ChessBase 25 Composing Tourney Awards – Part four

by ChessBase
5/15/2012 – We come to the Honourable Mentions and the Commendations in the tourney. Four studies by composers from the USA, Hungary, Norway and Germany. One of the studies was the successful correction of an earlier attempt which had a "cook" in the second move. The tourney judge, Dr John Nunn, presents each study and then explains it in a way that even non-experts can understand. Enjoy.

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To celebrate the 25th anniversary of ChessBase in June last year the Israeli IM and study composer Yochanan Afek, together with ARVES, the Dutch-Flemish Association for Endgame Study, announced a commemorative composing tourney for endgame studies (win or draw). There were no restrictions on the type of study. ChessBase 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 were reserved for the best composing debutants. GM Dr. John Nunn (Great Britain), three-times world champion for solving, was appointed tourney judge, while the tourney director was Luc Palmans (Belgium), chairman of ARVES (an international association promoting the art of the endgame study).

The ChessBase-25 Study Tourney

Award by John Nunn

A total of 73 eligible entries were received for this tourney, an excellent response from composers. As might be expected with so many entries, the level was variable, but the average standard was high with many interesting and original studies. The studies were given to me without the composers’ names and in the end I included 22 in the award.

Tournament judge Dr John Nunn

In part four I will present the next set of prize winners, once again as diagrams. At the bottom of the page you will find the solutions, replayable on the ChessBase JavaScript board. I urge you to try and solve the studies yourself with the help of the notes provided before you look at the solutions.

Becker,Richard, CB 25, 8th HM, 2011

White to play and win

In material terms this is somewhat similar to the 2nd Prize, but this study is markedly inferior: there are no thematic tries, and after the first move the bishop stands immobile for the remainder of the solution. Nevertheless, the systematic manoeuvres by the white queen are interesting, first of all to remove the d5-pawn with gain of tempo, and then to put Black in zugzwang after 16 Qb4!

Rusz,Arpad, CB 25, 9th HM, 2011

White to play and win

This study involves a tablebase-derived reciprocal zugzwang with added introductory play. Some features operate in the study’s favour: the initial position is extremely natural, the reciprocal zugzwang is truly amazing (even if hard to understand) and there is the almost obligatory thematic try. However, the question arises as to why Black should commit suicide by taking the c4-pawn (as given in the composer’s main line) when by playing 11...Qd4+ he could postpone defeat by 64 moves and present White with a technical task which, dare I say it, would probably defeat Vishy Anand (sorry, Vishy). Naturally composers choose attractive finishes as their main lines, but normally it’s a case of (for example) allowing mate or facing a possibly lengthy but nevertheless clear-cut loss on material. That isn’t the case here and in my view it lessens the impact of the study. In this respect it compares unfavourably with the 5th Honourable Mention, in which the zugzwang is far more amenable to human understanding.

The study appears to be a correction of the following unsound study:

Rusz, EBUR 2003

White to play and win

Solution: 1 Qe6+ Kh4 2 Qxc6 (2 Qf6+ also wins, amongst other moves) 2...Qd3 3 Qb5 Kg4 4 Qc5 Kf4 5 Qe7 Qxc4 6 Qh4+.

Ulrichsen,Jarl, CB 25, 1st Comm, 2011

White to play and win

This is of course already a tablebase position, but it makes a simple but neat study likely to appeal to players. It’s paradoxical that White must block the g6-square with his bishop, when it appears that he will need precisely this square to bring his king to the queenside.

Minski,Martin, CB 25, 2nd Comm, 2011

White to play and win

Thematic try studies based on the ‘which rook to move’ idea have been seen quite a bit recently, and this one is enlivened by Black attempting stalemate by self-incarceration of the queen and an underpromotion by Black. Nevertheless, the play simply isn’t interesting enough considering the heavy and unnatural initial position, and in the end the motivation for the choice of initial rook move turns out to be rather mundane.


Note that you can select the individual studies in the dropdown menu. Click on the notation will cause the board to display the position. You can also download the studies as a PGN file to replay and analyse with Fritz.

If you enjoyed these endgame studies, you may be interested to try the puzzles in John Nunn's book Endgame Challenge, which features 250 of the world's greatest endgame studies.

GM John Nunn is the Chess Director of Gambit Publications, a specialist chess publishing company, owned and run exclusively by chess masters and grandmasters. Gambit is committed to producing high-quality, instructive books suitable for all levels of chess player and currently have over 200 titles in print. Visit the Gambit website for details of current and forthcoming books.


ChessBase 25 Composing Tourney
08.06.2011 – 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.
ChessBase 25 Composing Tourney Awards – Part one
30.04.2012 – Special occasions in the chess world are often celebrated by chess problemists with a composition tourney. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of ChessBase we staged a commemorative tourney. A total of 73 eligible entries were received for this tourney, an excellent response. The tourney judge Dr John Nunn selected 22 prize winners and commendations. Today we bring you the top four.
ChessBase 25 Composing Tourney Awards – Part two
30.04.2012 – This tourney attracted wide participation – 73 entries, from which the tourney judge GM John Nunn selected 22 prize winners and commendations. In a second instalment of new studies, selected by the tourney judge, Dr Nunn, in his wonderful explanatory style, presents some dramatic themes, and also looks at two predecessors to one of the prize winning entries.
ChessBase 25 Composing Tourney Awards – Part three
30.04.2012 – We continue our tour of chess studies, guided by GM John Nunn, who explains the finer points with great care. The studies were all submitted as part of a composing tourney to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ChessBase last June and came from all over the world. In today's installment we encounter studies from Ukraine, Germany, Austria, Russia and Holland.

Anniversary articles for 25 years of ChessBase

ChessBase is 25 – everything 25% off in our shop
19.05.2011 – It is difficult to determine the exact date when ChessBase was born. Was it when a science journalist and a future World Champion discussed computer databases? Or when a very talented programmer started to actually write one? We think it was when the two showed the prototype to the World Champion and decided, at his urging, to commercialise the product. That was May 19, 1986.
Greetings from Pál Benkö for 25 years of ChessBase
20.05.2011 – "Congratulations to ChessBase on your 25th anniversary! Your news page is the the first thing I look at every day when I go on the Internet. You do such wonderful work. Keep up your great service for the whole chess world." Heartening words from legendary great chess player, theorist, author and problem composer – who in addition sent six anniversary puzzles for our readers.
ChessBase is 25: Birthday greetings from Anand
01.06.2011 – Our company was born on May 19, 1986, twenty-five years ago, and on May 19, 2011 one of our most loyal friends, World Champion Viswanathan Anand, logged into the Playchess server and sent us a ten-minute birthday greeting. It was quite moving to be reminded of the early days by one who was present at the time – and who has remained a close friend ever since. Must-watch historical video.
Kasparov on 25 Years of ChessBase
08.06.2011 – He was there at the start – actually before that, when a chess database was just an idea in the minds of a few enthusiasts. And when he saw the first prototype Garry Kasparov immediately pushed for its completion. For the 25th anniversary of ChessBase he sent us a very moving statement, recorded in his study in Moscow, describing the birth of what he calls the ChessBase generation.

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