ChessBase 25 Composing Tourney Awards – Part two

by ChessBase
5/3/2012 – 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 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


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 two 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.

Gasparyan,Alexey, CB 25, 5th Prize, 2011

White to play and draw

A study with player and solver appeal. After some interesting introductory play, the key position arises with a surprising queen sacrifice by Black. White has the opportunity to take Black’s queen with check, but incredibly this loses and the only way to draw is for White to first sacrifice his own knight. The effect of the knight’s self-destruction is that White can stalemate himself one move more quickly, and this saves the day.

Martin,Luis Miguel, CB 25, Special Prize, 2011

White to play and win

This lightweight study placed me in a dilemma. It has a simple idea, but one which is presented with utmost clarity and in wonderfully elegant style. There’s a reciprocal zugzwang and in order to reach it with Black to move, White has to play an anticipatory tempo-losing move with his king. As a final flourish, the study ends with an attractive mate.

The problem is that the mating idea has been seen before, for example in:

Evreinov, 2nd Prize, Lelo 1973

White to play and win

Solution: 1 Nf5 Rxe4 2 Nh6+ Kh8 3 Rg5! Re3+ 4 Kh4 Re4+ 5 Kh5 Re5 6 Rxe5 Rxf6 7 Re8+ Kg7 8 Rg8#.

Another forerunner even includes the full march of the king up the h-file:

Kovalenko, Best Problems 2004

White to play and win

Solution: 1 Rf8+ Rxf8 2 Nf7+ Kg8 3 Nh6+ Kh8 4 Rg5 Re2+ 5 Kxh1 Re1+ 6 Kh2 Re2+ 7 Kh3 Re3+ 8 Kh4 Re4+ 9 Kh5 Re5 10 Rxe5 Rxf6 11 Re8+ Kg7 12 Rg8#.

The current study by Luis Martin adds an important element, namely the triangulation of the white king, and the construction is excellent, with a light and natural position. However, I cannot ignore the fact that the study is only an incremental advance over what has gone before.

Studies such as this are favourites with over-the-board players and they have an important place in popularising studies in the wider chess world. The position is easy to remember and the solution involves no distracting sidelines or complex analysis, so it’s perfect for showing off at the local chess club or for use in solving competitions. For these purposes, the fact that there are forerunners isn’t important, and if the study was buried somewhere in the Honourable Mentions it might not attract the attention it deserves. Therefore, I have decided on the traditional judge’s cop-out: a Special Prize.

Afek,Yochanan, CB 25, 1st HM, 2011

White to play and win

In a really natural position, White’s only winning hope is to create a passed h-pawn and promote it. In order to achieve this, he not only has to sacrifice his rook, but also to undertake a simple but attractive triangulation with his king in order to put Black in an unexpected zugzwang.

Amann,Günter, CB 25, 2nd HM, 2011

White to play and draw

A simple but very entertaining study. Based on a rook’s pawn plus wrong bishop draw, White sacrifices his knight to pull off an amazing draw despite being a rook and bishop down. Similar draws are known in which the rook gets trapped in the corner of the board, but this is unusual in that the rook is trapped in mid-board.


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.


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.

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.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register