Today’s Pet Peeve
Studies that are Not Really Studies
We have all encountered this kind of frustration! The study’s author tells us that White (or Black) wins and then asks us to find the solution, except that the solution ends with a very difficult and complex ending which — we are told is a straightforward technical win — and then the author leaves it at that.
But often we have our doubts that it is nearly as simple as that…and rightfully so.
Henri Rinck, 1926
White to play and Win
But is it so straightforward?
The nice thing about endgame tablebases is that we can verify for ourselves. The excellent tablebase over on Shredder’s home page shows (above) that with perfect play on both sides it takes some 21 moves (!) to deliver mate. THAT IS NOT STRAIGHTFORWARD!
Infact, Queen versus Rook and Pawn endgames are notoriously difficult and require a high degree of accuracy, both for the defender and the attacker. In the case here today, Black will be able to advance his pawn once the White King moves, so it is tricky.
How to Win? One Example:
So as we see, just the technical part of this study is more difficult than the author presumed. And let us not forget that if the tablebase says it takes some 21 perfect moves to mate, then for us humans — who virtually never play perfect technical chess because it is so difficult — it would probably take some 40 moves to win!
That being said, the example I chose here was selected at random from a collection of such frustrating examples. Infact, I very much enjoy Henri Rinck’s studies and I do not want to leave the reader with the idea that Rinck is the only author who underestimates the technical difficulty in some of these studies.