SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Alexy Troitsky (March 14, 1866 – August 1942) is considered to have been one of the greatest composers of chess endgame studies. He is sometimes regarded as the founder of the modern art of composing chess studies.
• Troitzky, A. (1924), 500 Endspielstudien, Verlag Kagan Berlin
• Troitzky, A. A. (1968), 360 Brilliant and Instructive End Games, Dover Publications (reprint), ISBN 0-486-21959-3
• Troitzky, A. (1992), Collection of Studies, Tschaturanga Ed. Olms, ISBN 3283001146. Reprinted in 2006 by Ishi Press, ISBN 0-923891-10-2. The 360 studies above plus a supplement on the theory of the endgame of two knights against pawns.
I consider Troitsky’s chess studies to be some of the most artistic and clever in the realm of studies. And difficult! I recommend to the reader to try for yourself some of his works.
Here is a nice example of Troitsky’s inventions. It was first published in 1916 in the ‘Eskilstuna Kuriren’ magazine. I like the idea behind the solution: even though the position is completely open, the Black Queen can not save herself. Let us take a closer look
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN
We have a horse race. White’s Bishop can not stop both Black pawns. If 1.Bb4? then simply 1…a2. So White must advance his g-pawn and try to make the most of it.
1. g7! e1Q 2. g8Q
White threatens K-move and Qc8 checkmate. Any move of the Black Queen or Bishop is useless: 2… Bxf4 3. Kd7 Kb7 (3… Bb8 4. Qd5#) 4. Qc8# or 2… Qa5 3. Kd7 Kb7 4. Qc8#; finally, 2… Qh4 3. Kc7 etc.
So Black must move his King
You would think that White would have a direct and forced win here starting with 3. Qd5 check, but it is a false path. After 3… Ka6! 4. Qc4 check Ka5! Black escapes the mating net, curiously.
The winning method is much more subtle: 3. Qb3! check 3… Kc6 4. Qb6 check Kd5 5. Qb5!
The whole point! A quiet move on the open board, threatening a discovered check by moving the White Bishop. Black’s Queen is helpless!
For example: if 5… Qh4 check 6. Be7! wins the Queen ; 5… Ke4 6. Qe8check likewise; and if 5… Qd1 6. Qd7 check picks up her majesty once more. Finally, if 5… Qa1 (the corner is as good a place to hide as any) 6. Bd4! check Kxd4 7. Qe5 check etc. It is a rare thing to catch the Queen on a completely open and almost empty board!
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS