Some explanation about chess, endgames and endgamestudies.
Understanding endgamestudies, you need to know some basics of the chessgame, but also some general understanding of endgames.
I.e. many endgamestudies stop where many novices will ask, but why?
You need to know that certain endgames are easily won and others can't be won at all.
Em. Lasker 1890
White plays and wins.
Here some rules to remember or try to find this out in general chessbooks about endgames:
1. White single King against Black single King nobody can win. We note this down as - =.
2. + - = A bishop alone can't give checkmate.
3. + - = A knight alone can't give checkmate.
4. ++ - = Two Knights in general can't force to mate.
5. ++ - + A Knight+Bishop can force mate, although this is not easy.
6. ++ - + A King + Two bishops (of different colours) can mate.
7. + - + An extra Rook can easily win.
8. + - + An extra Queen is the easiest win.
9. + - there is often a win, but there are also drawish lines.
If the black king can get before the pawn it becomes more difficult. The pawn has to promote once to queen or rook. You have to learn the rules of opposition.
Black king before a h-pawn or a-pawn is always a draw.
10. +h-+ - = WhitecoloredBishop against Black King before the h-pawn is a draw
or +a-+ - = BlackColoredBishop against Black King before the a-pawn is always a draw!
Even if white has more doubled pawns on the same line.
11. + - + is a win
12. ++ - + is a win (although a hard one). Bishops of different colours.
Marcel Van Herck 1985
White plays and makes a draw.
A nice example, where black with his last move has to protect his 3 Knights
because with two he can't win, but then a beautiful Stalemate position arises!
13. ++ - +1
If the pawn is not too far moved white can win. There is a Troitzky-line see EBUR/1999/2/Page 8.
14. +++ - + normaly wins for the 3 knights.
There are more of these rules and typical positions. There are chess endgame books where all kind of positions are analysed.
Let us know if you do not understand the end-position (or subvariation) of a study.
Ken Thompson has figured out with a computerprogram and filled a database with all positions with 5 pieces or less where all forced variations to win or draw are in. So this is how we can check if a certain final position (with this number of pieces) wil end.
They are delivered with the TascBase-chessprogram.
These Tablebases are now available for 6-men positions and also 7-men positions are, see: Endgame Tablebases
Dr. Harold van der Heijden is collecting endgamestudies in a database for more than 25 years.
It is often used to check if a new study is unique or is looking alike to another (anticipation).
This database is unique, for sale and it is often used for Endgamestudy-Competitions. He has now a collection of more than 85.000 studies.
White makes a draw
by perpetual check
(or black has to give up it's Queen).
So what is an Endgamestudy?
An endgame study, or just study, is a composed chess endgame position—that is, one that has been made up rather than one from an actual game—presented as a sort of puzzle, in which the aim of the solver is to find a way for one side (usually White) to win or draw, as stipulated, against any moves the other side plays.
To the extent that they are composed positions and offer the solver a specific task, endgame studies are similar to chess problems in which the stipulation is to "checkmate black in two moves against any defense," for example. However, while problems often present very artificial looking positions, studies often appear that they could occur in a game.
As with problems, for a study to be regarded as a good one, it must have only one solution. Some argue that White must have only one move at each juncture to achieve his aim, though some feel that minor alternatives (such as a choice of moving a knight b1–c3–b5 or b1–a3–b5) are permissible.
Various methods of classifying studies have been attempted; a commonly used indexing system is the GBR code.
Composed studies predate the modern form of chess. Shatranj studies exist in manuscripts from the 9th century, and the earliest treatises on modern chess by the likes of Luis Ramirez Lucena and Pedro Damiano (late 15th and early 16th century) also include studies. However, these studies often include superfluous pieces, added to make the position look more "game-like", but which take no part in the actual solution (something that is never done in the modern study). Various names were given to these positions (Damiano, for example, called them "subtleties"); the first book which called them "studies" appears to be Chess Studies, an 1851 publication by Josef Kling and Bernhard Horwitz, which is sometimes also regarded as the starting point for the modern endgame study. The form is considered to have been raised to an art in the late 19th century, with A. A. Troitzky and Henri Rinck particularly important in this respect.
Most composers, including Troitzky, Rinck, and other famous figures such as Genrikh Kasparyan, are known primarily for their studies, being little known as players. However, some famous players have also composed endgame studies, with Emanuel Lasker, Richard Réti, Vasily Smyslov, and Jan Timman being perhaps the most notable ones.