Golembek’s Encyclopedia of Chess defines an Endgame Study as “a composed position where the play shows a forced win or draw in a unique manner.” Golembek writes, “at its highest level the study is an art form where strict canons of originality, variety, harmony and beauty may apply.” The Oxford Companion to Chess by Hooper and Whyld suggests that “study composition reached a high level during the great days of Islamic chess in the 9th and 10th centuries” and “lay almost neglected until the 19th century.”
Studies differ from chess problems in that they are more closely related to positions that could arise over-the-board and the solution does not require a pre-determined number of moves. Compared to positions that could arise in actual play, the study is usually more subtle and every unit should be essential to the solution. As Beasley and Whitworth write in Endgame Magic, “a study has the cultivated intensity of a short story.” The World Chess Federation, FIDE, now recognizes skill in study composing by awarding GM, IM, and FM titles for study composition.
The aim in each position is to achieve a win or a draw, and, unless it is otherwise noted, it is always White to move. ChessCafe.com is pleased to present a weekly endgame study for your enjoyment. All endgame studies are available for download in the ChessCafe.com Archives.
Endgame Study #917
Shakhmaty v SSSR
White to Play and Draw
Many of the featured endgame studies can be found in the fourth edition of Harold van der Heijden’s endgame study database. With 76,132 entries, it is the most comprehensive collection of endgame studies available.
If you are interested in endgame studies, look into the endgame study magazine EG. The complete PDF archives of EG Volumes 1-152 are available online, as is the complete run of British Endgame Study News.
1.e7 [1.gxf6? Ra5+] 1…Kxe7 2.Nc6+ Kf8 [2…Kd6 3.Nxd4 Ra5+ 4.Kxf6 Nd5+ 5.Kg7] 3.Nxd4 Ra5+ 4.Kxf6 Nd5+ 5.Ke5 Ne7+ 6.Kf6 Ng8+ 7.Ke6 Ra6+ 8.Kd7! Rxg6 9.Ne6+ Kf7 10.Nd8+ Kg7 11.Ne6+ Kh8 12.Kd6! Kh7 13.Kd7 ½-½