My previous column contained a study by Genrikh Kasparyan. This column is about a composing tourney held to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Kasparyan’s birth in 1910. As well as being one of the World’s best and most famous study composers, Kasparyan was also a strong player. He won the championship of Armenia on ten occasions, was three times champion of Tbilisi and competed in the final of the USSR Championship four times. It is encouraging that some of the top players of today know about Kasparyan and that one of them, Vladimir Akopian, acted as judge for this memorial tourney. As a player, I assume that Akopian was pleased to be able to award first prize to our first study, a logical and game-like one by the successful Georgian composer David Gurgenidze.
1st Prize, Kasparyan-100 MT, 2010
White to play and draw
The black pawn on a2 is too threatening, so must be attacked. 1.Ka3 Rg3 Playing passively gets Black nowhere - 1...Rg2 2.Bh7 Nc2+ 3.Kxa2 Ne3+ 4.Kb3 Ke2 5.Kc3 = 2.Kb2! After playing to attack the pawn, you would think that White would now take it, but that's the thematic try of this logical study - 2.Kxa2? Rxd3 3.Kxa1 Rb3 4.Ka2 Rb5 5.Ka3 Kd2 6.Ka4 Rb1 7.Rd4+ Kc3 8.Rxd5 Kc4 0-1 ending in a familiar win of the white rook. Another possibility is 2.Rh1+? but after 2...Kd2 3.Rxa1 Kxd3! 4.Kxa2 Rg8 5.Kb2 Kd2 6.Ra4 Rb8+ 7.Ka1 Kc2 the white king is imprisoned on the edge of the board and Black promotes his pawn - 8.Ra2+ Kc1 9.Ra6 d4 10.Rc6+ Kd2 11.Ka2 d3 12.Rd6 Kc2 13.Rc6+ Kd1 14.Rd6 d2 15.Ka3 Re8 16.Kb3 Ke2 0-1 2...Rxd3 2...Nb3 3.Kxb3 Kd2 4.Kxa2 = 3.Kxa1 Ra3 If Black tries 3...Rb3 White can be grateful he didn't take that pawn on the second move - 4.Rh1+ Kd2 (4...Kf2 5.Rh2+ Kg3 6.Rh5 Rb5 7.Rf5 Ra5 8.Rf8 =) 5.Rh2+ Kc3 6.Rh3+ Kc4 7.Rxb3 Kxb3 = Stalemate! 3...Rd2 also draws, for instance - 4.Rh1+ Kf2 5.Rh3 d4 6.Rh6 d3 7.Rh2+ Ke3 8.Re2+ Rxe2 = 4.Rh1+ Kf2 5.Rh2+ Kg3 6.Rh5 d4 7.Rd5! White has to be careful. If 7.Rf5? Rf3! Black gets to support his pawn, and thus win. 7...Ra4 8.Rf5 d3 9.Rd5 Ra3 10.Rf5 White ensures the draw by keeping the black king away from the action.
Further down the award there is a short and sweet study by well-known player, Grandmaster Jan Timman of the Netherlands. It is our study for solving this month, so why not have a go at taking on the Grandmaster?
4th HM., Kasparyan-100 MT, 2010
White to play and draw
This article first appeared in CHESS in November, 2010 and is republished here with permission.
The idea of a World Team Championship for Chess Composition is an old one and the idea got off the ground in the 1960s, when two unofficial, international ‘Friendship’ tournaments were held. Official blessing came at the 14th conference of the Permanent Commission of the FIDE for Chess Composition in the Hague in 1971, when the inauguration of the first ‘World Chess Compositions Tournament of the FIDE’ (WCCT) was unanimously agreed by the delegates. So far there have been eight of these events and over the years they have attracted controversy, mainly because of dissatisfaction with the arrangements for judging. However, despite these regrets, these tournaments have encouraged the production of many fine compositions, including studies.
Our first study this month won the first place in the first WCCT. There were two sections for studies, both demanding a specific theme, that for section D2 being “In the course of the solution two white pieces form a battery (either directed at the black king or any other black piece) and later the firing piece and the rear piece exchange functions.” The judge was Yury Averbakh, and some of his comments are included below, indicated by the initials YA
1st Place, WCCT(D2), 1972-1975
White to play and draw
“The first impression about this position - White is helpless ...” (YA) 1.Re1! Threatening a skewer on the c-file. The reason why the rook chooses e1 and not e3 or e2 will become clear later. 1...Bxd5+ 1...Qh8 2.e7 Bxd5+ 3.Kf2 has transposed to the main line. 2.Kf2! Another exact move, the reasons for which will be clear later. 2...Qh8 2...Qe8 3.e7 Qxh5 4.Rc1+ is a draw. For instance - 4...Kd7 5.h8Q Qf3+ 6.Ke1 Qe3+ 7.Kd1 Qd3+ 8.Ke1 Qe3+ = 3.e7 Bf7 4.d5 On e1 the rook defends the bishop. 4...Qxh7 “... his main hope - pawn h7 is lost. But just in this moment the play begins!” (YA) 5.Rg1! Abandoning support of the passed pawn, but taking aim at the black queen. 5...Kd7 5...f4 6.e8Q Bxe8 (6...Qc2+? 7.Qe2 1-0) 7.Rg7+ Qxg7 8.Bxg7 = 6.e8Q+! Sacrificing his last passed pawn to close the eighth rank. 6...Kxe8 6...Bxe8 7.Rg7+ Qxg7 8.Bxg7 = “... and now we get an astonishing position, in which the change of batteries takes place in turn!” (YA) 7.Rg7 Now that Black's king and pieces have been drawn into position, the harassment of the queen begins. 7...Qh8 8.Rg1 Qf8 9.Bg7 Qg8 9...Qe7 10.Re1 = 10.Ba1! If the bishop goes to c3, which looks like an alternative, all White's hard work is undone - 10.Bc3? Qh7 11.Rg7 Qh8 12.Rg3 Qf8 13.Bg7 f4! 14.Bxf8 fxg3+ 15.Kxg3 Kxf8 0-1. After the text, Black can accede to the draw by repeating. If he tries to break out, then White gets a new passed pawn. Black can only then draw, though he has a choice of blocking the pawn with his queen or giving perpetual check. Thus - 10...Bg6 11.hxg6 Qxd5 12.g7 Qd2+ 13.Kf1 Qd1+ 14.Kf2 Qc2+ 15.Kf1 Qb1+ 16.Kf2 Qa2+ 17.Kf3 Qb3+ 18.Kf2 Qg8 =
Our study for solving is a prize-winner from The Problemist in 1970. It is by Cedric Lytton, currently president of the British Chess Problem Society, which publishes that magazine. In a long career of composing, Cedric has produced all sorts of compositions, including studies. He is probably our most versatile composer.
1st Prize, The Problemist, 1970
White to play and win
This article first appeared in CHESS in September, 2010 and is republished here with permission.
At the Annual General Meeting of the British Chess Problem Society (BCPS), meeting in Newcastle on Sunday 13th April, it was agreed to abolish the £3.00 entry fee for the Winton Capital British Chess Solving Championship (WCBCSC).
It is hoped that this will lead to more entries, but whether or not it does that, it will release Paul Valois, who receives the entries to the Starter Problem, from the burden of banking several hundred cheques each year. For many years Paul has been one of the BCPS’s most hard-working volunteers and I am sure that this decrease in his work-load is deserved.
As no measures have to be taken for making secure payments, the decision also makes it easy to arrange entry through this website and I hope to provide such a facility for the 2014-2015 competition.
Welcome to my new-look website. Yes, I know it is just the standard Joomla 3 template, but it does what’s needed. Most of the content from the old site has been carried forward to this site and some new content has been added. Those who had created an account on the old site should find that their logins work on this site, although, as on the previous site, an account as yet gives no access to anything extra. In due time you will need to login to access the Meson Chess Problem Database, so the login form is in that section of the site. Select 'Meson' from the menu above.