Chess, January 2010

Tel-Aviv-100 JT

Yochanan Afek recently had the idea of a composing tourney to celebrate the centenary of his hometown of Tel Aviv. It was directed by Amatzia Avni and judged by Gady Costeff, who has just issued his award. Gady awarded first prize to this joint composition by Sergiy Didukh (Ukraine) and Michael Croitor (Moldova).

Sergiy Didukh &
Michael Croitor

1st Prize, Tel-Aviv-100 JT, 2009


White to play and win

1.Bc7+ Black threatened 1...Rc8 1...Kh4 2.g7! Less direct action is no good - 2.exd3? Kxg5 3.g7 Kxh6 4.Be5 h2 5.Bxh2 g3 =, and neither is pushing the other pawn - 2.h7? Rxe2+ 3.Kf1 Rf8+ 4.Bf4 h2 5.a8Q Rxa8 6.Bxh2 Rae8 7.Ra1 g3 = 2...Re8! This is Black's most interesting chance. Other possibilities are 2...Rxe2+ 3.Kf1! Rae8 (3...h2 4.Bxh2 Rc8 5.Ra1 Rxh2 6.h7 Kg3 7.h8Q Rcxh8 8.gxh8Q Rxh8 9.Kg1; 3...Re7 4.Be5 h2 5.Kg2 Rxe5 6.h7 Re2+ 7.Kh1 Re1+ 8.Kxh2 Re2+ 9.Kg1 Kg3 10.Rxg4+ Kxg4 11.g8Q 1-0) 4.Ra1 h2 (4...g3 5.Ra4+ Kxg5 6.Bxg3 Kxh6 7.Bb8 Rc8 8.Ra1 h2 9.a8Q Rxb8 10.Qf3 h1Q+ 11.Qxh1+ Kxg7 12.Qg1+ 1-0) 5.Bxh2 Rxh2 6.h7 Kg3 7.h8Q Rhxh8 8.gxh8Q Rxh8 9.Kg1 1-0; 2...Rxa7? 3.Bf4! Rxe2+ 4.Kd1! Re8 5.Kc1 1-0. Nearly as interesting as the main line is 2...h2 3.Bxh2 Rc8 4.Ra1 Re8 5.e3 Rxh2 (5...Re2+ 6.Kf1 Rxh2 7.h7 Kg3 8.h8R (8.h8Q Rf8+ 9.gxf8Q Rh1+ 10.Qxh1 =) 8...Rf8+ 9.gxf8B (or 9.gxf8N) 1-0; 9.gxf8Q? Rh1+ 10.Rxh1 =) 6.h7 Kg3 7.h8Q (7.a8Q? Rxa8 8.h8Q Raxh8 9.gxh8Q Rxh8 0-1) 7...Rhxh8 8.gxh8Q Rxh8 9.a8B 1-0 has transposed to the main line after move 9. 3.e3 h2 4.Bxh2 Rc8 5.Ra1 Rxh2 5...Re2+ 6.Kf1 Rxh2 7.h7 Kg3 8.h8R (8.h8Q? Rh1+ 9.Qxh1 Rc1+ 10.Rxc1 =; 8.a8Q Rh1+ 9.Qxh1 Rc1+ 10.Rxc1 =) 8...Rf8+ 9.gxf8B (or 9.gxf8N) 1-0 ; 9.gxf8Q? Rh1+ 10.Rxh1 =; 9.gxf8R? Rh1+ 10.Rxh1 =) 6.h7 Kg3 7.h8R! The first underpromotion. 7.h8Q? Rc1+ (7...Rh1+ 8.Qxh1 Rc1+ 9.Rxc1 =) 8.Rxc1 Rh1+ 9.Qxh1 = 7...Rcxh8 7...Rhxh8 leads to the same. 8.gxh8R! The second. 8.gxh8Q? Rh1+ 9.Qxh1 = 8...Rxh8 9.a8B! The third. 9.a8Q? Rh1+ 10.Qxh1 = 9...Rxa8 10.a7 Rh8 10...Kh2 11.g6 g3 12.g7 g2 13.Kf2 1-0 11.a8B! The fourth. 11.a8Q? Rh1+ 12.Qxh1 = 1–0

So, we have two underpromotions to rook followed by two underpromotions to bishop, all in the same line of play in what the judge described as ‘an almost classic setting’. The judge pointed out that the same task had been achieved by Harold Lommer in 1934, but that the current study is a great artistic step forward. In that study by Lommer, the bishop promotions preceded the rook promotions, so there is no question of anticipation.

Our study for solving is by a French player and composer.

Jean-Claude Letzelter

Échecs Artistiques et Humoristiques, 1990


White to play and win

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