WCCI 2019-2021. Results

Подведены итоги личного чемпионата мира WCCI 2019-21. Новым чемпином по этюдам стал Стеффен Нильсен.

Зачетные этюды призеров чемпионата и пятерка лучших этюдов по мнению судей:

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Jan Sprenger
Jan Sprenger
3 месяцев назад

Congratulations to Steffen for a well-deserved World Championship! All three medal winners had excellent selections. I also congratulate my OTB chessplaying fellows Timman, Pasman and Kiryakov with their very strong results.

In general, I agree with everything that Martin wrote above. Especially regarding Vladislav Tarasiuk’s work, who had to judge in a situation of immense stress and danger.

That said, some aspects of the judging remain incomprehensible to me, beyond the point where you can say that it is just a matter of taste.

Both are (for me) the two best studies of the tournament: highly original, dense content, wonderful play. Masterpieces. (Of course, there are also other excellent studies, e.g., Oleg’s and Jan Timman’s respective No. 1).

On the other hand, some studies have received rather inflated ratings:

My general impression is that the judges favored well-known names, studies with prizes from big tournaments and easy-to-understand optical effects. They cared a bit less about content and technique. Perhaps this is inevitable because they had to evaluate almost 300 studies and you simply don’t have the time to study the content carefully one-by-one. But still, my feeling is that the judging could have been better.

Specifically, let’s look at Becker:

  • 4 points: 0 studies
  • 3,5 points: 6 studies
  • 3 points: 13 studies

This would perhaps—very perhaps—be an acceptable verdict by Kasparyan. But from Becker, judging only 19 studies in this great selection as being worthy of the FA is clearly a joke. He might first want to compose something which is not a soulless computer product.

And then, there is Gurgenidze, who is simply lazy, ignores content and technique and distributes votes at random.

The judging of Avni, Đurašević and Tarasiuk can perhaps be criticized on specific points, but I have the impression that they worked honestly. Moreover, taste is something that differs and rankings will never be perfect. They have my full respect. But please, do not ever ask Becker and Gurgenidze again to judge big tournaments.

Daniele Gatti
Daniele Gatti
3 месяцев назад

I am astounded by Pervakov’s 10.5 points study.
What an epic journey on a chessboard!

Steffen Nielsen
Steffen Nielsen
3 месяцев назад
Ответ на  Daniele Gatti

Daniele, If I had to choose, I would put Pervakov’s no 1 as the best study of this cycle. Shortly followed by Timman’s no 1. Stavrietsky’s no 1 is from the World Cup is also memorable. Pervakov’s no 3 also seems like 4 points to me.

Regarding my own study no 1, the high score feels weird to me, because the study is not reallly in my style, and I didn’t spend that much time on it compared to no 6 for instance, that I worked on for months. But apparently everyone seems to like it. I tried for a while to make it a win study, but I was unable.

Nos 3 and 4 are probably most dear to me, because they are Costeff style, striving to make something work, even though it might turn out to be impossible.

I still don’t get the scores for Hlebec’s study (but notice that it is an improved version compared to the one linked to by Jan).

I agree with Jan that there is a feel of randomness about the places from say 6 to 20. This is certainly an argument for applying the 4.0 scores (and low scores) a little more. Even if the judge doesn’t feel he is dealing with a 4.0 study, he might decide in advance to give his 3 favourite studies 4.0. In that way his preferences weigh more in the overall standings.

Jan Sprenger
Jan Sprenger
3 месяцев назад
Ответ на  Steffen Nielsen

Exactly, Steffen. There are enough studies to choose from for a 4.0 score, dependent on the style you prefer. Costeff style like your no. 3, epic battles like Oleg’s no. 1, middlegame fights like your no. 6, Serhiy’s more classical studies, etc. All possible tastes are covered. These works are all highly original and the implementations are masterful, not worse (or even better) than the classics from the books.

If you still think that no study merits a 4.0 (and very few merit a 3.5), as Becker and Gurgenidze did, I have only one explanation, and it is psychological: you have simply exhausted your own creative capacities and you are envious of what others are able to create.

(EDIT: I see now that also Tarasiuk did not hand out any 4.0 and very few 3.5, but due to the terrible circumstances in which he was judging, I want to exempt him from any criticism. Certainly he had other things to do than to ponder carefully about the scores. And of course, he is an excellent composer.)

Another problem of not giving any 4.0 is that you don’t make the difference in the fight for medals. You don’t distinguish between an excellent study and a real masterpiece.

Thanks for the note regarding Hlebec. I agree that this version is a clear improvement, but I still find the play much rougher and less economic than in your study on the same theme.

Jan Sprenger
Jan Sprenger
3 месяцев назад
Ответ на  Steffen Nielsen

PS. Oleg asks me to tell the world that he considers his no. 1 his best study, no less than 11.5 points!

Daniele Gatti
Daniele Gatti
3 месяцев назад
Ответ на  Steffen Nielsen

I have studied the above-mentioned studies (sorry for the word game). Probably I understood nothing (someone wouldn’t be surprised, indeed), but this is my point of view. Number 3 and 4 immediately strike at heart because of their task-shaped construction, they’re something that obviously required a lot of work, so they gain points even before a technical or artistic assessment. Therefore, they’re also very attractive for the eye (n.4 surely the most). The idea of study 3 is something about genius, with all those batteries working alternatively. The immediate thought is “how can someone think about such a mechanism and ALSO make it work properly?”. This question, brought to the brain, is the main reason of the high assessment, in my opinion. Same for n. 4.

Study 6 does not give me those emotions. I cannot assess it properly, maybe. Your style is easily recognized, but maybe is a matter of feelings. Number 1 is much more easier to understand, and the point is clear: Rook sacrifice must be prevented with logic manoeuvres. But also … it’s not easy to predict that sacrifice, so the idea looks deep! The extremely light construction and the clear play do the remaining work and make it a study that “everyone likes”. Who can not-appreciate such a foresight?

It’s strange when a study is appreciated by everyone but not so much by the composer himself. But happens … I got the highest rankings with studies “not in my style”. And still don’t love them so much, in favor of much more mistreated ones. The same thing for problems. In this WCCI edition I got 7 points for a selfmate that has very little contribution from myself, I was just lucky to find a three-twins perfectly working configuration. And that’s my best achievement so far in this tournament… Simply, happens!

Martin Minski
Martin Minski
3 месяцев назад

Here judges are “disqualified” and dubious as “lazy”. This behavior is not unknown to me.
I have judged several times for WCCI and FIDE Album and I can say that it is a lot of work. Nobody thanks you for that!

I would like to thank all 5 judges! I would especially like to thank Richard Becker, who replaced Pavel Arestov at short notice. Pavel Arestov resigned as a judge in protest but kept his studies in the tournament. I very cautiously call this behavior “inconsistent”…

There are some strict judges like Becker, Salai and Nielsen. There are less strict judges. You know all that. I don’t think you have to blame anyone for that.

Oleg asked me how I judge his 1st study. It like it very much! I would give it a 3.5 or 4 (like Richard, Amatzia and Branko did).

I would also give Steffen’s 6th study 3.5 points (like Amatzia and Branko did).

Jan Sprenger
Jan Sprenger
3 месяцев назад
Ответ на  Martin Minski

Martin, of course some judges are stricter and some are more generous. But when you end up with less than 20 studies as FA quality, this is simply not credible and a slap in the face of the composers. Even Steffen, who is a tough judge, will agree that there are many more. In that case, you should simply look at your own ratings and ponder about which of the studies with 2.5, 3 or 3.5 points merit to be raised by half a point. That’s just part of the job. Saying “well, it’s hard work, so we should be thankful and not criticize judges” is too simple. In academia like in chess composition, referees who do their work badly can do damage.

Specifically, I don’t like the sucker mentality of benefiting from the generosity and honesty of others while handing out low scores yourself. I have given a psychological explanation of this behavior in my reply to Steffen. It is a common attitude among persons who are past their prime and are now looking with resentment at the advancement of the field. I also know it from academia and I really don’t like it.

I also don’t like that being a famous composer, or having obtained a prize, apparently gives you an advantage. If your selection had been submitted by, say Daniele Gatti or myself, you would never have got all of them into the FA. Or take Steffen’s no. 1. It is without any doubt a great study, but his no. 6 is a completely different level of originality of the theme, surprise in the play and technical implementation. Unfortunately, it is still under review, so the final score was just 9. Only Amatzia and Branko gave more than 3 points. Same story for Oleg’s and Serhiy’s No. 1, which also deserved more votes of 4 points.

Some people criticize Amatzia and Branko for being lopsided in favor of tactical studies (Amatzia) or being a bit generous with votes of 3 or 3.5 (Branko), but I think this is a normal reflection of their personal taste and enthusiasm. If everybody does his work seriously and honestly, these factors will level out. I also like that they give three points to very good studies by less known composers, e.g., Neistadt’s No. 2 (sp. prize Platov-140).

Of course, the WCCI is a lot of work. I did something similar recently, as a member of a national research evaluation committee in Italy. Also there, nobody thanks you for anything and you potentially make enemies. (For the record: thank you very much, Amatzia, Branko and Vladislav!) But if you take up such a work, you are also obliged to do it seriously, and to the extent that you do not do this, you rightly expose yourself to criticism. I tried my best to achieve a balanced distribution of scores and to assign credits to who deserve them. Even if something was not really my cup of tea. In the end, I might have been a bit too generous, but not a lot. And more than once, I got angry at some colleagues who indiscriminately qualified everything as “excellent”, and at others who qualified a lot of very good work as mediocre or rubbish.

Final question, Martin: would you also defend the judges if the competition had not gone so well for you? Be honest. More than once, I saw you swear at a judge who had sunk a study of yours…

Daniele Gatti
Daniele Gatti
3 месяцев назад
Ответ на  Jan Sprenger

It’s inevitable that Pervakov’s mere name, after many decades, becomes more important and respected than Pervakov’s studies themselves (I said Pervakov but could also have said Nielsen, Minski or Didukh, or other strong composers at random). Who does not feel even a bit subjugated when assesses studies signed by colossal names?

It’s maybe not pleasant, but it’s also clear that if that name call such respect, there must be a reason. A pity for dumbasses like me: I could have composed a masterpiece and no one will tell me because my name does not call any deference!

Martin Minski
Martin Minski
3 месяцев назад

Jan, I’ll say it clearly now:
You can write here that you evaluate some studies differently and justify that, but you shouldn’t write that Gurgenidze is “lazy” or that Becker is “not competent”. You are in no position to make such assumptions.
You’re welcome to judge the next FIDE album, only then will you know how difficult it is.
At the penultimate WCCI, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the evaluations of my studies. I accepted that without insulting the judges.

Daniele, yes, I think there is a bonus for well-known authors, at least unconsciously.
But I give everyone the chance to find a masterpiece. Kuzmichev is not my friend, but he builds a good study every now and then. You were a bad composer but I see your progress. I also like Pasman’s studies more and more. You see I can change my mind.

Martin Minski
Martin Minski
3 месяцев назад

The reality is sobering. It’s getting harder and harder to find judges for WCCI and FIDE albums because nobody wants that work. Criticism is good and right, but let’s all remain factual and stop making assumptions and claims. If judges get insulted, they won’t do that job again.
Then who’s going to do it?
We are just a small group.

The WCCI is not the FIDE album! It’s about ranking, but not about inclusion in the FIDE Album.
It’s just an added incentive that studies with 8 points are already included.

I also rarely give 4 points. I have to feel that a study of any style deserves this maximum score. It is not correct that the best studies are “automatically” awarded 4 points. We already have enough inflation.

Jan Sprenger
Jan Sprenger
3 месяцев назад
Ответ на  Martin Minski

If Becker stopped judging (and composing) altogether, that would be best.

This guy has already wasted the 2013-15 FIDE Album. Dealt low votes to everybody, but he himself got 17 studies into the album. More points than Oleg and much more than anybody else! Then, look at his compositions. He has a few good studies, but the vast majority is rubbish. The way he analyzes secondary lines also shows that he has no clue about what is important in a position. This is just embarrassing and a stark contrast to any strong composer of the past and the present.

I very much regret that Arestov withdrew from the WCCI since I consider him a honest and competent judge. His criticism of a study of mine in StrateGems 2021 helped me a lot to find a better version. But why do they ask somebody who is known to be a sucker? Literally, anybody else would have been better. From the Russians, they could have asked Osintsev, Bazlov or the champ. From the West perhaps Ostmoe, who is very diligent. Or Gonzalez, who has experience. Timman, of course. I think there is no shortage of candidates, and some of them would also have accepted. But no…

EDIT: I agree with you that my judgment on Gurgenidze is a bit harsh—in particular, “lazy” is something which I cannot substantiate—but I really feel that his judging was not up to the standards of a WCCI.

Jan Sprenger
Jan Sprenger
3 месяцев назад
Ответ на  Martin Minski

I would also briefly say something about the “inflation problem”.

First, I think that given the high quality of studies by the top composers, you need the difference between 3,5 and 4 to make the difference in the competition. For the FA, this makes in all likelihood no difference, but for the medals at a WCCI, it does.

Second, the inflation problem is primarily present on the level of individual tournaments, where some judges hand out prizes in an indiscriminate way, or when directors artificially split up the competition. I think prizes should only be given if a study is at least a candidate for 3 points. For example, when I judged Phénix recently, I did not give a prize to the three best studies. I appreciated them, but I saw them at no more than 2.5 points. And indeed, Osintsev and Pasman did not include them in their selection for the WCCI. Richardson, who did, got 7 points for his study. Very respectable, but not more. Some judges, however, feel obliged to prizes regardless of tournament quality. This deprives them of their meaning.

What is more, this phenomenon also potentially biases WCCI and FA judging, especially when judges are undecided between two grades or when they are short of time (not implausible given the huge number of studies to judge).

Third and last, the large number of studies in the last FA is mainly due to a very restricted group of composers: Pervakov, Minski, Nielsen and Tarasiuk. Of course, all excellent composers. But this shows that the “thick” last FA has not implied a title inflation problem.