Про пятачок это ты зря. Я не спорю по поводу общей оценки, но ты то точно знаешь, что на квадрат 4×4 можно уместить больше толка, чем бывает во всей доске. И пятнашкоподобные произведения замечательного композитора Горгиева это показывают.
Но в следующий раз я попробую под твоё судейство накалякать размашистые ходы по всей доске. Естественно, со взаимными цугцвангами 😀
First prize (Gromov and Pervakov): An original and interesting idea with several subtle moves. The king hides from the queen and comes back when the dust has cleared. Certainly a prize candidate. Two small criticisms: the logic with 6. d4? is not particularly interesting since it is obvious that White needs the pawn on d2 or d3 in the pawn endgame. I am also not a big fan of the static pawn configuration in the beginning, with the black king already nailed into his prison. But I see that this is difficult to improve without destroying the economy of the study.
Second prize (Katsnelson & Katsnelson): Enjoyable. The main combination 7. Ba6! is prepared by the 5. Rg1+! check. But despite the harmonious play, the idea is too small for prize level: 12 pieces ask for more demanding content. The exchange on a1 is also annoying since it happens in the introduction. Still, good work by the decani (“deans”) of St. Petersburg study composers.
Honorable mention (Sprenger): I agree that this is a HM level study. The idea is simple and executed with elegance and diligence (to use Serhiy’s words). There is one point where I disagree with the judge, however: the 2… Kxd5 line is humanly understandable and no case of bad analytics. White plays Bb3+ and Bf7 and simply has a fortress. The d2 pawn is completely irrelevant. I also wrote this in my original comments. White does not need to play precisely: every normal move draws and zillions of defensive configurations are possible. If the judge had looked more closely at the position, he would not have written about “difficult material”, “200 moves” and that “only the computer knows”.
Commendation (Sprenger & Minski): This study is underrated. I guess the judge’s comments about “dirty preparation in one line” pertain to the fact that in the 2. Ke5? h3! try Black can draw even without immediate h1=Q (e.g., by Kg2). The e6 pawn does not only prevent the skewer, but also helps Black to draw all kinds of endgames after exchanging queens. So it has a double function: field control and material. — Yes, of course a strictly logical try would have been better. But I think we achieved already a lot; both sides make intelligent moves (2… e5+!, 5… Ke2!), play is fluent, and the chameleon echo (found by Martin) raises a simple idea to a different level.
Commendation (Hlinka & Kekely): Usually I am snobbing the studies of the Slovak duo, but this one is enjoyable. The idea is expressed in an intense way, that said, the introductory play and the initial position could be improved.
Two skewers after the knight’s sacrifices is a tiny idea without logic in each line that could make these lines more similar. But logic sucks. You failed.
The idea of the 2nd prize needs kings, bishops, rooks and pawns on the squares where the authors put them. Little can be changed. It’s a nice economical setting for the original Black and White synthesis. 5.Rg1+ doesn’t prepare 7.Ba6. It stops Rb3. But it doesn’t matter much. I am convinced by the rooks’ quiet moves and bishops’ tempo play.
I am not impressed by the geometry of the second prize, and I do not see what the first four moves add, but whatever. Judges appreciate different kinds of ideas.
After some pondering, I still think that my study with Martin is a prize candidate. And Martin thinks so, too.
In a simple knight versus bishop ending with natural setup, you cannot expect large-scale ideas. But we managed to express the simple, but pleasant sacrifice+skewer idea with a gradual build-up of tension, creative play from both sides, and a stunning climax. Just look at the position after 6… Bf5!, when White does not resolve the tension, but leaves the pieces en prise and plays 7. c6!!. I think that such a move counts more than lack of clean logic in the 2. Ke5? try. The chameleon echo contributes further to the expression of the idea.
Fair enough, Serhiy. I remember I verified the position with the tablebase back in the days, but this morning I just ran an ordinary engine which gives 0.00 in all lines. So you are right: the fact that there is a winning plan beyond the horizon and that White needs to play carefully is a problem for the study.
Martin, as a compensation l’ll enter your study in my online database together with the awarded studies because I see you appreciate it very much, at least now. It’s already the most famous study of the tourney.
It seems to me that Serhiy wants to introduce new dogmas (like Johann Berger did back then with his arbitrary laws of art). But that would restrict creativity. Somewhere (maybe at Grasemann’s) I read that an obstacle can have a simple motivation. This has no influence on the value of the logical combination. It is about the purely of purpose to eleminate the obstacle and the depth of the idea. I find it still difficult enough to fit constructively logical elements into a study. Of course, the motivation in every study should be to implement the planned idea as economically as possible. But one should not strictly forbid adding a logical combination to a tactical scheme if one needs more pieces to do so.
In my single study of PU 22, the obstacle is white’s pawn on c2.
It is about a later opening of the c-file for the white queen. The motive is of course simple, but not immediately obvious. Also, it’s paradoxical when white material is eliminated to give black a disadvantage (usually it’s the other way around). It is important to me that the technical implementation of this idea is realized as elegantly as possible. An exchange is not nice, but justifiable. Otherwise they are good moves and sacrifices in my study.
Basically, according to Serhyi’s dogma, a logical study with selection moves would be better than a logical study with pre-planning, because less material is usually required for the selection moves. For me, these are only formal aspects and they have nothing to do with the actual idea of the study and I have not read that anywhere from the founders of the logical school.
My second study from WCCI (from Polish Chess Federation 2021) has a logical choice.
It took me about a year to construct the introduction so elegantly (5…Ne4!) to avoid a bad exchange on e4. According to Serhiy’s dogma, I shouldn’t have built this study at all, since many pieces were added to realize the difference (Ka2/Ka3/Kb2). This study got 9 points and will appear in the next FIDE Album. Luckily, the judges haven’t heard about Serhiy’s new rules yet.
I like the Pasman study in PU 22, but it doesn't have nearly as much appeal to me as it did to Serhiy. pawn forks are certainly not particularly original. The fact that there are threats of forks in the introduction is certainly appropriate, but that seems rather random. For me, this study has a good flow, but the effects are rather superficial in my view.
Steffen wrote to me that our coproduction in PU 22 contains a more interesting tactical scheme (Ba4!) than the taktical scheme (…Be3+!) in my individual study. I can accept that. I do not accept that my individual study will be thrown in the dirt by new, arbitrary rules by the judge.
I will not be forbidden from building studies with tactics and logic in the future, even if it requires additional material. Long live creativity!
Martin, I want to express what I think about your study.
Of course the logical try with c4!! is very good and adds much points to the study.. There are also several nice sacrifices as Qd4! and Be3!
But there are also number of disadvantages, as I see them.
In my opinion if study has closer to real game start position it is better (differently from problems). This is not the case here. I don’t like also too many heavy pieces and too messy position. I don’t like the exchange on e2. I also less like too many checks. The final idea is not new.
In my case I should evaluate points for and against a study.
I think logical try as c4 is better to show with simpler game.
I believe some judges could award this study. If I was a judge I think I should give it commendation. May be if I was a judge , more studies should be included in the award.
I agree with Segij about his evaluation and order of other awarded studies.
Michael, thanks for your detailed opinion.
I’m looking forward to your probably first tournament as a judge in Magyar Sakkvilag 2022.
Peter Gyarmati wrote me that he cannot reach you. Maybe you’ll get in touch with him.
And finally, Pasman’s light study scored better than any other, more powerful, because it has this charm of “deceptive simplicity” Mitrofanov wrote about. Is it easy to build the final position playfully or not?
In case you share Troitzky’s views who proclaimed that the content is primary and the form is secondary, you may dance from the content to decide whether the idea you want to add into the scheme is strong enough to make the study better. The usual logical sacrifice of a pawn in one move is not a challenging idea even if it needs 10-moves foresight. But you can try one of these:
Unusual or long removal of an obstacle;
Removal of an obstacle in two or more stages;
Removal of two obstacles (synthesis of plans);
Decoy of a black piece by the sacrifice of a white piece (active or passive) in the try and solution.
The logical problem school is not an invention of individual study composers. It was developed by important problem composers in the last century and was later transferred to the study genre. It is essentially about the beauty of thought. The purpose of removing an obstacle should be economical, i.e. purely for a purpose. Everything else said here is a purely arbitrary attempt to ask for additional things like “thematic” pieces. It has nothing to do with the logical school. The women’s dress gets tighter and tighter until it bursts.
Purity of aim is one of three required elements in a logical combination. In addition to a safeguarding plan and a logical try.
Martin and Steffen, do you care what makes logic good or bad? Probably not, if you never payed attention to the involvement of thematic pieces and deny that logic tastes better in natural positions. Maybe you have your own criteria if these obvious ones are strange to you? In this case, you should reveal them to us.
To my mind, the risk of failure in the synthesis of logical and tactical ideas is enormous because they are appreciated for different values that are in contradiction sometimes: many sacrifices ask for many pieces and controlled chaos on the board but the logical side asks for subtleties in a simple setting. That’s why I am not a big fan of this synthesis. Successful realizations are rare. Here are some of my favorite:
A selective judge who only included five studies: two prizes, one honorable mention and two commendations. Let’s study them in turn.
I also like the elegant play and the clear lines of the first prize. Clearly the implementation is impeccable. The question is whether the content is sufficiently interesting to deserve a first prize. Short lines without real thematic tries (the refutation of 3. e4 is not particularly interesting). A good and enjoyable study, but a first prize?
The second prize is perhaps the most expressive study of the tournament. The key position before Ba4 is really spectacular, and so is the resolution. I also agree with the authors that the logic with 2. Rf8!! is worth the technical knight on f1. But still, it is a weakness. Pity that it was probably impossible to remove that weakness: it would have been a good candidate for the study of the year. Like this, the study feels a bit like a beautiful evening robe with a ketchup stain on it.
The first honorable mention with its two main lines is remarkably economic and the twofold capture of the black queen keeps introduction and finale together. Still, the content is perhaps not too interesting and the play is quite standard. A cheer for the black counterplay 2… e4!, however.
The first commendation (by myself) features the WCCT theme: sacrifice in solution and try, here shown with reciprocal change in the two main lines. Although the team decided not to select the study in the end, I think it is certainly not worse than the studies that finished in the prizes of the WCCT, for the most very “expensive” in material without having remarkable content. Yes yes, as an author I am biased, but I challenge you to implement reciprocal change of sacrifical solution and try with interesting sequel play and just nine pieces. The study has spotless economy, but however also a weakness: the lines are not of equal interest. The 3… Bd5+ line finishes after 6. b6 because after 6… Bc8 (forced) White can play either 7. b7 Bxb7 8. Nd7+ (the intended solution) or 7. Nd7+ Bxd7 8. b7 Rc6+ 9. Kb5. This is a bit annoying. The Nachspiel in the main line is interesting, but it breaks the symmetry with the second line.
The second commendation is a charming and humorous study with good implementation of the lock-in/domination and fork themes and several interesting turns in the play. At first sight I thought it was too lightweight, but the more I look at it, the better I like it.
All in all, I think that Serhiy has selected five good studies and that different rankings of the works would have been possible, according to personal taste. The studies score high on different criteria.
I will also comment on Martin’s individual work and reply to his statements. We already talked about it on the phone. I love 9… Be3+!!, but I am not certain that this is the most convincing presentation of the idea. In general, I also like the combination of logic and tactic, but the logical element should cohere with the main content of the study and be made (ideally, at least) by a thematic piece. Here the comparison to Minski & Nielsen (second prize) is useful because 2. Rf8!! connects the logic much better than the somewhat accidental 3. c4!!, which also requires a whole battery of non-thematic pieces to make the play work. Of course, in the co-production there is a prize to pay (capture of immobile wNf1), and again, it boils down to what one finds important, but Martin’s individual study resembles, for me, a bit his World Cup 2019 study, which has similar strong and weak points. I gave 2,5 points on the site, but thought about 2 points only. However, the WCCI showed that my judgment was idiosyncratic. And I had almost talked Martin out of including it! For similar reasons, I see his PU study not at prize level (as Martin claims), but at commendation or honorable mention level (but it would not surprise me to hear divergent opinions). I agree with Serhiy’s viewpoint in general, but see enough interest and technical skill to include it into the award.
Jan, the WCCT-11 theme in your study is just a nice trick in the introduction. You can say they are two main lines, but I don’t agree at all. The main content starts with 4.Nd6! (not 4.Nf6) – sacrifice one knight so that the other reaches a5 in order to defend Pb7. This small idea is implemented with economy but without brilliant punches. Instructive but not impressive.
The sacrificed pawn (obstacle) is a thematic piece in the logical combination. It’s important that the piece that takes this pawn was thematic too, that is, involved in other ideas along the solution, not added with the only purpose to capture the pawn and die like Martin’s Ba6 and Ne2.
The use of pieces in the removal of an obstacle is one criteria of many others but the difference in quality of your 3 linked studies is obvious: the first two are nice while the third study is garbage – two extra pieces did their dirty job.
Ok, I guess you are pretty alone with that view, since the study recieved 9 points for the Album for the improved version by Pervakov, Baslov and Sumbatyan.
I can easily accept that the role of Ba6 is less than perfect (and the unnatural starting position as discussed previously), but these defects are easily compensated by the ambition of the long king travel and the originality of the motivation of Nb5 (square vacation).
I also don’t buy the premise that logic only belongs in natural, gamelike studies.
When you showed this version here I tried to sacrifice Ra7 instead of Na7 in order not to use special pieces for hara-kiri. I don’t remember if I succeeded but at some moment I got sick of the forced play and stopped helping you 🙂
There are just so many things to consider when evaluating a study and I consider the faith of the thematic piece a minor thing, though of course I will consider it in the future.
I clearly prefer the UAPA study but this has to do with the length of the Black king travel along the edge of the board and a more natural starting position (also a great sideline 2 Qa8!? Ng2 ending in a positional draw, added by the Russian trio). It is just much more memorable.
If someone were to tell me that they prefer the Variantim study due to the choice between the two rooks sacrifices (or the quiet move 13…Ne5), then fine. But the faith of the thematic rook is just too abstract a notion to count for much. Personally my main issue is the crazy constellation of White pieces on the 7th and 8th rank. Martin’s study has these naturalness-issues as well.
Maybe a distinction should be made between evaluating a study as a whole and evaluating its logical qualities. In that case your scepticism about logical-tactical studies is understandable, since the logic has a tendency to be destroyed/confused by the tactics and vice versa.
I always evaluate a study as a whole. It’s a ridiculous suggestion to evaluate its content separately. A composer has to think about the whole study when he decides to add a logical element (or any other idea) into a tactical scheme because this ambition may make the study worse.
I think it’s not wise to add logic when:
the position is wild and the king is far on the enemy territory;
the sides already have 3 major pieces each;
it’s impossible to insert logic without special pieces;
the material is unbalanced, it’s hard to evaluate who and why is losing or winning.
When Martin added special pieces for the sake of logic, he spoiled the study. The glass was full but he dropped there more ice cubes.
I agree on most points. What annoys me most in your list is when logic requires a large set of pieces that disappear between the logical choice/preparation and the moment when the sense of the preparatory plan/the logical choice becomes clear.
I do not think that Nf8 is not great in Babiarz’ study. The h-pawn is beyond the Troitzky line. So White can never take the f-pawn and must try to block him asap. Nd7-f8-g6-h4/e5-f3 is simply the only route. What else should White play, assuming that he knows this tiny bit of endgame theory? I don’t see any aesthetic value here.
White could play 4. Kc2? waiting for 4…f5 5.Ne5+ and 6.Nf3. But 4… Kd5!
That’s why 4.Nf8! (avoiding domination) is the best move in this study which is not original because the idea to keep Ph3 alive is known long ago. Troitzky and Vlasenko showed this in their studies.
Steffen and Martin’s joint study is really nice. Of course, the idea of Rf5 is very limited, but still, what a move! Also the introduction is spotless. But I am not sure about the comparison to Serhiy’s, see below.
Rusinek’s criteria as a judge are incomprehensible to me. Perhaps there is a logic behind it, but I simply do not get it.
The first prize has a good second phase with the thematic tries 7. Sf5 and 8. Kf8, where Black needs to avoid the white stalemate ideas. Even if the ideas are limited, it is charming that Black either captures both knights (leading to stalemate) or none! He would need just one… But the introduction feels completely out of place. (I need to check for predecessors with SS vs. BB, though.)
The second prize is instructive for practical players and a valid contribution to endgame theory, but Michael has composed aesthetically more appealing studies.
The third prize is a very classical study. Stylistically, it could have been mine. Also the third prize is now my default result. 😉 But it isn’t. Even if there is nothing spectacular, I consider this a really good achievement by Serhiy. First, a quiet and natural starting position and an excellent key that sets up the theme. With the waiting move 3. Rg3 White loses time—the h-pawn promotes after d8=Q whereas the f-pawn in the try only advances to f2. But the positional factors prevail and this justifies to sacrifice a tempo for grabbing the f-pawn. The economy is perfect. Sure, I do not expect that Serhiy will include it in his next WCCI selection, but this is a great study to show at the club (as Steffen likes to say).
The fourth and the fifth prize do not require comment: I simply fail to perceive their aesthetic qualities, or at least the kind of qualities required for a prize study. Regarding the sixth prize, the combination with 7. Rd7 is nice, but I think I have seen the final position before. Somebody wants to help my memory?
Finally, in Serhiy’s special prize I do not think that the main ideas or the play justify the rough introduction and there is a lot of material standing around. The play in the other special prize (Halski/Proskurowski) is not bad, and I am willing to forgive the check in the initial position (Serhiy has written about this in EG 156), but most players would play the king to the center without even thinking (stop f-pawn and stay close to own pawns). It is clear that 1. Kb2 has no function. This devaluates the study quite a bit. For the rest, I can imagine that chessplayers will appreciate the resourceful play from both sides.
I just want to add that the judge was informed that the final position is known and was seen before. (It is very famous). On the other hand there is important logical try (4.Kb3 instead of 4.Ka3 that also finishes with 7.Rd7!). Here is the full pgn that was sent by me
Of course, it’s original. The classical finale received a nice tactical introduction with a drop of logic. I think it suits the final point Ka2! better than any careful maneuvering shown in the earlier studies.
Мой этюд, получивший 3 приз, составлен после рассказа Халифмана. Я решил проверить варианты, но ладья выскользнула по пути вниз. Ход на g3 тоже оказался со смыслом – ладья тормозит, чтобы не притормозила черная пешка.
Sometimes a study can have too much content, too. Steffen’s 4th prize is impressive, but it feels like a six-hour Wagner opera, without breaks. There is much to like, but at the end you are above all happy that the black king has finally been checkmated. (I do not mind the passive sacrifice of the white queen, by the way.)
Timman’s Qf6!!! is a worthy winner of the tournament. But with that exception, I am not too impressed by the middlegame studies.
Too bad Oleg sent his 1. e2-e4 study to a GM who usually opens d2-d4. (Although recently there are also some e2-e4 games.) I think it deserves more than a commendation: the play is witty and humorous and the key move is surprising.
And I would have ranked Hornecker/Minski higher. Delightful miniature with wonderful economy.
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