Yorkshire Chess History

 

Contents:

Crosskill’s Over-50-Move Ending

Home

Narrative

Organisations

Events

Games

People

Graves

Buildings

Competitions

Trophies

Made in Yorkshire

Miscellaneous

 

Sheffield Sub-Site

 

The Chess Player’s Magazine Vol. II, 1864, pp.305-311 gave the following position with analysis by Alfred Crosskill.

 

At the time it was believed there might exist positions where wins could be forced, but required more than the 50 moves allowed in the rules.  Arthur Crosskill sought to specify such a position, with supporting analysis.  Though positions with K+R+B versus K+R are drawn in the general case, there are positions where the extra Bishop leads to a win.

 

In this position Black’s King is crucially corralled in a corner of the same colour as White’s bishop.  The article started as follows:

 

THE ROOK AND BISHOP AGAINST ROOK.

---------

 

BLACK.

WHITE.

White having to play first can win the game, but requires 64 moves if Black makes the best defence.

---------

 

TO THE EDITOR OF THE “CHESS PLAYER’S MAGAZINE”

 

The April number of the Chess Player’s Magazine contained a paragraph calling attention to some new rules adopted by the chess club recently established in Hanover with reference to the 50 moves usually allowed for bringing certain end-games to a conclusion.  That the old law fixing that number is not sufficient to meet all cases has long been the opinion of many experienced players, and the foregoing position is a good illustration of its correctness, for although White has undoubtedly a forced won game, he cannot against the correct defence win the adverse Rook in less than 56 moves, and requires then 8 more moves to give checkmate.

It would be impossible within the limits of the Chess Player’s Magazine to give all variations on Black’s moves, or to prove exhaustively that White’s attack is carried on in the best manner possible; but Herr Kling, who is one of the highest living authority on this branch of chess science, is, after carefully examining the analysis, of opinion that White has no quicker way of winning.

 

The article ended with Crosskill’s skeletal summary analysis.  The reader needed a moderate degree of ability to flesh out some of the variations.  The published analysis (here converted to algebraic notation and re-formatted) ran as follows:

 

1

Be3

If 1. Be5 then 1. ... Ra6+
2. Kf7 Kh7 draws.

Rd1

If 1. ... Ra6+ then
2. Kf7 as at move 10 below.

If 1. ... Rd6 [sic; means 1. ... Re8 perhaps] then
2. Bd4 and wins.

If 1. ... Kg8 then
2. Rb8+ Kh7
3. Bd4 and wins.

If anything else then
2. Kg6 and wins.

2

Bc5

Rd3

If 2. ... Rd2 then
3. Rb3 and wins.

If 2. ... Re1 then
3. Bd4 and wins.

If anything else then
3. Kg6 and wins.

3

Be7

Kg8

If 3. ... Rg3 then
4. Bd6 Rg7
5. Rb2 Kg8
6. Be5 and wins.

4

Rb4

Rg3

If 4. ... Rf3+ then
5. Kg6 Rg3+
6. Bg5 Rf3
7. Bf4 and wins.

5

Bd6

Rg2

If 5. ...Rg1 then
6. Rb8+ Kh7
7. Rb7+ Kg8
8. Be5 and wins.

6

Bf4

A position like this, but with White’s Rook at a4 instead of b4 occurs again after White’s 17th move.

If instead White tries 6. Rb8+ then after 6. ... Kh7 7. Rb7+ Black draws by 7. ... Kh6 because White cannot win Black’s Rook by 8. Bf4+ &c, as he would do if the Rook was at g1.

Ra2

7

Rb8+

Kh7

8

Rb7+

Kh8

If 8. ... Kg8 then
9. Rg7+ Kh8
10. Rg1 Kh7
11. Be3 Rc2
12. Bd4 as at move 37.

9

Be3

Ra6+

10

Kf7

Rc6

If 10. ... Rd6 then
10. Bg5 and wins.

If anything else then
11. Rb1 wins.

11

Ra7

Kh7

If 11. ... Rc2 then
12. Bd4+ Kh7
13. Kf6+ and wins.

If 11. ... Rc8 then
12. Bf4 and wins.

If anything else then
12. Bg5 and wins.

12

Rd7

Rc8

If 12. ... Rc2 or Rc3 then
13. Bf4 and wins.

If 12. ... Rc4 then
13. Kf6+ Kg8
14. Rd8+ Kh7
15. Bd4 and wins.

13

Bg5

Rb8

If 13. ... Ra8 then
14. Kf6+ Kg8
15. Kg6 Kf8
16. Rf7+ Ke8
17. Re7+ Kf8
18. Re6 and wins.

14

Rd1

If instead White tries 14. Kf6+ &c., which wins when Black’s Rook is on a8, the game is drawn, because Black can safely play 17. ... Kd8

Rb7+

15

Be7

Rb6

16

Bd6

Rb7+

If 16. ... Kh6
17. Rd5 Rb7+
18. Be7 Ra7
19. Rb5 and wins.

17

Kf6

The pieces are now in the same position as after White’s 6th move, except that White’s Rook is here at d1 instead of d2, which prevents Black from prolonging the game by 17. ... Rb1.

Rb6

He has the choice of playing either 17. ... Rb3, or 17. ... Rb6, which both lead to the same result.

18

Rh1+

Kg8

19

Rg1+

Kh7

20

Rg7+

Kh8

If 20. ... Kh6 then
21. Rd7 and wins easily.

21

Rd7

Rb2

If 21. ... Rb1 then
22. Bc5 Rb3
23. Bd5 and wins.

22

Bc5

Rc2

If 22. ... Rb1

or 22. ... Rb5

or 22. ... Rb8 then
23. Kg6 and wins.

If anything else then
23. Bd4 and wins.

23

Rd5

If 23. Bd4 then
23. ... Rc6+
24. Kf7+ Kh7 and White must play
25. Be3 reaching the same position as after 12. Rd7.

Rc3

 

24

Bd6

Kg8

If 24. ... Kh7 then
25. Rh5+ as at move 26.

If 24. ... Rb3 then
25. Kf7 Rf3+.
26. Kg6 and wins.

25

Rg5+

Kh7

26

Rh5+

If 26. Rg7+ then
26. ... Kh8
27. Rd7 Rc2
28. Be5 Kg8 gives Black the same result given below.

Kg8

27

Be5

Rb3

If 27. ... Ra3 then
28. Kg6 Kf8
29. Bd6+ Kg8
30. Rc5 and soon wins.

If 27. ... Rc6+ then
28. Ke7 Rh6
29. Rh4+ [sic, means 29. Rg5+] and mates in six moves (see Handbook, p.467.)

28

Rg5+

If 28. Bd4 then Black prolongs the game by 28. ... Rb7.

Kh7

If 28. ... Kf8 then
29. Bd6+ Ke8
30. Ke6 and wins.

29

Rg7+

Kh8

If 29. ... Kh6 then
30. Bf4+ and wins.

30

Ra7

Rb6+

31

Kf7+

Kh7

32

Bf4

The position is now similar to that after White’s 12th move, and would be drawn if White had to play first.

Rb4

If 32. ... Rb6

or 32. ... Rb7

or 32. ... Rb8 then
33. Ra6 Rb7+
34. Kf8 and wins.

33

Kf6+

Kg8

34

Ra8+

Kh7

35

Be5

Rb1

If 35. ... Rg4 then
36. Ra1 wins.

36

Ra7+

Kg8

If 36. ... Kh6 then
37. Bf4+ Kh5
38. Kf5 and wins.

37

Bd4

Rf1+

If 37. ... Re1

or 37. ...Rc1 then
38. Ra8+ Kh7
39. Kf5 and wins.

If. 37. ...Rd1 then
38. Ra8+ Kh7
39. Rd8 and wins.

If 37. ... Rb3 then
38. Ke6 with an easily-won game.

If 37. ...Rb5 then
38. Kg6 Kf8
39. Bf6 Ke8
40. Re7+ Kf8
41. Rd7 Rb8
42. Rh7 and wins Rook.

38

Ke6

Rf7

If 38. ... Rf8 then
39. Rg7+ Kh8
40. Rc7+ Kg8
41. Be5 Re8+
42. Kf5 and soon wins Rook.

39

Ra1

Rf8

If 39. ... Rf5 then
40. Be5 and wins.

If 39. ... Rb7

or 39. ... Rc7 then
40. Ra8+ Kh7
41. Kf5 and wins.

40

Rh1

Re8+

41

Kf6

Re2

If 41. ... Rd8 then
42. Be5 with a won position.

42

Rg1+

Kf8

If 42. ... Kh7 then
43. Kf7, as in last note to move 37.

43

Be5

Rf2+

44

Ke6

Ke8

It is now a variety of the celebrated “Philidor” position, a complete analysis of which is given in Mr. Staunton’s Handbook, pp. 449, 450, and 451, so that further notes to the moves below are not necessary.

45

Ra1

Rd2

46

Ra7

Rd1

47

Rg7

Rf1

48

Bg3

Rf3

49

Bd6

Re3+

50

Be5

Rf3

51

Re7+

Kf8

52

Ra7

Kg8

53

Rg7+

Kf8

54

Rg4

Re3

55

Rh4

Rxe5+

56

Kxe5

Kf7

57

Rg4

Ke7

58

Rg7+

Kf8

59

Rd7

Ke8

60

Ke6

Kf8

61

Kf6

Kg8

62

Rd8+

Kh7

63

Ra8

Kh6

64

Rh8 and mates

 

Ken Whyld’s Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess quotes the position as a left-right mirror image of the original, and gives a 57-move main line (with no variations) diverging from the above at White’s 39th move, as follows (inverting files back to match the above):

39. Rg7+ Kh8 40. Rc7+ Kg8 41. Be5 Rf2 42. Rg7+ Kf8 43. Rh7 Ke8 44. Rc7 Rd2 45. Rb7 Rd1 46. Rg7 Rf1 47. Bg3 Rf3 48. Bd6 Re3+
49. Be5 Rf3 50. Re7+ Kf8 51. Rc7 Kg8 52. Rg7+ Kf8 53. Rg4 Ke8 54. Bf4 Kf8 55. Bd6+ Ke8 56. Rg8+ Rf8 57. Rxf8#.

Whyld’s line was probably a computer-generated improvement, though he doesn’t say so.

 

 

Created

30/12/2012

Copyright © 2012, 2013 Stephen John Mann

Last Updated

01/01/2013