated December 12, 2014 (http://www.chessclub.org/news.php), and finding a Georgia connection. IMJD writes, “Many thanks to Jamie Duif Calvin, who recently made a very generous gift of chess books and chess clocks to the Mechanics’ Institute in memory of her chess mentor International Master Boris Kogan, “who believed that an interest in chess should be supported with a strong foundation of technical study as well as an appreciation for the great games of the past.”

Kogan (1940-1993) was the Soviet Junior Champion in 1956 and 1957, but not long after his successes was encouraged to become a trainer and stopped playing seriously. He only became an International Master in 1981, the year he immigrated to the United States. A nine-time Georgia state champion (he settled in Atlanta), Kogan played in three US Championships.

Encouraged to become a trainer at a time when Jewish players in the Soviet Union didn’t always get a fair deal, Kogan became an excellent coach. Upon his arrival in the United States he worked primarily with older players, but also coached Stuart Rachels who tied for first in the 1989 U.S. Championship. Rachels remembers the fantastic notebooks Boris complied of carefully-selected training positions. One wonders what happened to this “gold”, which deserves to be published.”

During an email exchange a decade or so ago with former US Chess Champion Stuart Rachels I asked about the notebook(s) Boris used during lessons. Stuart said that if they are to be found, they are, most probably, with Mike Kogan, a Master level player, who, at last report, was living and working down under in Australia. If anyone in that part of the world knows anything about the whereabouts of Mike Kogan, pass the word the Armchair Warrior would like to get in touch.

Why Play Main Lines?

For US Co-Champion Stuart Rachels advised young players to play main lines because, “There is a reason they are main lines.” Where is the fun in that? How many times can a player trot the same old fifteen or twenty moves of “book” without becoming bored enough to fall asleep at the board? The so-called “Super GM’s” still, for the most part, play main lines, but I have noticed a tendency in other, lesser tournaments toward experimentation.

Consider the thoughts of World Chess Champ Magnus Carlsen:

“Since my collaboration with Kasparov, my strategy is as follows: At a time when all players prepare themselves with software, my goal is not to see if my computer is better than my opponent’s. In the openings, I just need to reach a position that gives me play. The idea is to be smart rather than trying to crush the other. I try to figure out where he wants to take me and I do my best to not put myself in positions where I could fall into his preparation. I try to play 40 or 50 good moves, and I challenge my opponent to do as much. Even if the position is simple and seems simple, I try to stay focused and creative, to find opportunities that lie within. Not to play it safe. It is important to know how to adapt to all situations.

In this sense, I have that in common with Karpov in his heyday: he believed deeply in his abilities, he was very combative and won a lot of games in tournaments because even when he was not in a good position, he felt he could still win, and played all the way. I’m somewhat similar in spirit: during a competition, I always believe in myself.” —Magnus Carlsen (http://en.chessbase.com/post/magnus-carlsen-explains-his-approach-to-chess)

Although this was published on Chessbase, I took the above from the excellent Mechanic’s Institute Newsletter #668 by IM John Donaldson (http://www.chessclub.org/news.php?n=668).

This game was played yesterday in the seventh round of the Championship of Sweden:

Emanuel Berg (2557) – Tommy Andersson (2336)
ch-SWE 2014 Borlänge (7.4), 2014.07.18
1.e4 c5 2.a3 Nc6 3.b4 cxb4 4.axb4 Nxb4 5.c3 Nc6 6.d4 d5 7.exd5 Qxd5 8.Na3 Bf5 9.Nb5 Rc8 10.Nxa7 Nxa7 11.Rxa7 Nf6 12.Nf3 g6 13.c4 Qe4+ 14.Be2 Bg7 15.O-O O-O 16.Ne5 Rfd8 17.Be3 Nd7 18.Bf3 Qh4 19.g3 Qf6 20.Bxb7 Rc7 21.Ra6 e6 22.Bg2 Nxe5 23.dxe5 Qe7 24.Rd6 Rdc8 25.g4 Bxe5 26.Rd2 Qh4 27.h3 Be4 28.Bxe4 Qxh3 29.f3 Rxc4 30.Qb3 Rxe4 31.fxe4 Rc3 32.Rd8+ Kg7 33.Rxf7+ Kxf7 34.Rd7+ Kf8 35.Qb4+ Kg8 36.Rd8+ Kf7 1-0

The opening followed this game, found on the CBDB:

Frank Korostenski (1599) vs Laszlo Kos Kis (1241)
LSS RC-2009.0 00038 1912 2009 B20

1. e4 c5 2. a3 Nc6 3. b4 cxb4 4. axb4 Nxb4 5. c3 Nc6 6.
d4 d5 7. exd5 Qxd5 8. Na3 Bf5 9. Nb5 Rc8 10. Nxa7 Nxa7 11. Rxa7 Nf6 12. Nf3
Rxc3 13. Qa4+ Kd8 14. Bd2 Rb3 15. Ba5+ b6 16. Bc4 Qe4+ 17. Kf1 Rb1+ 18. Be1 Bc8
19. Ra8 e6 20. Qa6 Rxe1+ 21. Nxe1 Qc6 22. Nd3 Bd6 23. Bb5 Qc7 24. Ke2 Ke7 25.
Qa7 Nd5 26. Rc1 Qxa7 27. Rxa7+ Kf6 28. Ne5 Rf8 29. Bd7 1-0

It is not often one finds a game played by titled players which follows the moves of players in such lower classes. Could this game have been played online with the players using programs? The next game, which varies with 11…g6, was found on 365Chess (http://www.365chess.com/view_game.php?g=300263):

Igor Shchukin – Pavlo Kruglyakov
Event: Stepichev mem 10th
Site: Kiev Date: 12/23/2002
Round: 4 ECO: B20 Sicilian defense

1. e4 c5 2. a3 Nc6 3. b4 cxb4 4. axb4 Nxb4 5. c3 Nc6 6. d4 d5 7. exd5 Qxd5 8. Na3 Bf5 9. Nb5 Rc8 10. Nxa7 Nxa7 11. Rxa7 g6 12. Nf3 Bg7 13. Bd2 Nf6 14. Be2 Ne4 15. c4 Qc6 16. O-O O-O 17. Bb4 Qb6 18. Qa4 Bxd4 19. Nxd4 Qxd4 20. Rxb7 Ra8 21. Qd1 Qb2 22. Rb5 Ra2 23. Bf3 Nxf2 24. Qe1 Nh3+ 25. Kh1 Nf2+ 26. Rxf2 Qxf2 27. Qxf2 Rxf2 28. Kg1 Rb2 29. h3 Bd3 30. Bd5 Rc8 31. Bxe7 Rxb5 32. cxb5 Bxb5 33. Bf6 Bc6 34. Bb3 Bb7 35. Kf2 Rc6 36. Be5 Rb6 37. Bc4 h5 38. g4 hxg4 39. hxg4 Rb4 40. Be2 f6 41. Bd6 Rd4 42. Bc5 Rf4+ 43. Kg3 g5 44. Bd1 Kg7 45. Be2 Bc8 46. Bd1 Be6 47. Be2 Kg6 48. Bd6 Rd4 49. Bc5 Rd2 50. Bf1 f5 51. gxf5+ Kxf5 52. Be3 Rd6 53. Ba7 Rd1 54. Be2 Rd2 55. Bf1 g4 56. Bc5 Bd5 57. Be3 Ra2 58. Bc5 Be4 59. Bd6 Rb2 60. Ba6 Rb3+ 61. Kf2 g3+ 62. Ke2 Rb2+ 63. Ke3 g2 64. Bc8+ Kf6 65. Bh2 Rb1 66. Kxe4 Rh1 67. Be5+ Kf7 68. Bd4 Rh4+ 69. Kf3 Rxd4 70. Kxg2 Rd3 1/2-1/2

Congratulations to ALL the Winners!

I would like to extend my congratulations to the three men who tied for first in the US Chess Championship, and to the three women who tied for first in the chess championship for the weaker sex. As far as I am concerned they can all justifiably claim to be Co-Champions. The souped-up heebe-jeeb games used to “settle” the tie meant absolutely nothing. The fast games allowing no time to think were silly and shameful. There is a picture on Chessbase (http://en.chessbase.com/) of the “champions” Gata Kamsky and Irina Krush standing back to back, both with a supercilious grin on their face, looking as if they are about to break into a rendition of the song “We Are The Champions” by Queen.
“We are the champions, my friends,
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions…”
In one of the biggest upsets in the history of the US Chess Championships, IM Stuart Rachels, from the Great State of Alabama, tied for first in the 1989 US Championship. Check out his Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Rachels) and you will find: United States Chess Champion
1989 (with Roman Dzindzichashvili and Yasser Seirawan)
What a pity it would be if insanity prevailed back then and the players were forced to play speed chess to decide the “winner.”
I would like to congratulate the worthy 2014 US Chess Champions GM Varuzhan Akobian and GM Aleksandr Lenderman, and the US Women Champions WGM Tatev Abrahamyan and IM Anna Zatonskih. As far as I am concerned they each have the right to be called a US Champion.
Before you inundate the AW with comments I would like you to consider these quotes:
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”-Marcus Aurelius
“Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.”-Mahatma Gandhi
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”-Arthur Schopenhauer