23 original studies were published on the website in 2018. Only 5 of them received distinctions, but almost all the studies earned the judge’s opinion. My business is to evaluate and it’s up to you to decide what to do with my opinion.
In the classical comedy Freddy strikes first. In this tourney Michal and Lubos were the first to send in their studies. Alas, one study features a boring stalemate with pinned pieces and the content of another is a ‘chewing-gum’ from the tablebase. Studies with such content shouldn’t be awarded in modern tourneys.
M.Minski had used his quota of two studies on presenting children’s ideas before I was appointed a judge. The first one looks not original, because all that Martin did was to remove unnecessary pieces in the combination from a game by V.Anand.
R.Bekker published a correction of his study from Y.Akobia MT. Apparently his intention was to show it somewhere before sending the study to the WCCI.
A study by three authors V.Shanshin, A.Zhuravlev, A.Oleynik received quite high points from the judges (8-10 from 15) in the Russian Team Championship, though it lacks originality because of the study by V.Kalyagin, J.Rusinek, V.Kirillov (MK Chavchavadze 1987). The second mate is the same as the main one but of smaller size.
P.Arestov and A.Zhukov added queens to a known scheme. It is not clear why it was necessary to mess it up with queens, as three minor promotions were realized long ago without heavy artillery, for example, in the study by M.Katetov (1937).
The logical study by Luis Gonzalez shows a dozen moves foresight but the battle is too bloody and not very interesting.
In the Aliev’s studies, as always, we see small and not new ideas. I’ve got the impression that the author doesn’t have the time to produce something more serious. I can see Ilham getting home from work, sitting down at the chessboard, and five minutes later his wife is yelling from the kitchen: “Come and have dinner or I’ll burn your chess!”.
Mate studies by S.Abramenko have too heavy introductions. Without economical initial position a mate study is not of any interest, even if the finale hasn’t been shown before. Looking for an interesting intro a composer needs to cultivate in him a Japanese patience. The Japanese do it like this: they scatter peas, and when the child has picked them, his parents scatter the peas all over again. So, when you have found some moves leading to the mate, the next step is to forget everything, and make a new introduction, trying to save a pawn at least. It looks like Y.Bazlov used such a system to develop his skills because he gets angry when I criticize his studies. And how could he not get angry, if he has to pick up peas all the time?
V.Boltunov, V.Koshelnikov and A.Shpakovsky hit upon interesting endgames with heavy pieces. There are some nice quiet moves. But together with other moves and lines their beauty disappears somewhere. The idea is a glowing ember and if you blow at it, you can either light the fire or extinguish the last sparks. Obviously, it is necessary to blow in a different way.
The prize studies of the tourney made it memorable for years to come.