A A Troitzky - In Memoriam

Alexey Alexeyevich Troitzky (March 14, 1866 – August 14, 1942) is one of the main founders of modern study composition, defining its principles in 1910. He is the first one to solve the “2 Knights versus pawn” endgame back in 1906, inventing the Troitzky winning line in the process. Later on in 1924 he published his classic book “500 endgame studies”; some historians says he composed more than 1,000 studies. He was blessed with an extraordinary chess mind, composing unbelievable game like positions for anyone’s enjoyment. Unfortunately, he died of starvation in WWII during the siege of Leningrad in 1942; in the same time, all his papers and notebooks were destroyed. We are truly lucky his published books survived and could be enjoyed by latter generations.

It is hard to choose a favorite from the studies he published. His positions and solutions are so deep and rich in content, they really "Wow" you time and time again. One of them for my liking is this present one; white sacrifices its Rook 6 times in a row until black cannot refuse it anymore. Any capture leads to a decisive fork and in the end black has no choice. Hope you will enjoy it!

[Event "Deutsche Schachzeitung"][Date "1910"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "8/1qp1k3/p4p2/3PN3/3RP3/8/PP3Pn1/6K1 w - - 0 1"]1. Rb4 Qc8 (1... Qxb4 2. Nc6+) 2. Rb8 Qh3 (2... Qxb8 3. Nc6+) 3. Rh8 Nh4 (3... Qxh8 4. Ng6+ Ke8 5. Nxh8 Nf4 {this is probably the most challenging line found by the engines today}) 4. Rxh4 Qc8 (4... Qxh4 5. Ng6+) 5. Rh8 Qb7 (5... Qxh8 6. Ng6+ Kf7 7. Nxh8+ Kg7 {the King and pawns endgame is won by white}) 6. Rb8 ({Another nice finish also found by the engines today} 6. Nc6+ Kd6 7. b4 {threatens Rh8-d8# so black must sacrifice its Queen}) 6... Qxb8 7. Nc6+

Snatching a victory

White has a very direct Rh7-h8# threat and black's most obvious defences are not satisfactory:
a) 1... Ke8 2. dxc4 ...
b) 1... Re2+ 2. Kxe2 Qe7+ 3. Qxe7+ Kxe7 4. dxc4 ...
Desperate times require desperate measures and black figures out a spectacular way to snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat. Hope you will enjoy replaying the winning combination!

[Event "Baku Open 2016"][Date "2016.09.26"][White "Mamedjarova, Turkan"][Black "Karayev, Kanan"][Result "0-1"][SetUp "1"][FEN "r4k2/ppq2p1R/5Q2/7p/2bp1p2/3P4/PPP2KPP/4r3 b - - 0 1"]1...Rf1+!! {Forces the white King onto a white square; Rh7 is on a white square!} 2.Kxf1 Bxd3+ 3.cxd3 Qc1+ 4.Kf2 Qd2+ 5.Kf1 Qxd3+ 6.Kf2 Qxh7 {the dust has settled and now black is crushing white}

Queens' mesmerizing windmill

We all know the Queen is a powerful piece. It is also very fascinating in what it can do in the most unexpected situations. Here 2 Queens get to work together and defeat 6 Rooks using a mesmerizing windmill. Why is this working with all these powerful pieces involved? The answer is so close to real life, it leaves you wondering: the weakest and most ignored participant - a pawn - proves to be the weakest link. "Good bye (black)!" as they used to say in that popular TV game... Enjoy the combination!

[Event "Puzzle"][Date "2016.08.02"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "8/7Q/2r1p3/2rkr3/2rrr2Q/7K/8/8 w - - 0 1"] 1.Qd8+ Rd6 2.Qb7+ Rc6 3.Qa5+ Rc5 4.Qb3+ Rc4 5.Qd2+ Rd4 6.Qf3+ Re4 7.Qg5+ e5 {The weakest link starts its short march to meet its destiny} 8.Qf7+ Re6 9.Qd8+ Rd6 10.Qb7+ Rc6 11.Qa5+ Rc5 12.Qb3+ Rc4 13.Qd2+ Rd4 14.Qf3+ e4 {One last step to defend its King and country} 15.Qg5+ Re5 16.Qf7+ Re6 17.Qd8+ Rd6 18.Qb7+ Rc6 19.Qa5+ Rc5 20.Qb3+ Rc4 21.Qd2# {Poor powerless pawn begging forgiveness for watching the end come by him!...} 1-0

How good were you as a 6 years old?

Not sure about you dear reader, but at 6 years old I was just an amateur beginner. My mom would beat me at chess senseless with a few opening traps she knew and to this day she is the one opponent I have the most lopsided losing score against; of course that is a result of her retiring the minute I took it more seriously and learned all her tricks. Here I would like to show you what is needed today to stand a chance at succeeding in junior chess. The position comes from a Golden Knights B28 club game between 6 years old Ethan and 13 years old Coco; the game was postponed for a while and when played it ended that tournament. Enjoy the combination!

[Event "Golden Knights B28 tournament"][Site "Burnaby, BC"][Date "2016.06.23"][Round "8"][White "Song, Ethan"][Black "Ruan, Coco"][Result "1-0"][SetUp "1"][FEN "rn2k1r1/p4p2/1p1p1Bpp/4p3/2P1N3/6P1/PP2PP1P/R4RK1 b q - 0 1"]{White has winning material advantage and black walks right into what follows; still that does not diminish one bit the mating trap white sets up} 1...Kd7 {the d6-pawn is doomed anyway; better is Na6 to free up Ra8} 2.Rad1 Ke6 {that is one brave King taking alone on all white pieces} 3.Rxd6+ Kf5 4.f3! {fascinating mating idea for a 6 years old} Na6 {too late} 5.e3 ({Option 1:} 5.Bg5 hxg5 Rf6#)({Option 2:} 5.g4+ Kf4 6.Kf2 {and e2-e3# at the next move}) 5. g5 6.Bxg5! {Ethan saw it anyway} hxg5 7.Rf6# 1-0