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.
Endgame Study #927
Shakhmatna Misl 1978
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.Kxa8! [1.Kxc8? Nxb6+ 2.cxb6 b3 3.Kc7 b2 4.b7 b1Q 5.b8Q Bd6+] 1…Nxb6+ 2.cxb6 b3 3.c5! Bxc5 4.b7 Bd6! 5.g3 b2 6.Bg2 Kd3 7.b8Q Bxb8 8.Bd5 b1Q [8…Kxe3 9.Ba2 Kf3 10.Bb1 Kxg4 11.Bxg6] 9.Be4+ Kxe4 ½-½
A PDF file of Endgame Study #927, along with all previous studies, is available in the ChessCafe.com Archives.
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This study is busted – whilst the given solution 1.Kxa8 is indeed a draw, 1.Kxc8 (which is given as lost in the solution) is actually winning with correct play (namely 3.b7 Bd6 4. c5!). I have checked this with a computer.