There's a lot more you can do with chess as well as play.
In this lesson we're going to introduce you to the wonderful world of CHESS PROBLEMS AND STUDIES.
These are artificial, composed positions for you to solve, rather than positions from actual games.
There are two types of chess composition: PROBLEMS and STUDIES.
Problems are usually very artificial positions where you have to force CHECKMATE in a certain number of moves.
There are also problems where both players work together to arrange CHECKMATE (HELPMATES) and where White forces Black to mate him (SELFMATES).
Some of these problems even use different pieces and rules to those in normal chess - these are called FAIRIES!
But in this lesson we're going to look at STUDIES.
These are positions, usually endings, where the stipulation is that White has to either WIN or DRAW.
What you have to do is work out the best moves for BOTH sides.
Very often something unexpected will happen during the solution.
Here's the first one. It's White to play and draw. This was composed by Richard Réti (the man who gave his name to 1. Ng1-f3) in 1921.
It looks impossible for White to stop the Black Pawn, whereas Black can easily stop White's pawn.
But there is just one way for White to draw.
Can you work it out?
White's King has to work really hard to do two jobs at once. Which way should he go?
The White King moves down the diagonal to g7, and Black pushes his pawn to h4? Now what?
This time Black THREATENS the White Pawn. Where next?
If Black captures the White Pawn the White King will easily stop the Black Pawn, so Black pushes the pawn again. Your move.
White can't stop the Black Pawn, but he can move in to support his own pawn instead.
Now it's clear that both sides are going to queen their pawns.
The result of the game will be a draw, so the solution stops here.
This study won first prize in a competition in 1909. It was composed by the brothers Vasily and Mikhail Platov.
The good news for White is that he's a Bishop and a Knight ahead.
The bad news is that he's not going to be able to stop the black a-pawn from queening.
The first move isn't too hard to find - White must try to stop that pawn.
Yes, the Bishop moves to f6 and Black plays d5-d4 to block it off. How about getting your Knight into action?
The correct move is Ng1-e2 (going to f3 only draws, as you'll see). Now if Black takes the Knight Bf6xd4 will eventually win for White (play it out if you don't believe me) so Black must promote.
Now the obvious move is Bf6xd4+ which wins the Queen but Black will capture the White Bishop and Knight and his King will get back in time to draw.
Again, if you don't believe me play it out for yourself.
So what should White do instead? It's not so easy.
The surprising answer is Ne2-c1!!
The first point it that there's a THREAT of Bf6-g5#
Secondly, if Qa1xc1, Bf6-g5+ SKEWERS the Black King and Queen.
White will eventually win - but ONLY because he has the right color Bishop for his Rook's Pawn (remember?)
So Black stops the mate by playing Qa1-a5.
Can you see what White should play in this position?
The move we wanted you to find is Bf6xd4+. Black only has two moves - to d4 or d2. Let's say he takes the Bishop. And now?
Suddenly everything becomes clear. A simple KNIGHT FORK leaves White with a winning ending.
So in just five moves we've seen FORKS, a SKEWER and a MATE THREAT.
But you also need some basic endgame knowledge to assess the positions that arise after the TACTICS.
This looks a bit like the last one - we start with the same pieces on the board, and again White seems to have a problem with the Black a-pawn.
But the answer's very different.
This was composed in 1922 by the great Leonid Kubbel.
Well, you've got to make it as hard as possible for Black to queen his pawn. How should you start, do you think?
Yes, we play Nb8-c6, so that if Black pushes his pawn White has a KNIGHT FORK. So Black might as well take the Knight. What happens next?
Bh4-f6 is the move, still trying to stop the a-pawn. Now if a3-a2 White has a SKEWER so Black moves his King back to d5. Now it's impossible to stop the pawn so how else could White try to win?
A big surprise - White plays d2-d3, which seems to have no point at all. Black has no other useful moves so plays a3-a2. Have you seen what's coming yet?
White's next move is c2-c4+. Now if Black captures en passant the Bishop takes on c3, which is winning for White. Black has to keep defending the d-pawn so moves his King to c5. Your move again!
White plays Ka6-b7 - another mysterious move. If Black moves his King White will stop the pawn easily so instead he promotes. By now you should see what's happening.
White's final move is Bf6-e7 which, amazingly, is CHECKMATE!
It was probably much too hard for you to see that from the starting position.
Try going through it again move by move and it will start to make sense.
Now for a bit of light relief - perhaps!
This one looks as if it could go either way.
If White can queen his pawn he'll win (Queen against Rook is a win, remember).
If Black can exchange his Rook for the pawn it's a draw, and if he can win the pawn he'll win.
Who's your money on?
White's trying to queeen his pawn so his first move is pretty obvious, isn't it?
White advances his pawn, THREATENING to promote it to a queen. Black has to play a check. Which way is your King going?
Firstly, observe that moving the King to c5 is no good - Black moves his Rook to d1, preparing a SKEWER if White promotes his pawn.
So if White's trying to win he has to move his King to b5.
Now we play a few more checks:
3. Kb5-b4 Rd5-d4+
4. Kb4-b3 Rd4-d3+
Now we've reached this position. Again you have to decide where your King's going.
Now White can move to the c-file. Black can no longer play for a SKEWER he can't stop White getting a Queen.
But he finds a very clever defense: Rd3-d4. If you're promoting your pawn next move click on the piece of your choice after your move.
The obvious thing for White to do is to promote to a Queen.
You've learned that King and Queen is a (difficult) win against King and Rook.
But not in this position it isn't!
Black can play Rd4-c4+ FORKING the White King and Queen. White has no choice but to take and suddenly it's STALEMATE!
So White promotes to a Rook instead.
But surely King and Rook against King and Rook is just a draw? Well for a start White's threatening mate and the only sensible way for Black to stop it is Rd4-a4. White to play.
In this position King and Rook against King and Rook ISN'T a draw!
White can win by moving his King from c2 to b3.
Now he's THREATENING Rc8-c1# as well as the Rook.
There's no way Black can save his Rook and his King at the same time.
An amazing position!! I hope you enjoyoed solving it.
There's an interesting story behind it as well.
Briefly, the position was based on a game and was set up by a chap called Barbier, a Frenchman living in Scotland in 1895.
He thought the position was a draw because of Black's clever Rd3-d4 move. But a Spanish priest called Saavedra was watching and (although he wasn't a strong player) noticed that White could win by promoting to a Rook instead.
And so one of the most famous positions in chess was born.
Most chess players are unaware that such things as problems and studies even exist.
But there is a world of amazement, excitement and beauty out there waiting for you to discover it.
Competitions are held to find the people who make up the best problems and studies, and to find the people who are best at solving them.
As you've seen it's not something for beginners.
The examples you've just seen are amongst the EASIER endgame studies.
But as your chess skill improves you may well find you'd like to investigate this field further.
You have now completed the ENDGAME STUDIES assignment.