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  • From Ilham Aliev on YCCC 2022

    Сергей, вот 1-й этюд С.Н.Ткаченко. Он в своей книге признается, что именно после этого турнира, он начал составлять. Представь, если бы J.Roycroft не включил бы эту детскую комбинaцию в присуждение… 

    2022/11/23 at 7:19 pm
    • From Didukh on YCCC 2022

      Ткаченко рассказчик. Никто не знает, что было бы, если бы Ройкрофт оставил его комбинацию без отличия. Сергею пришлось бы сочинять другую байку о том, как он стал этюдистом.

      2022/11/23 at 8:17 pm
      • From Steffen Nielsen on YCCC 2022

        Amazing example, Ilham. But I agree with Sergiy that one failed or succesful study probably makes no difference.

        Amusingly my first study was also judged by John Roycroft (not in the award of BCPS 2012 London Olympics tournament).


        2022/11/24 at 11:41 am
        • From Ilham Aliev on YCCC 2022

          I would never include this study (Tkachenko) in the award )))

          2022/11/24 at 8:38 pm
  • From Steffen Nielsen on YCCC 2022

    Nice. I certainly know about the temptation to use Bf2-d4-b2 tricks (once you see them) so perhaps not surprising that youngsters fall into that trap.

    2022/11/23 at 9:03 am
  • From Didukh on YCCC 2022

    Этот конкурс проводят, чтобы судья Нильсен придумывал, за что можно похвалить этюды участников, даже когда хвалить нечего.

    2022/11/22 at 11:09 pm
    • From Martin Minski on YCCC 2022

      Steffen has been committed to promoting young talent for years. It is certainly difficult to find a suitable topic.
      One cannot expect originality at the highest level from young composers.
      Your criticism is wrong here.
      What do you do to promote young people?

      2022/11/23 at 5:33 pm
      • From Didukh on YCCC 2022

        Criticism? You see things.
        I say that this tourney is good for nothing. And Nielsen is good in everything.
        Serafimovic and Smolkin compose better than some adult promoters.

        2022/11/24 at 9:54 am
    • From Steffen Nielsen on YCCC 2022

      I am not sure it was held for exactly that purpose but it certainly helps that I don’t slap the youngsters in the face at their first meeting with the world of studies. They can meet your blog in due time.

      2022/11/23 at 8:39 am
  • From Didukh on UAPA-18

    Гонзалес и Осинцев безнадежны. Один испортил этюд Ануфриева конем d8 и аналитикой, другой отметил его ерунду призом. Оба не замечают, что ложный след начинается с дуали.

    2022/11/22 at 10:26 pm
  • From Didukh on UAPA-18

    Первый приз Гургенидзе в разделе С – плагиат. Моя версия этюда Бирнова в разы лучше.

    Birnov=Z — (=0011.45f8d5) (v)

    2022/11/22 at 9:32 pm
  • From Daniele Gatti on YCCC 2022

    What’s the medium age of these composers?
    I guess it’s about 15-20.
    In Italy there are no young composers. I’m the youngest and I’m 35 …
    What a shame for my country!

    2022/11/22 at 6:30 pm
    • From Steffen Nielsen on YCCC 2022

      Ilija is 17 or 18. I am not sure about the rest, but Anirudh Daga in 6th is 14. While the study is nothing new, Daga won 1st prize in an (adult) helpmate tournament in Fujairah!


      2022/11/23 at 8:37 am
  • From Jan Sprenger on YCCC 2022

    Serafimović’s study is indeed pleasant, thanks to the logical removal of the bishop. I like these “Arabic” (or actually, also Chinese) moving patters of the “elephant”. But the anticipation by Birnov (1947), a study almost everybody knows, is substantial. The stalemate counterplay does not add enough content to dispel that impression.

    For a solving competition where you do not want to have too difficult studies, that would be perfect, however.

    Smolkin’s study (the second prize) is not bad, but leaves a somewhat insipid taste. But given their age, the young lads are composing very well!

    2022/11/22 at 5:26 pm
    • From Didukh on YCCC 2022

      Как раз кортригра черных на пат, а не прицеп со сбросом слона делает первый приз оригинальным. Вместо жертвы слона лучше добавить нормальное вступление без лишней фигуры.

      2022/11/23 at 8:02 am
      • From Didukh on YCCC 2022

        Например, так:

        2022/11/23 at 8:49 am
        • From Jan Sprenger on YCCC 2022

          I like the geometry of Bf2-d4-b2, even if it is indeed just a trailer. I don’t think this is a “trap”, as Steffen writes. But your version highlights the black counterplay more than the author’s version does. It is also good that the white king moves.

          2022/11/23 at 11:17 am
  • From Daniele Gatti on UAPA-18

    What about 8th FRME tournament?
    Did Serhiy miss it?
    For once I was awarded first prize (although in cooperation) and there’s no topic about!
    That’s unfair … Master, provide! 🙂

    2022/11/22 at 3:01 pm
    • From Jan Sprenger on UAPA-18

      Daniele, if you win a first prize, this means that the genre is dead. 😉 (I guess the reason is that there is no pgn file.)

      Congratulations anyway!

      2022/11/22 at 3:22 pm
      • From Daniele Gatti on UAPA-18

        Actually, there’s no PGN file for that award.
        Jan, what about an extensive commentary of yours, about the UAPA studies?
        I am curious about your opinion on section B (to refine my judging abilities) and on my Sp.HM in section C, which I consider one of my favourites.
        (This will probably means that I’m the only one that likes it)

        2022/11/22 at 3:40 pm
  • From Jan Sprenger on UAPA-18

    I enjoyed Timman’s special commendation in UAPA-C while I am not convinced by many studies that finished higher in the ranking.

    2022/11/22 at 11:17 am
  • From Steffen Nielsen on YCCC 2022

    I mentioned in the PDF that it might be on the difficult side. 9 entries compared to 12 last year.

    But the main problem is probably that the theme is not distinct enough. In the two best studies the theme is fulfilled in a rather accidental way.

    Next year I will look for something that feeds the creativity.

    2022/11/21 at 8:51 pm
  • From Ilham Aliev on YCCC 2022

    Не слишком ли сложные темы для начинающих? Потом жалуемся, что нету участников

    2022/11/21 at 5:08 pm
  • From Jan Sprenger on Чемпионат РФ 2022

    I am a bit disappointed that the majority of compositions features a white knight as main character. Of course, it can jump around and surprise us with tactical punches, but is there nothing attractive about other piece configurations?

    I like Pervakov’s first prize, although the maze of pawns is not my cup of tea, and especially the choice between 3. Kf2 and Kg2. But the logical tries that follow are a bit less impressive. What is the white plan? After 3. Kg2, he wants to play Sc2, sacrifice with Sd4, promote his queen and then play f4+ to stop the black pawn on c2. The immediate execution of this plan fails to 11… Kxh5!, when the thematic 12. Qe5+ is met by 12… g5 or 12… Kh6. I am not 100% sure that we have purity of purpose here, since the preliminary h5-h6 removes both the availability of the h6 square and the reply g7-g5. It is also slightly annoying that 5. h6 is refuted both by 5.. Kxh6 and by 5… gxh6 6. f4+ Kh4!. Of course, these are minor points, but in a logical study, it may be fair to raise them.

    I do not think that 2… Ra2 and 4… Kf6 are main lines, by the way. They are certainly thematic (“gehaltserweiternd”), but I do not see it on a par with the main line defined by the choice between 3. Kf2? and 3. Kg2!, and finishing with e4+, Qg6+ and Qxc2.

    2022/11/09 at 6:35 pm
    • From Didukh on Чемпионат РФ 2022

      Do you mean that Pervakov lied about logic of f4+ and h6?
      Is this a manipulation to write the same logical try twice on move 5 and 6?
      Why Kxh5! at the end of these this try has an exclamation mark? It’s neigher a strong move nor a refutation. The both refutations Kh6 and g5 come on the next move after Qe5+. Why are they not given?

      2022/11/10 at 7:49 am
      • From Jan Sprenger on Чемпионат РФ 2022

        Sorry for replying late, busy days. Oleg wrote me in the meantime and said that I should look at his annotations in the official tournament report (the pdf file). He did not provide two separate tries in move 5 and 6 there. Also the “main line” comments are missing there.

        Yes, I meant that the try should not stop with 11… Kxh5, but with 12. Qe5+ g5/Kh6. I guess Aliev saw this, too. Perhaps he wants to explain why he did not add these moves to the notes, or why he thinks there is no problem with purity of purpose.

        2022/11/14 at 5:25 pm
  • From Steffen Nielsen on Чемпионат РФ 2022

    Not difficult to guess the composer of 1st prize. Masterful og typical Perkakov-study.

    2022/11/09 at 1:38 pm
  • From Didukh on Польский конкурс 2021

    Третий приз – самый позорный после итальянского плагиата, потому что этюд Ткаченко не менее известен, чем этюд Матисона. У поляка от него только финал.

    2022/11/04 at 8:17 am
  • From Ilham Aliev on Польский конкурс 2021

    Мне кажется судья недооценил – 2rd hm, M.Minski.

    2022/11/03 at 7:10 pm
    • From Didukh on Польский конкурс 2021

      Этот этюд судья оценил правильно. В отличие от судей WCCI. Дуали портят впечатление. Особенно дуаль Nd2/Nd4 – она портит главную идею.

      “We see here the theme of dual avoidance with an effective play. Unfortunately duals in the both lines on move 10 and on move 14 in line B (in this case more than in the others) spoil the impression. There is a particularly unpleasant “contradiction” here: dual avoidance with duals. If not that, the study would have been much higher.”

      2022/11/04 at 7:49 am
      • From Jan Sprenger on Польский конкурс 2021

        The Kg6/Kf6 dual is harmless since the plan is the same and everything transposes. I agree that the Nd2/Nd4 dual is annoying, but Martin is right that they both exploit the same disadvantage of Ka3, i.e. the vulnerable position of the black rook.

        But regardless of how we evaluate the duals, there is a lot to like about this study! The reciprocal change of the desperado sacrifices of the white queen in the main lines is ambitious content and the introductory play is clear and attractive. Not easy to find a clean version with almost no pawns and queen and rook on each side.

        Very nice first prize by Steffen, by the way.

        2022/11/04 at 2:44 pm
        • From Didukh on Польский конкурс 2021

          Jan Rusinek was much more impressed by the first prize: “This study is one of the most beautiful studies I have seen (and I’ve been watching studies for almost 60 years!)”.

          I am closer to his assessment than to the trivial compliment that it’s a very nice prize study by Steffen. His Qg5!! is as sensational as Mitrofanov’s Qg5!! was in old times.

          2022/11/05 at 10:49 am
          • From Jan Sprenger on Польский конкурс 2021

            Of course, 4… Qc5!! 5. Qg5! is a memorable sequence. This is a very good study because it shows a very uncommon theme with little material. But I don’t value it as highly as you or Rusinek.

            1) While Mitrofanov’s Qg5 has a clear combinatory justification (deny the black queen an access to the a6-f1 diagonal), the difference between 5. bxc5, 5. Qa6+ and 5. Qg5 is based on a technical endgame with rather insipid lines. This dilutes the aesthetic impression.

            2) I prefer when White makes the most paradoxical move. But the really paradoxical and difficult-to-find move is 4… Qc5!!. It is counterintuitive that Black has a way of escaping into an endgame with piece less and tempo less (after 5. bxc5) where he can still draw. Once this position is on the board (and the theme thus shown), 5. Qg5! is quite easy to find.

            3) Relatedly, if you asked me to pick between 5. Qg5, 5. bxc5 and 5. Qa6+ without calculating any line, I would pick 5. Qg5, because the black pawn structure is destroyed. The refutation of the tries is actually non-trivial, but unfortunately they are less plausible than the solution.

            4) The introduction does not add value. I understand that it is probably impossible to make the Bf6 move before it is taken, and I do not think this is required in this particular scheme, but the white pawn b7 should not be on the board. Yes, Steffen probably wanted the nice sacrifice 1. d4-d5, but still.

            By the way, on the theme of two hanging ladies (who stare at each other), Steffen has this brilliant study. 6. a3!!, 8. a4!!. This looks rather sensational to me and I would have given more than a honorable mention.

            2022/11/07 at 5:41 pm
            • From Didukh on Польский конкурс 2021

              Нашел у себя переделанную цитату какого-то мудреца: “Проблема сложных идей в том, что всегда найдется идиот, который поймет их не так и расскажет другим, как их следует понимать”. 

              Увы, понять замысел этюдов в деталях умеют примерно три человека. Остальные не заморачиваются: они считают фигуры, ходы и взятия. Для них, очевидно, надо уточнить, что идея первого приза в трех последовательных жервах ферзей под пешки. Какая разница, какая из них парадоксальнее или труднее!? Вес петуха не меняется, когда он стоит на одной лапе или на двух.

              2022/11/07 at 8:37 pm
            • From Steffen Nielsen on Польский конкурс 2021

              I was a little worried that this…

              Nielsen=S – (+4013.22c2g2)

              …would count as as partial predecessor. Otherwise I might have chosen the Polish study for my WCCI-selection.

              I spent ages on this study. For a long time I had settled for a heavy setting before I discovered the idea of a pawn on b7. I don’t count this as a weakness at all (it is blocked and doomed).

              Of course, you never know about these things, but I felt this might be the only possible setting with two consecutive quiet queen sacs to improve pawn structure. It is a little less a “full study” than the version for SK.

              The fate of Bf6 is a clear weakness.

              In theory, one could imagine a third consecutive quiet queen sac (or a perpetual!), but I will let others do that.

              2022/11/08 at 10:14 am
            • From Jan Sprenger on Польский конкурс 2021

              I also remembered your SK study. But I don’t think there is a big problem with originality. It is just one motif, Qc5/Qc4. Rather, I prefer the SK study because of its great economy and the clear lines in the resulting endgame. I also agree that it looks more complete.

              I am a bit annoyed by the pawn on b7 just because it is blocked and doomed. It is clear that the author has put it there so that Black loses a tempo at some point because he has to capture it. But my general question is why we can’t start directly with 1. Se3 fxg6 2. Qxf6. The intro is not thematic and I do not think bringing the queen to f5 is worth two pawns. Moreover, there is tension in the initial position. (I don’t think the intro is bad—having d4-d5 just compensates for the b7 pawn—, but all in all I would not say that it improves the study.)

              A perpetual pendulum of queen sacs would be great! I don’t think many others would be capable of making this work (certainly I am not).

              2022/11/08 at 12:04 pm
            • From Steffen Nielsen on Польский конкурс 2021

              Ok, I think beginning with 1. Ne3 would be about as good as my version. I added a little something at a little cost (in my view).

              2022/11/08 at 12:09 pm
            • From Ilham Aliev on Польский конкурс 2021

              If you start from 1.Ne3, then this is already a scheme, not a study.

              2022/11/08 at 3:55 pm
            • From Didukh on Польский конкурс 2021

              Ильгам, ботинки не перестанут быть ботинками со шнурками или без них. Очевидно же, что Ян сам себе придумал недостатки в нормальном вступлении к прекрасному этюду и определяет оригинальность ботинок по цвету шнурков. Еще и персональный вкус приплел к оригинальности. Неисправимый баламут. Стеффен тоже шлангом прикидывается. Сам же написал про жертвы ферзей под пешки ради порчи пешечной структуры, и делает вид, что сомневается в оригинальности. В оригинальности переделок Тиммана из конкурса The Problemist 2020-2021 он не сомневался, хотя ее там недостаточно.

              2022/11/09 at 10:38 am
            • From Jan Sprenger on Польский конкурс 2021

              Serhiy, our judgments are not so far from each other in the end. There is no need to start a polemic. I like Steffen’s study and would give 3 points for it. I find it original. I just don’t find it as sensational as Rusinek does, or perhaps you. This has mainly to do with the way the pointe is constructed (see my points 1-3), but sometimes, a scheme is also made more beautiful by the way it is introduced. I do not think Steffen’s intro has serious flaws, but on the other hand, the introductory play does not make you jump from the chair (my point 4). That’s why I would give it 3 points and not 3,5 or 4. Steffen has enough studies in that range, too. 🙂

              2022/11/09 at 6:41 pm
            • From Steffen Nielsen on Польский конкурс 2021

              Ok, but in the 2016-18 WCCI the judges downgraded a study of mine even though I didn’t believe it to be seriously anticipated (by Jasik).

              Nielsen=S – (+3234.12e8g7) A

              It happens.

              2022/11/09 at 1:02 pm
            • From Didukh on Польский конкурс 2021

              When these judges get smart enough to understand their mistake they will apologize to you. So, probably this will not happen soon.

              2022/11/09 at 2:41 pm
            • From Jan Sprenger on Польский конкурс 2021

              Yes, that’s probably a fair description and it may depend on personal taste after all.

              2022/11/08 at 12:35 pm
      • From Martin Minski on Польский конкурс 2021

        The only reason to forcing the black king to a3 is a fork threat.

        2022/11/04 at 11:04 am
    • From Jan Sprenger on Польский конкурс 2021

      Absolutely. Very good study. The judges at the WCCI were more favorable.

      2022/11/03 at 8:41 pm
  • From Jan Sprenger on Московский конкурс 2022

    Now starting to look at the honorable mentions.

    Avni’s first HM is really great. White sacrifices his strongest piece with 2. Rh1!! to prepare a quiet move, the sacrifice-barrier Bh2. The black queen is surprisingly helpless. Three moves later, both sides have promoted a queen, but White’s only way to victory is the quiet 5. Qe5!. Again, Black’s cannot play out his numerical superiority on an open board. Of course, the motivation of these two moves is simple, but the combination of spectacular and surprising moves with the excellent economy is extraordinary. Very fresh and creative. For me, this is a clear prize level study.

    Arestov’s second HM has an interesting theme and a great pointe, but I find it hard to digest 2. Qxb7.

    I am not convinced by the structure of the third HM (Arestov/Hlinka/Kekely). The play is not without interest both in the introduction and in the main scheme, but they do not really fit together. If the theme of the study is the positional draw, I would have chosen a different introduction (or none at all).

    The special HM (Belonozhko/Zhukov) is lightweight and humorous. Pity that 4.. Rg7 does not only fail to the thematic 5. Qb3+!, but also to 5. Qb8+ followed by checks on c7, g3 and/or h2.

    2022/11/03 at 5:11 pm
  • From ab on Польский конкурс 2021

    Альбом ФИДЕ 1977-1979. № 676

    2022/11/03 at 1:50 pm
    • From Didukh on Польский конкурс 2021

      Rusinek informed me in August:
      “2nd Prize by Gromov turned out to be anticipated by Jindrich Fritz, 1979. I decided that the study will remain in second place but with J. Fritz & M. Gromow as coauthors. M. Gromov accepted my proposition.”

      So, we have a new study by the late Fritz. This is a ridiculous decision.
      I suggested either Gromov (after Fritz) or Fritz (correction Gromov).

      2022/11/03 at 3:44 pm
      • From Ilham Aliev on Польский конкурс 2021

        А что, с 6-ым призом? Как можно, не знать такую классику…

        2022/11/03 at 6:11 pm
        • From Didukh on Польский конкурс 2021

          Такой этюд, даже если бы он был оригинальным, не заслуживает никакого отличия. Простая идея, ужасная техника.

          2022/11/04 at 8:00 am
        • From Steffen Nielsen on Польский конкурс 2021

          Yes, I was wondering about that as well.

          2022/11/03 at 6:57 pm
  • From Jan Sprenger on Московский конкурс 2022

    Some quick impressions of the prize studies. But let me first say that I appreciate Stavrietsky’s extensive comments. It is clear that he took the judging seriously and put effort in it.

    The verdict on the first prize depends a lot on how you evaluate the coherence of the study. The individual ingredients are good both in the initial play and in the final after 9… Bxa4, but do they make for a great overall dish? Yes, there is the domination theme already in the try 1. d7, but to me, the study looks a bit like a platter where you can taste different cheese and hams. All of them are good, but it is different from a single plate dish.

    The second prize does not impress me at all, for reasons that are similar to Steffen’s.

    The third prize has fresh and vivid play with good economy and a lot of tension. Convincing study in the old style!

    I also like the fifth prize. Of course, the Rh1 motif is well-known, but the logical choice of the rook square in the first move (Rxc6?, Rc4?, Rc5!) and the waiting game with the pawns later on (8. d3!, 10. d6!!) are really great.

    Regarding my own study, I do not like my annotations any more. They do not capture the logical structure of the study well. So I redid them and I also eliminated any “position X”.

    2022/11/01 at 11:47 pm
  • From Jan Sprenger on Московский конкурс 2022

    The question of whether or not to submit to Russian tournaments is not trivial. To what extent is chess political? Is the participation in a composing tourney already a political statement? On the one hand, you do not want to give the impression to support the Putin regime. On the other hand, the Russian study composition community does not seem to be a bunch of Putin supporters: important Russians composers like Pervakov and Arestov spoke out against the war (and I know of no one who supports it).

    In the end I decided to participate in the traditional Moscow tournament. I did not participate in Selivanov-55, by contrast. He sent me a kind invitation, but did not reply to my question about his attitude regarding the war. Of course, it is walking a fine line and I also understand the composers who decide not to participate in Russian tournaments at all.

    2022/11/01 at 11:16 pm
    • From Didukh on Московский конкурс 2022

      Это тот самый Арестов, который отказался судить WCCI, потому что россиян отстранили от соревнований после того, как они начали убивать?

      2022/11/02 at 10:26 am
  • From Steffen Nielsen on Московский конкурс 2022

    Many good studies and generally good judging by Alexandr.

    3rd and 4th prizes I like the most for their memorable moves 5. h4 and 6. Ne6 (my taste)

    I don’t know what to think about Gonzalez’ study. An introduction of 22 moves without a single capture and then the Novotny, which was already “visible” in the starting position.
    Technically impressive for sure. But I believe we need a static-dynamic scale describing the amount of change going on in a study. Not just a question of number of captures, but also if the theme of the studies changes during play.

    Captures are not always bad.

    2022/11/01 at 11:25 am
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