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
1.Na6+ Kb7 2.Rb2+ Kxa6 3.Bb5+ 3.Bh3? a3 (3...g1Q+? 4.Bf1+ Ka5 5.Rb5+ Ka6 6.Rg5+ 1-0) 4.Bxg2 axb2 5.Be4 Kb5 6.d4 a5 7.Bb1 a4 8.Kd2 Kc4 9.d5 Kxd5 10.Kc3 a3 11.Kb3 Kd4 12.Kxa3 = 3...Ka5 3...Kb6 4.Bf1+ 1-0 4.Bf1 a3 4...g1Q 5.Rb5+ Ka6 6.Rg5+ 1-0 5.Rb5+ Ka4 6.Bxg2 a2 6...Kxb5 7.Bd5 Kc5 8.Bf7 1-0 7.Bc6 a1Q+ 8.Rb1+ 1–0