chess excellent end-game

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We haven't had a decent end-game study in this space for some time, but this one should make up for the omission. Composed by Kasparyan in 1972, it is White to play and draw, and the solution begins with some almost unbelievable moves.

With only two bishops for a queen, and his pieces split up and vulnerable to attack, White needs something dramatic. 1.fxe7 Nxe7 (or even better 1...Qd4+) achieves nothing. 1.Nf4+ looks promising, since Kg5 or Kh6 allow 2.Nf7+, but after 1...Kg4, White has nothing.

The solution begins 1.Bg6+! Kxg6 (1...Kg4 2.Bf5+ Kf3 3.Be4+ only goes round in circles) 2.Nf4+! Kxf6.

White has given up a bishop and his pawn. His knight on d6 is still under attack. The next move clearly has to be 3.Bh4+ when Ke5 allows a fork on g6, and 3...Kg7 4.Ne6+ Kg6 5.Nf4+ lets White force a draw. So is that the answer? Unfortunately not. After 3.Bh4+ Ng5! 4.Bxg5+ Kg7! 5.Ne6+ Kg6 6.Nf8+ Kh5! Black wins.

Let's return to move three, when instead of the obviously correct Bh4+, White plays 3.Ke3!! The threat is 4.Bc3+ e5 5.Bxe5+ Kxe5 6.Nf7+. If Black tries 3...Kg7, then 4.Ne6+! Kg6 5.Nf4+ Kg7 6.Ne6+ Kf6 7.Nf4! returns to the same position. If Black then tries 7...e5, White plays 8.Bc3!, with the threat of Bxe5+, followed by a knight fork on f7 or g6. Black has nothing better than 8...Kg7 (hoping for time to put a knight on f6) when 9.Nf5+! Kf7 10.Nd6+! Kg7 11.Nf5+ leads to a draw.

Kasparyan must have started with the position after 3.Ke3!! with black king and queen unable to flee the long diagonal, then added the brilliant

in-play. A fine composition.

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