Chess

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The Independent Culture
TODAY, FOR a change, a highly aesthetic and short though far from trivial study - though unfortunately it seems to be cooked, so the task is not "White to play and win" but "White to play and win quickly and beautifully". Indeed to avoid false, if ultimately successful trails, I'll tell you that in the main line White delivers mate with his fifth move!

Gia Nadarashvili 1938

Although the main point of an event such as the recent European Team Championship is, of course, the chess, there are logistical problems to be overcome before that can take place at all.

We flew to Budapest and from there by charter with a number of other teams to a military airport just outside Batumi - though others, including the Scots, went to the capital Tbilisi and then had to cope with a gruelling bus journey along mountainous roads that were beset by - if not bandits - certainly people who were more than happy to take some smallish sum in dollars to provide protection in such dangerous parts.

Once arrived there was a short daily journey to the venue from our hotel - short but not entirely harmless, being along a narrow, vertiginous road through the hills rising just above the Black Sea. Instead, there was a much easier alternative, which we discovered after a couple of days: a train almost all the way.

But we still had to take the coach back in the evening, and for several days this was driven by a gentleman who was far from short of testosterone - though, to be fair, the accident he did incur was minor, and not his fault . . .

Today's study is from Mate in Studies by Gia Nadareishvili and Yuri Anobia, a book (in Russian) which our Captain David Anderton purchased during the event from the Georgian grandmaster Ketevan Arakhamia - she is now married to the Scottish player Jonathan Grant and living in Edinburgh. David later very kindly passed it on to me. I tried it on the train one day in a rather desultory way and failed to spot the win: though Stewart Conquest did find it the next, albeit with a little help.

The solution goes: 1 Bc7 Bg5 2 Ka6 Rb8 3 Bd8!! Bxd8 (if 3 ...Rb1 4 Bxg5 must win; or 3 ...Rxd8 4 c7 Rb8 5 Nb6+ Rxb6+ 6 Kxb6) 4 c7 - a position of zugzwang, for White to play could only draw - Bxc7 (or 4 ...Bg5 5 Nb6+ Rxb6+ 6 Kxb6) 5 Nxc7 mate.

Unfortunately, 3 Bxd6 also wins (possibly 3 Ba5 too) Rb1 4 c7! Ra1+ 5 Kb6 Be3+ (if 5 ...Rc1 6 Bc5 Rxc5 7 Kxc5 Kb7 8 Kd6 etc; or 5 ...Rb1+ 6 Bb4! Be3+ 7 Kc6 Rc1+ 8 Bc3) 6 Nxe3 Ra6+ 7 Kb5 Rb6+ 8 Kc5 Kb7 9 c8Q+ Kxc8 10 Kxb6 etc.

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