Chess Informant Jubilee Tourney

by Yochanan Afek
5/29/2017 – Older readers will remember it well: for decades the Chess Informant – Šahovski Informator – was a lifeline for serious chess players. Two, later three issues per year provided a selection of games and top-grade analysis. Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Vladimir Kramnik, and Viswanathan Anand have all said that the Informant was central to their tournament preparation. Now, after 50 years of publication, we are treated to a Jubilee Tournament of chess studies, which we bring you with the kind permission of Tourney Director Yochanan Afek.

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Chess Informant – 50th Jubilee Tourney

Final award by Yochanan Afek

The world famous chess periodical Sahovski Informator, founded in 1966 by GM Alexander Matanovic who headed a group of strong and enthusiastic players, celebrated its 50th anniversary by organizing an International composing tourney for endgame studies. Privileged to act as its judge I received 36 anonymous entries from the tourney director Gady Costeff, to whom I am grateful for his invaluable assistance in checking the candidate entries for soundness and originality.

The general standard of the field was very good. I gave some priority to players' friendly entries i.e. those with “digestible” settings as well as comprehensive ideas and solutions. Most of the entries luckily did match these unwritten requests. Personally I am not particularly fond of artificial efforts to stretch a sufficiently lengthy solution by either multiple piece exchanges (in this case on the very same square) or unnecessary BTM stipulation.

Two of the more serious candidates suffering from these flaws I decided to allow a second chance in another tourney instead of ranking them low. Two other entries improved on prize-winners from previous major events which I had judged. I hesitated before deciding to award each of them a deserved special honourable mention.

Here is my top ranking. You know that you can move the pieces on the board to analyse the positions. So why not try to solve them before looking at the solutions at the end.

M. Hlinka & L. Kekely, Slovakia – First Prize


Following the zugzwang after the quiet eighth move White's rook and bishop create a second battery. By exchanging roles as the front and the rear pieces of the newly formed battery the thematic pieces change also the targetted half of the royal couple! Surprisingly In the final move even two batteries are activated with the rook as the rear piece, and this time both bishops are the front ones! All this occurs with no need for even any extra material on board! A genuine chess miracle!

M. Minski, Germany – Second prize


In the course of the solution each side promotes a second queen. However the side that sacrifices both his queens is the one to emerge the eventual winner against the remaining enemy queen! A breathtaking lengthy battle with plenty of quiet moves and subtle finesses.

Yochanan Afek with Martin Minski and his wife Wiesia. Martin is a teacher from Berlin and currently by far the leading German composer – and one of the world's best.

M. Minski, Germany & O. Pervakov, Russia – Third Prize


Materially Black seems to do fine, yet White's bishop and advanced pawn eventually make the difference. A game-like epic saga of a heroic sacrificial battle, decided by a subtle pawn move. The mutual quiet queen sacrifices in the battle on the h-file are eye catching.

Martin Minski and Oleg Pervakov

S. Hornecker & M. Minski, Germany – Fourth Prize


The aim of White's sacrificial play is obviously to turn his remaining queen to a crazy one. Following a mutual rook sacrifice, an original systematic maneuver of the white bishop and the black king prepares the ground by the quiet and powerful seventh move.

P. Arestov, Russia & V.Tarasiuk, Ukraine – Special Prize


A surprising discovery is behind this logical study based on a crystal clear reciprocal zugzwang. The special prize is also for the best theoretical contribution.

Replay all the solutions on our analytical boards

You probably know that on our JavaScript board you can move pieces to analyse, and even start an engine to help you. You can maximize the replayer, auto-play, flip the board and even change the piece style in the bar below the board. At the bottom of the notation window on the right there are buttons for editing (delete, promote, cut lines, unannotate, undo, redo) save, play out the position against Fritz and even embed our JavaScript replayer on your web site or blog. Hovering the mouse over any button will show you its function.

The rest of the selected studies – Honorary Mentions and Commendations – will be brought to you in similar form at a later date. For now enjoy the top prize winners.

Yochanan was born (1952) and grew up in Tel-Aviv, and now lives in Amsterdam. He has been involved in nearly every aspect of chess, both as a professional and a volunteer, for the last 50 years, and remains an active player, composer, writer, organizer, trainer and commentator. He is an International Master and International Arbiter for chess as well as International Grandmaster for chess composition, and the author of Extreme Chess Tactics (Gambit 2017) and Practical Chess Beauty (Quality Chess 2018).


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