Vancura Position

Vancura Position

Jul 4, 2017, 10:45 PM |

Vancura Positon

Josef Vancura, a Czech composer, his study was published in 1924 after three years after his death. Diagram shows the position.


In this position Black depend upon his Rook to defend the game as black’s king is out far from the passer.

If white plays

  1. a7 Ra6
  2. Kb5 Ra1
  3. Kb6 Rb1+
  4. Kc7 Rc1+
  5. Kd7 Ra1

Now white had no hope of winning.

So better move for white is

  1. Kb5 Rf5+ (Here white’s King must not be allowed to protect his passer and release the a8-Rook.)
  2. Kc6 Rf6+
  3. Kd5 Rf5+
  4. Ke6 Rf6+
  5. Ke5 Rb6 (Black has run out of checks)
  6. Kd5 Rf6
  7. Ra7+ Kg6
  8. Ra8 Kg7 (White can't make progress because of repetitive checks)

Result is a draw.

Video Link of Above Position


The above position is the study of the great German player Siegbert Tarrasch (1862-1934). He initially believed that the position was a win for White but later he changed his views. He initially consider that

  1. White intends to bring his King to the a7-square, release the captive a8-Rook, and win the game by promoting his pawn.
  2. Black's King is unable to enter the play because of a skewer threat.

Initially Tarrasch tried the path

  1. Kf2 Kf7
  2. Kf3 Kf7
  3. a7 White is threatening to play either
  4. Rh5 or 4.Re5+, to win. If the play continues with 3 ... Kd7 4.Rh5, white sets up a wining skewer.

Trasssch also envisioned another passive defense, with White making a lengthy route with his King to the a7-square.

  1. Kf2 Kh7
  2. Ke2 Kg7
  3. Kd3 Ra4
  4. Kc3 Kf7
  5. Kb3 Ra1
  6. Kb4 Rb1+
  7. Kc5 Rc1+
  8. Kb6 Rb1+
  9. Ka7 Ke7
  10. Rb8 Rc1
  11. Kb7 Rb1+
  12. Ka8 Ra1
  13. a7 Kd7
  14. Kb7 Rb1 +
  15. Ka6 Ra1+
  16. Kb6 Rb1+
  17. Kc5, for a win.

However, when Vancura's drawing method published. Tarrasch changed his assessment. Now Black should play as follows:

  1. Kf2 Ra5
  2. Ke3 Re5+
  3. Kd4 Re6
  4. Kd5 Rf6 and Vancura's position is achieved and it’s a draw.

Tarrasch's study video link