Chess

Here's a position that, quite apart from several twists in its plot, may teach you a little about rook and pawn end-games. It was composed by the brothers Vassily and Mikhail Platov in 1914 and is White to play and win.

, , , ,

, , , ,

,F, , ,

, ,H, ,

a, n ,g,

, , , ,

,H, , ,

, ,A, ,

We can start by pushing on merrily with 1.d6 and then think about how Black will stop the pawn. The natural 1...Rg7 comes unstuck against 2.Ne7! Rh7 3.d7 Rh8 4.Nc6 when the pawn costs Black his rook. Checking on g1 in this line will only force the white king up the board to support the pawn, so Black must find something more imaginative.

If Black can swap d-pawn for c-pawn, he will draw easily, so 1...d3 looks worth a thought. 2.d7 dxc2+ 3.Kxc2 Rg8 is then a draw, but what about 2.cxd3? You need a little inspiration to find the correct idea for Black, and a good deal more to find White's lethal counter. The defence involves a stalemate trap: 2...Rg6! 3.d7 Rd6 4.d8=Q Rxd3+!! when 5.Qxd3 is a draw. So how does White win?

The answer is by promoting to a rook: 4.d8=R! avoiding the stalemate but the solution is far from over. After 4...Rxc6, White wins by a remarkable finesse. Play continues 5.Rb8! (cutting off the black king) 5...Rd6 6.Kd2 Rd7 7.Kc3 Rc7+ 8.Kd4 Rd7+. It looks as though White can make no progress with his king tied to the defence of the d-pawn, but there is a surprise coming: 9.Kc5!! Rxd3 (9...Rc7+ 10.Kd6 Rc3 11.d4 leads to a technical win) 10.Kc4! and the threat of Ra8 mate costs Black his rook.

Latest international results:

Amsterdam: Kasparov beat Topalov to take the lead with 21/2 out of 3, ahead of Lautier 2; Topalov 11/2 and Piket 0.

Madrid: Viktor Korchnoi leads a strong field with 3 points from four games. Epishin, Salov and Illescas are half a point behind. Nigel Short, after defeats by Judit Polgar and Korchnoi, has 1 point.

William Hartston

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones