Chess Puzzle of the Week (252): Solution

On Monday I presented you with this endgame study by Oleg Pervakov, composed in 2021 and dedicated to the 7th World Champion Vasily Smyslov on the centenary of his birth.

White can draw this position as follows (note that 1. Nd7?! fails to 1… b6!):

  1. Nd5! f1Q
  2. Nb6+!! axb6
  3. Bd6! Qe2 (or wherever)
  4. Be5!

… giving this position…

… which is a fortress draw. As long as the white bishop remains on e5 and the king continues to defend g2 there’s no way Black can make progress.

If you assessed this position correctly you’re smarter than Stockfish, which, while correctly finding the best line, insists that Black’s still winning.

Even the best engines, it transpires, are currently not very good at identifying fortress positions such as this where Black can move the queen round the board and the king up and down the a-file without repeating the position.

Next time you reach a position like this you’ll know what to do! This position was again taken from Zlotnik’s Treasure Trove (New in Chess 2023): my review will be appearing on British Chess News very shortly.