It was in 1989 that Gerald Braunberger’s book Phantasie im Endspiel was published. Subtitled Paul Heuäckers Schachstudien, it provided a brief biography of that composer and a selection of 100 studies (and a few problems) by him. The book has been on my shelves for a decade or more and is well-thumbed. From a book full of quotable studies, I have chosen to present the one that follows.
New Statesman, 1953
White to play and win
On a purely material basis, the situation is hopeless for White, but he can win thanks to some mating threats and some quiet moves. With both his rooks attacked, the starting check is not difficult to see. 1.Rc6+ Kd1 The only move to consider, the alternative leading to swift mate – 1...Kb2? 2.Rb5+ Ka3 3.Ra6# 2.Rf6! The white rooks are again both en prise, but this time there is a mate threat ensuring that neither can be captured. 2...Qe7 The only way of avoiding a quick mate, as king moves succumb like this – 2...Kc1 3.Rc5+ Kb2 4.Rb5+ Kc1 5.Rc6+ Kd1 6.Rb1#; 2...Ke1 3.Re5+ Kd1 4.Rf1# 3.Rg1+ Qe1 4.Ra6 Rc7 The only way to save both the king and the queen (for the moment at least). 5.Ra1+ Rc1 6.Rxc1+ White must be careful as taking the queen leads only to a draw – 6.Rxe1+? Kxe1 7.Rxc1+ Kf2 = 6...Kxc1 7.Rxe1+ Kb2 8.Re7! Traps the black knight. 8...h3 What else? 8...Nb6? loses the knight straight away to 9.Rb7, while 8...Kc1 9.Rb7 h3 transposes to the main line. 9.Rb7+ Kc1 10.Rb8! Attacking the knight from the other direction is not good enough – 10.Ra7? Nb6! 11.Rc7+ Kd1 12.Rb7 Ke1 13.Rxb6 Kf2 = 10...Nc7 Allows the final pin, but pushing the pawn also loses - 10...h2 11.Rxa8 h1Q 12.Ra1+ Kb2 13.Rxh1 1-0 11.Rc8 wins.
This study was dedicated to the ‘powerful’ solvers of the New Statesman. It seems that in 1952, two readers of that magazine had ‘cooked’ a study by Heuäcker that had already been published several times and not found wanting. Heuäcker was German and lived from 1899 to 1969.
Our study for solving also involves rooks, this time choreographed by Georgian composer Velimir Kalandadze. Why not have a go at finding out how they dance to his tune?
5th Prize, Peckover JT, 1977
White to play and draw
1.Rb1 Rxg2 2.Rxd7 c2 3.Re7+ 3.Ra1? h1Q 4.Kb2+ c1Q+ 5.Kxc1 Qh6+ 6.Kb1 Qb6+ 7.Kc1 Qb2# 3...Kf1 4.Rf7+ Kg1 5.Rb8 h1Q 6.Rh8 Rh2 6...Qxh8 7.Rf1+ Kh2 (7...Kxf1 =) 8.Rh1+ Kg3 (8...Kxh1 =) 9.Rxh8 = 7.Rg8+ Rg2 8.Rh8 =
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