Once Andrew Vysokosov wrote that it was easy for me to criticize Moscow study composers, because I live far away from them. And he lives close. Then I imagined how it would be dangerous for my health to walk along the street if it were populated by those who had quarreled with me.
There is nothing surprising in the fact that Yochanan Afek was one of the offended. When he published his book «Practical Chess Beauty» at the end of 2018, I wanted to end our war. I decided that it was necessary to reinforce the sincerity of my intentions by an original study in the style of the Israeli grandmaster, that is, with a simple interesting solution.
Shortly before the peace plans I had improved one of my first studies. It irritated me a little by a long proof line and a non-playing white knight. It took me 14 years to remove these drawbacks.The study doesn’t contain a line with the persecution of the black king and win of the queen by the knight’s fork. It can be seen, if after the introduction the white queen is placed on g5. Of course, I tried to combine two ideas together (zugzwang and fork), but failed. Therefore, I expressed the second idea in a separate study adding the foresight effect. Black queen was placed one square lower in order to make the knight’s route longer. The study seemed to me suitable for my talks with Yochanan.
The attempts to revive the black bishop looked hopeless, since I was not going to add any pawn for the sake of its move – the bishop works in the study. But together with the bishop a huge logical combination stirred. Having noticed it, I stopped counting pawns, I started capturing chessmen on each move just to make sure that the idea may be realized. When it was done with the help of an exchange of a pair of playing bishops, I was ready to light a candle for them in church to commemorate their feat and kneel in gratitude before the pair of the sacred pawns on the h-file.Overall, I think I have shown excellent composing skills when working at this study. But the judge S.Osintsev does not think so: “Unfortunately, the author was not able to get rid of a large number of technical pieces and the duals in the try 1.Nf8. Also, the first move in the try is more mysterious than the obvious 1.Qg5”.
The man often looks competent in studies, but when he begins evaluating a logical study, I get a sneaky suspicion that he understands non-logical studies at the same level too – superficially, with outdated pseudo considerations.
Firstly, in the try 1.Nf8 Black stops the mate by the only move Qxg7, using the fact that the g-file is open. Duals have no importance because there’s only one refutation of the plan (wrote about it a hundred times already).
Secondly, on the contrary, I got rid of many technical pieces, and spared only those that deserve a medal “For realization of a very complex idea.” It consists in successive outwitting of the opponent’s logical combination (white combination Pf7/Pg6 – black combination Ba6/Bf1 – white combination Ke1/Ke3).
Thirdly, the first move of the solution is not more obvious that a check by the knight. I swear by the f7-pawn. Remove it if you need proof.
I saw that instead of two pawns on the b-file it’s possible to use only one pawn a4 and move the bishop on the c4-square. But the price of the question before the first black move “Who doesn’t let the bishop control d3 on the 14th move?”, in my opinion, is clearly higher than one pawn, because it is not a modest neighbor b7 that will move on b5, it’s a daddy in person will come running from the far corner on c4.
Thus, a quarrel with Afek gave birth to this study. It was sent to the WCCI, while a message of peace flew to «The Problemist» in the company of a lighter study.An astonishing conclusion came to my mind – how many creative achievements are waiting for me in the future, if I start putting up with my enemies by means of a good study!? There is a sense in the biblical words “Love your enemies”!