“You always admire what you really don’t understand”
has been mentioned often in my blog. I am in full agreement with Sam Sloan when he writes in the introduction of his book “Collection of Chess Studies” the following:
“… Trotzky is considered to have been the greatest composer of chess endgame studies ever.”
Sloan’s 2006 edition of the book includes an incredible supplement section on the theory of the endgame of two knights against pawns. Years ago I managed to win such an endgame in correspondence chess versus a Russian player no less, so ever since I have a soft spot for them.
Here is an interesting endgame where a knight and bishop overpower a queen. It is White to move and win:
It is quite a nice one. The instruction given with it is “Black’s king being in the corner dictates the plan of action“. Give it a try to see if you can solve it and then continue reading.
It is more or less obvious the king and knight will trap the Black king, while the bishop will need to outsmart the queen. The reason for that is the Black king must be trapped on a dark square. Once you observe that, it is a nice challenge to put together the right moves to get there. The comments are from the book:
Now you have a nice example of how a knight and bishop overpower a queen. It is possible you might not get a chance to play such an endgame. However the motif of forcing the queen to a bad square from where it could be captured, should be a lot more common. Consider this as a nice practice opportunity to sharpen your tactical eye.
Here is another one using the same idea, courtesy of Olimpiu Urcan. White to move and win:
To be continued…