Chess

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The Independent Culture
AFTER YEARS of ever more desperate rumours, the good ship Batsford finally keeled over into the hands of the receivers in July. It was a sad moment for what had been the flagship of English language chess publishing, since the first edition of The King's Indian Defence in 1969. However the stock, "intellectual rights" and name of B.T. Batsford were bought a few days later by Chrysalis, a multi-million-pound subsidiary of Chrysalis Group (best known for the famous record label) which has promised to raise the hulk, notably by instituting "a full reprint program".

Under the arcane rules that govern insolvency, Batsford's debts, including royalty payments to authors, have not had to be purchased - which is hardly surprising, since one symptom of the imminent shipwreck was the cessation of royalty statements a year ago following "problems with the computer system". At least work is now afoot to work out how much we probably won't be receiving.

Despite its problems, Batsford recently brought out an excellent new book - Endgame Secrets, by Christopher Lutz, price pounds 15.99. I first met Lutz in Munich 1992 and we met again at the tournament in Katrineholm this May; he greatly impressed me by solving all 50 levels of the excellent computer maze game Sokoban (it involves thought rather than speed) in less than a week.

Lutz, who has for a long time held down top board for the fearsome Bundesliga team Porz from Cologne, is a strong, sensible player, whom I would characterise as a "problem-solver", a facet he has brought to bear in Endgame Secrets. He has concentrated on the under-explored area of rook and a single minor piece each, in endgames 20-39. Here is a snippet from a win by the great Bobby Fischer - Lutz's endgame No 29 (see diagram).

After 35 f4 (in fact Lutz, unusually for him, numbers from the diagram 1 f4):

a) Fischer totally squashed Bolbochan after 35...g6 36 Rf6 Be8 37 Be6 Bc6 38 g3 Rg7 39

Bobby Fischer (White to move) vs J Bolbochan

Mar del Plata 1959

Ke5 Be8 40 Bd5 h5 41 Rb6 Kc8 42 Be6+ Kc7 43 Kf6 Rh7 44 Bd5 Kc8 45 Re6 Kd8 46 Rd6+ Kc7 47 Rb6 Kc8 48 Bg8 Rc7 49 Be6+ Kb8 50 Rd6 1-0

b) But 35 ...Re1! was much better. Lutz then gives 36 Rf7 Rd1+ 37 Kc5 Rc1+ 38 Bc4 Kd8 (not 38 ...Kc8? 39 Kd6 Rxc4 40 Rf8+ and mate next move) 39 Kd5 (and not 39 Kd6? Be8 40 Rxb7 Rxc4 when Black wins) 39 ...Rxc4 40 Rxd7+ Kxd7 41 Kxc4 Kc6 when Black can hold the pawn ending, eg: 42 h5 b6 43 axb6 Kxb6 44 Kc3 Kc6 45 Kb3 Kb5 46 g3 Kc6 47 Ka4 Kb6, etc.

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