ChessBase 25 Composing Tourney

6/8/2011 – Special occasions in the chess world are often accompanied by a chess composition tourney. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of ChessBase, the Israeli study composer IM Yochanan Afek, together with the Dutch-Flemish Association for Endgame Study, ARVES, has announced a commemorative tourney. All are invited to test their creative skills.

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ChessBase 25 Composing Tourney

By IM Yochanan Afek

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of ChessBase, the world’s leading chess software company, we are announcing a special composing tourney for endgame studies (win or draw). There are no restrictions on the type of study. ChessBase have generously offered some of their products as prizes. First prize: A copy of the famous Fritz program signed by over-the-board world champions. Special prizes will be awarded to the best composing débutants.

The tourney judge is GM Dr. John Nunn (Great Britain), World champion for solving. The tourney director is Luc Palmans (Belgium), chairman of ARVES (an international association promoting the art of the endgame study).

Entries (not more than three per composer) should be sent to the tourney director by e-mail: palmans.luc@skynet.be not later than 31.12.2011. Luc Palmans will only accept entries by Email. Please attach pgn files. The judge’s award will be published on the ChessBase news page by the end of March 2012.


Just like in the realm of over the board chess, special events are often celebrated by organizing composing tourneys. Let us have a look in such a couple of recent occasions.

Four years ago the Tata Steel Tournament (at the time still the Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee) celebrated its 70th edition with a variety of special competitions. The endgame studies composing tourney was one of the highlights. The hero of the Corus-70 Jubilee Tourney was the prominent Russian composer Yuri Bazlov who shared the first prize and won also the third prize. As the tourney’s judge I found the following effort an especially memorable one:

Yuri Bazlov, 1st- 2nd Pr. Corus-70 2008

White to play and win

1.Bh4+! 1.Qxc8? Qa4+; 1.Rf7+? Kxf7 2.Qf5+ Sf6 3.h8S+ Kf8 4.Qxc8+ Se8 5.Sg6+ Kf7 6.Qf5+ Qf6. 1...Qxh4 2.Rf7+! Kxf7 3.Qf5+ Qf6 4.Qxf6+ exf6. 4...Sxf6 5.h8Q Bf4 looks promising, but after 6.Qg7+ Ke6 7.h7 Sxh7 8.Qxh7 Sd6 9.Qg6+ Ke5 10.Kd7 the valuable e7-pawn is lost and Black loses. 5.h8Q Bf8! 6.h7. After 6.Qh7+? Bg7 7.hxg7 Sxg7 8.Qe4 Se7+ Black has a draw position. 6...Se7+ 7.Kd7 Sg7 8.Qg8+! Sxg8 9.h8S mate.

Fighting to the last pawn with four active self blocks for a model mate by a newly born knight. The tense foreplay is full of surprisingly neat sacrifices, gradually leading to an ideal mate in which all units take part and every square around the mated king is guarded just once. A superb demonstration of clarity, purity and economy! [Click to replay]

A special composing tourney was announced for the occasion of the chess Olympiad in Dresden. Our judge John Nunn, is apparently not the only devoted composer among over the board grandmaster. Here is a very interesting effort by a German grandmaster which was awarded with a special prize by yours truly:

Michael Prusikin, Special prize,
Olympic Tourney Dresden 2008

White to play and win

1.Bxf7! Kxf7. 1... Nc5 2.e6 a4 3.Kb1 b4 4.h5 Ne4 5.h6 Nf6 6.Bg6 c5 7.h7 Nxh7 8.Bxh7 Ke7 9.h4. 2.e6+ Kf6 3.h5 Nc3 4.h6 Nd5

5.e7!! 5.h7? Kg7 6.e7 Nf6) (5.h4? Nc7 6.h5 Ne8 7.Kb2 c5 8.Kb3 b4 9.Ka2 c4 10.Ka1 a4 11.Kb1 c3 12.Kc2 Nd6 13.h7 Kg7 14.f6+ Kxh7 15.e7 b3+ 16.Kxc3 Ne4+ 17.Kb2 Nxf6 5.h3? Nc7 6.Kb2 Ne8 7.h4 b4 8.h5 c5 9.Kb3 c4+ 10.Kb2 a4 11.Kb1 b3 12.Kb2 Nd6 13.h7 Kg7 14.f6+ Kxh7 15.e7 c3+.

5... Nxe7. 5...Kxe7 6.h7. 6.h7 Ng6. 6...Kg7 7.f6+ Kxf6 (7...Kxh7 8.fxe7) 8.h8=Q+. 7.fxg6 Kg7 8.Kb2! c5. 8...a4 9.Ka3! (9.h3 b4 =) 9...c5 10.h3! Kh8 11.h4 Kg7 12.h5 c4 13.Kb4+–

9.h3!! 9.h4? Kh8 10. h5 Kg7; 9.Kb3? Kh8 10.h3 (10.h4 Kg711.h5 b4! 12.h6+ Kh8 13.Kb2 a4 =) 10... a4+ 11.Ka3 c4 12.Kb4 Kg7 13.h4 Kh8 14.h5 Kg7–+. 9... Kh8 10.h4 Kg7 11.h5 Kh8 12.h6 b4. 12...c4 13.Kc3 a4 14. Kb4; 12...a4 13. Ka3 c4 14. Kb4. 13.Kb3 c4+ 14.Kxc4 and wins, e.g. 14...b3 15.Kxb3 a4+ 16.Ka2 a3 17.g7+ Kxh7 18.Kxa3+–. [Click to replay]

Composing tourneys are a pleasant way to celebrate major events, but also to pay tribute to prominent chess personalities. Georgian chess composition has dedicated a special annual international tourney to honour the former women world champion GM Nona Gaprindashvili. The identity of the following prizewinner is not mysterious either:

Jan Timman, 2nd Prize, NONA 2010

White to play and draw

1.h7. 1.Nf8+? Kc6 2.h7 Bb2 3.Rc2+ Kd5-+; 1.Nc5+ dxc5 2.h7 Rb1 3.Rxa2 Rb8+ 4.Kg7 Be3–+. 1...Bb2 2.Nc5+! 2.Nf8+? Kc6 3.Rxb2 Rg1+ 4.Kf7 Rg7+!-+; 2.Rxb2? Rg1+ 3.Kf7 Rf1+ 4.Kg6 Rf6+!–+ 2...dxc5. 2...Kc6 3.Rxb2 Rg1+ 4.Kf7 Rf1+ 5.Kg6 Rf6+ 6.Kxf6 a1Q 7.Nd3=. 3.Rxb2 Rg1+ 4.Kh8! Rg2! 4...a1R 5.Rd2+=; 4...a1Q stalemate. 5.Rb1! Rg8+. 5...Rh2 6.Ra1=. 6.hxg8Q axb1Q 7.Qg4+ Kd8 8.Qg8+ Kd7 9.Qg4+ Kd6 10.Qg6+ Qxg6 stalemate! [Click to replay]

You are all invited then to demonstrate your creative skills in the Composing Birthday Celebrations of ChessBase, and be rewarded for your efforts with one of its quality products.

Yochanan Afek, 59, is an Israeli chess player, composer, trainer and arbiter. He is the only person to possess international titles at four different facets of chess, being an OTB International Master, an International Master of the chess compositions, an International Arbiter and an International Arbiter of the chess compositions.


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