ChessBase 25 Composing Tourney Awards – Part three

by ChessBase
5/9/2012 – 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.

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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 three 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.

Didukh,Sergiy, CB 25, 3rd HM, 2011

White to play and draw

A short but pointed study in which the main impact lies in the humorous position after 4 Rxg2!. Black can take either rook with check, but then ends up with his rooks forked. In each line, he then has two ways to capture White’s remaining rook, but all four possibilities end in stalemate. The sideline after 2...Rxb2 is also quite interesting.

Prusikin,Michael, CB 25, 4th HM, 2011

White to play and draw

A game-like initial position leads to spectacular play involving an underpromotion and an unexpected mid-board mate. In order to avoid perpetual check Black must surrender a whole rook, allowing to White to accumulate enough material to reach a safe draw. Unfortunately, the finish comes as something of an anti-climax after the earlier play.

Krug,Peter, CB 25 revised, 5th HM, 2011

White to play and win

White can force mate in 13 from the diagram and apart from a minor dual at the end, this position could have been a moremover. The play is fairly entertaining with White aiming to mate with his rook either on h5 or along the back rank, while Black counters White’s mating attempts by trying to force stalemate. It looks as if zugzwang will arise, but in fact White operates at all times with direct and rather brutal threats. The move 8 Rd8 is simply to allow the rook to move to the fifth rank after Be6+, and is not in any way a waiting move. Another negative factor is the initial position, in which most of the pieces on the board are already en prise.

Kalashnikov,V, Skripnik,A, CB 25, 6th HM, 2011

White to play and win

It’s often hard to judge a study such as this, in which a computer-generated reciprocal zugzwang (or in this case a set of them) is dressed up with some introductory play. A thematic try leads to the first of the three zugzwangs with the wrong player to move, but the other two cannot arise with White to play. While this type of composition has its limits, there is no doubt that the hesitation move of the white a-pawn is attractive, and at least the motivation for the zugzwangs is relatively easy to understand. The introductory play is adequate without being really spectacular.

Van der Heijden,Harold, CB 25, 7th HM, 2011

White to play and win

The key to this study is Black’s Plachutta interference on d4. This can arise in various different forms, but only one allows White to win. In this regard, the timing of the check on e7 is everything: White must wait until the black queen is committed to g7 before giving the check, or else White’s loss of control of e5 allows Black to draw. The problem with the study is that White wins not because of any positive action by himself, but more because Black’s counterplay happens to fail with one particular arrangement of White’s pieces.


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.

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.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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