Yochanan Afek's Study of the Year 2012

2/16/2014 – The contest, which is organised by the World Federation for Chess Composition, awards the prizes to chess studies that were aesthetically pleasing, that appeal to chess players of various levels and encourage them to pay more attention to the subject. 24 entries were received for 2012, and Israeli composer Jochanan Afek won first prize. Enjoy his work and the top eight studies of the year.

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Study of the Year 2012

The selection of “The Study of the Year“ is organized by the World Federation for Chess Composition and aimed at introducing a single friendly endgame study to the general public. The study was expected to be one that appeals to chess players of various levels and encourages them to pay more attention to endgame studies. Composers were invited to submit a single study (either their own or by others) that was published (either in a magazine or in an award) during the year 2012.

In all, 24 candidate studies were considered by an international panel of endgame study experts (David Gurgenidze, Oleg Pervakov, Gady Costeff, Ilham Aliev and Harold van der Heijden), who scored the studies independently. The individual scores of all candidates can be found here. The winning entry was the following:

Yochanan Afek, J. Timman-60 Jubilee tourney 2012
Second prize – Study of the Year 2012

White to play and win

We urge you to try and solve this problem of the year yourself. If you do not succeed, or if you want to check your analysis, you can do so here:

[Event "Study of the Year "] [Site "?"] [Date "2012.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Afek, Yochanan"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1kn2B2/2R1RP2/2P5/7r/8/1P1p2q1/K7/2N5 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "33"] [EventDate "2012.09.11"] 1. Rb7+ (1. Rxc8+ $2 Kxc8 2. Re8+ Kc7 3. Bd6+ Qxd6 4. f8=Q Qxf8 (4... Rh2+ 5. Kb1 Qxf8 6. Rxf8 d2 7. Rf1 dxc1=Q+ 8. Rxc1 Rh6 $11) 5. Rxf8 d2 6. Rf1 dxc1=Q 7. Rxc1 Ra5+ $1 8. Kb2 Ra6 $11) 1... Ka8 2. Ra7+ $3 Nxa7 3. Re8+ Nc8 4. Rxc8+ Ka7 5. Bc5+ $1 Rxc5 6. Ra8+ $3 (6. f8=Q $2 Qg2+ 7. Ka3 Ra5+ 8. Kb4 Qd2+ 9. Kc4 Qxc1+ $11 {with perpetual check}) 6... Kxa8 7. f8=Q+ Qb8 8. Qxc5 d2 9. c7 (9. Qa5+ $4 Qa7 $19) 9... dxc1=N+ $1 {A new black knight is born on the square where his white counterpart was captured...} 10. Kb1 $1 (10. Qxc1 $2 Qxc7 $1 11. Qxc7 $11) 10... Qc8 $1 (10... Qxb3+ 11. Kxc1 $18) 11. Qc6+ Ka7 12. Kxc1 Qh3 $1 13. c8=N+ $1 {and a new white knight is born on the square where a black knight was captured!} (13. c8=Q $2 {(13. c8 R?)} Qf1+ $11 {and stalemate by the black desperado queen}) (13. c8=B $19 Qxb3 14. Qc7+ Ka8 $11) 13... Kb8 14. Nb6 $1 Qxb3 15. Qc8+ Ka7 16. Qa8+ Kxb6 17. Qb8+ {Mutual Phoenix theme: Both black and white knights are captured and reborn on the very same squares!} 1-0

Yochanan Afek (born 16 April 1952 in Tel Aviv) is an Israeli chess player, composer, trainer and arbiter, the only person to possess an international titles at four different facets of chess, being an International Master, International Master of the chess compositions, International Arbiter and International Arbiter of the chess compositions.

Information provided by Harold van der Heijden

A selection of best studies (places 2-8)

[Event "1.p FIDE Olympic Ty 2012"] [Site "?"] [Date "2012.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Didukh, Sergei"] [Black "White to play and draw"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "K1k5/P7/1p6/2p5/1P6/8/1bP3P1/8 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "26"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. b5 $1 ({Thematic try} 1. c3 $2 cxb4 $1 (1... b5 $2 2. g4 Bc1 (2... Bxc3 3. g5 cxb4 4. g6 Bd4 5. g7 $11) 3. g5 $1 Bxg5 4. c4 $3 cxb4 5. cxb5 Kc7 6. b6+ Kxb6 7. Kb8 Bf4+ 8. Ka8 Be3 9. Kb8 $11) 2. cxb4 b5 3. g4 Bg7 {(Kc7)} 4. g5 Kc7 {(Bg7)} 5. g6 Kb6 6. Kb8 Be5+ 7. Ka8 Ka6 {zz -+}) 1... Bc3 $1 2. g3 $3 ({ Thematic try} 2. g4 $2 c4 {(Kc7)} 3. g5 Kc7 4. g6 Kc8 5. g7 Bxg7 6. c3 Bd4 $1 7. cxd4 c3 8. d5 c2 9. d6 c1=Q $19) 2... Kc7 3. g4 Kc8 4. g5 Kc7 5. g6 c4 6. g7 Bxg7 7. c3 Bd4 8. cxd4 c3 9. d5 c2 10. d6+ {(check!)} Kxd6 (10... Kc8 11. d7+ Kxd7 12. Kb7 c1=Q 13. a8=Q Qh1+ 14. Ka7 $11) 11. Kb7 c1=Q 12. a8=Q Qh1+ 13. Kxb6 Qxa8 {stalemate} 1/2-1/2

Sergei Didukh, born 1976 in Ukraine, one of the most talented chess composers

[Event "5.Hm CB 25 AT "] [Site "?"] [Date "2011.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Krug, Peter"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r2bk1/r1R3p1/2n3K1/8/6BP/8/8/2R5 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "19"] [EventDate "2011.??.??"] 1. Be6+ Kh8 2. Rc5 (2. Rxc8 Ne7+ 3. Kg5 Nxc8 4. Rxc8 Kh7 5. Rxf8 Ra5+) 2... Ne7+ 3. Rxe7 Rxc5 4. Re8 Rf5 (4... Rg5+ 5. hxg5 Ra8 6. Bc8 Kg8 7. Rd8 Rb8 8. Be6+) 5. Bxf5 (5. Kxf5 Kh7 6. Rxf8 Ra5+ 7. Kg4 Ra4+ 8. Kg3 Ra3+ 9. Kg2 Ra4 10. Kg3 Ra3+ 11. Kg4 Ra4+ 12. Kg5 Ra5+ 13. Bf5+ g6 14. Rf7+ Kg8 15. Kxg6 Ra6+ 16. Rf6 Rxf6+ 17. Kxf6 Kh8) 5... Ra6+ 6. Be6 Ra8 7. Bc8 Kg8 8. Rd8 (8. h5 Rb8 9. h6 Rxc8 10. h7+ Kh8 11. Rxc8) 8... Rb8 9. Be6+ Kh8 10. Rd5 1-0

[Event "1.pl Team Championship of Russia"] [Site "?"] [Date "2012.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Pervakov, Oleg"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1k6/pN2pp2/r3r3/2R4B/Rp6/p7/7p/7K w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "17"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. Na5 $1 b3 (1... Rab6 2. Bg4 Re1+ 3. Kxh2 e6 4. Nc4 $18) 2. Rb4+ $1 Reb6 3. Rbc4 Rxa5 4. Rc8+ Kb7 5. R8c7+ $1 Ka6 $1 6. Be2 a2 (6... b2 7. Rc3+ Rbb5 8. R3c6#) (6... e6 7. Rd4+ Rbb5 8. Rd6#) 7. Bf1 $3 {zz} a1=Q ({Main} 7... b2 8. Rc3+ Rab5 ({Main} 8... Rbb5 9. R3c6#) 9. Ra3#) ({Main} 7... e6 8. Rd4+ Rbb5 ({ Main} 8... Rab5 9. Ra4#) 9. Rd6#) ({Main} 7... f6 8. Re4+ Rbb5 ({Main} 8... Rab5 9. Ra4#) 9. Re6#) 8. Rc1+ Rab5 ({Main} 8... Rbb5 9. R1c6#) 9. Rxa1# 1-0

In the following remarkable study the theme change of functions of pieces carried out twice: in the first phase in sequential form (rook and bishop), in the second in parallel form (bishop and king).

[Event "1.p Zinchuk 75 MT"] [Site "?"] [Date "2012.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Eilazyan, Eduard"] [Black "White to play and draw"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1B6/K2k3p/3P4/8/3r2p1/6R1/p7/8 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "41"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. Ra3 $1 Rd2 2. Kb6 $1 g3 3. Ra7+ Kc8 4. Bc7 g2 5. Kc6 $1 Rc2+ 6. Kd5 g1=Q 7. d7+ $1 Kxd7 {[%cal Rg1a7] The R-B battery has been built, but the rook is under attack by the queen. Therefore,} 8. Bb6+ $1 {The bishop defends the rook. } Rc7 $1 9. Rxc7+ Kd8 {[%cal Rg1b6] And now the black queen attacks the white bishop in the B-R battery (a similar situation).} 10. Rc5+ $1 {The rook defends the bishop. The situation has been completely repeated, with a change of functions of the rook and bishop!} Ke8 11. Rc8+ Kf7 12. Rc7+ Kg6 13. Rg7+ $1 Kxg7 14. Bxg1 {Now begins the second phase of the struggle.} Kg6 $1 (14... a1=Q 15. Bd4+) 15. Bd4 Kf5 16. Bc3 $3 h5 17. Kd4 Kf4 18. Kd3 $1 Kf3 ({main} 18... h4 19. Ke2 $1 Kg3 20. Kf1 $11 {[%cal Rc3a1,Rf1h1] The h-pawn is stopped by the king and a-pawn by the bishop!} Kh2 21. Kf2 h3) 19. Kc2 $1 h4 20. Kb2 h3 21. Be5 $11 {[%cal Re5h2,Rb2a1] And here there is a similar situation, but with a change of function of the bishop and the king.} 1/2-1/2

[Event "Fritz MT100 2nd/3rd Pr"] [Site "?"] [Date "2012.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Avni/Afek, Amazya/Yochanan"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/7p/6p1/b3rP1k/5K2/4N1R1/5n2/2B5 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "15"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. Rg5+ (1. Kxe5 Bc7+ 2. Kd5 Bxg3 3. f6 Bh4 4. f7 Be7) (1. f6 Nd3+ 2. Kf3 Nxc1 3. Rh3+ Kg5 4. f7 Bb4) 1... Kh6 (1... Kh4 2. Ng2+ Kh3 3. Kxe5) 2. Ng4+ (2. Kxe5 Kxg5 3. Nd1+ Kh4 4. Nxf2 Bc7+ 5. Ke4 gxf5+) 2... Nxg4 3. Kxg4 {White threatens mate in a move and Black appears to be helpless:} Kg7 ({for instance} 3... Re4+ 4. Kf3 $1 Rc4 5. Rxg6+ Kh5 6. Rh6#) 4. Bb2 (4. f6+ Kxf6 5. Bb2 h5+ 6. Kh4 Be1+) 4... Bd8 $1 (4... h5+ 5. Kh4 Bd8 (5... Bc7 6. Bxe5+ (6. Rxg6+ Kf7 7. Bxe5 Bxe5 8. Kxh5) 6... Bxe5 7. Rxg6+ Kf7 8. Kxh5) (5... Be1+ 6. Kh3 Kf6 7. Rg1) 6. Bxe5+ Kh6 7. f6) 5. f6+ $1 (5. Bxe5+ Kf7 6. f6 h6 7. Kf4 hxg5+ 8. Kxg5 Bxf6+) 5... Bxf6 6. Bxe5 Kh6 7. Bd6 $1 Bxg5 8. Bf8# 1-0

[Event "1.p Ural's Problemist"] [Site "?"] [Date "2012.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Tarasiuk, Vlasislav"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "k4K1B/p6P/p1P5/2P5/8/bn6/B5pQ/2q5 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "23"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. Qb8+ $1 Kxb8 2. Be5+ Ka8 (2... Kc8 3. h8=Q Qxc5+ 4. Kf7+ Qf8+ 5. Qxf8+ Bxf8 6. Bxb3 g1=Q 7. Be6+ Kd8 8. c7#) 3. h8=Q Qh1 4. Bh2 Qxh2 $1 5. Qxh2 g1=Q $1 6. Qxg1 Bxc5+ 7. Ke8 $3 Bxg1 8. c7 Kb7 9. Kd7 $1 Nc5+ 10. Kd8 Ne6+ $1 11. Bxe6 Bb6 12. Bd5# 1-0

[Event "3-4th place, Moscow Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2012.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Osintsev, Sergey"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "k7/b2p4/7P/1N4QB/8/7q/K1p5/3n4 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "27"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. h7 (1. Qd5+ $2 Kb8 2. Qe5+ Kb7 3. Qc7+ Ka6 4. Be2 Qe6+ 5. Bc4 Qb6 6. Nd4+ Ka5 7. Qxb6+ Kxb6 8. Nxc2 Bb8 $11) (1. Qd8+ $2 Bb8 2. Qf6 Nc3+ 3. Nxc3 Qxh5 4. Qa6+ Ba7 5. Kb2 Qd1 $11) 1... Qe6+ 2. Ka3 Qe7+ $1 (2... Qc6 3. h8=Q+ Kb7 4. Qc8+ $1 Qxc8 5. Nd6+ $18) 3. Qxe7 c1=Q+ 4. Ka4 $1 ({Thematic try} 4. Kb3 $2 Qb1+ $1 5. Ka4 Nb2+ 6. Ka5 (6. Kb4 Nd3+ 7. Ka5 Qa2+ 8. Qa3 Qxa3+ 9. Nxa3 Bd4 $11) 6... Qa2+ 7. Qa3 Qxa3+ 8. Nxa3 Bd4 $13) (4. Kb4 $2 Qd2+ $1 5. Ka4 Nb2+ $1 6. Kb3 Qd5+ $1 7. Kxb2 Qxb5+ 8. Kc3 Qc6+ 9. Kd3 Qd5+ $11) 4... Nb2+ 5. Ka5 (5. Kb3 $2 Qc4+ 6. Kxb2 Qxb5+ $11) 5... Nc4+ (5... Qa1+ 6. Na3 $18) 6. Ka6 (6. Kb4 $2 Qb2+ 7. Kxc4 d5+ $1 8. Kxd5 Qxb5+ $11) 6... Qh6+ 7. Nd6 Nxd6 8. Qg5 $3 (8. Bf3+ $2 Ne4+ 9. Ka5 Bb6+ $19) (8. Bg6 $2 Qxg6 9. h8=Q+ Nc8+ $11) 8... Qxg5 ( 8... Qe6 9. Qg8+ $1 Nc8+ 10. Qxe6 $18) (8... Qxh7 9. Qd8+ Bb8 10. Bf3+ Ne4 11. Qb6 $18) 9. h8=Q+ Bb8 10. Bf3+ Ne4 11. Bxe4+ d5 12. Qg7 $3 Qxg7 13. Bxd5+ Qb7+ 14. Bxb7# 1-0

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