Isenegger Memorial Study Tourney

9/30/2014 – The Swiss composer Samuel Isenegger, who died 50 years ago, specialized in the David vs. Goliath theme of pawns fighting pieces. To commemorate his anniversary the Dutch-Flemish endgame study society ARVES staged a tourney with this motif. The composition judge Yochanan Afek has kindly sent us the entries of the winners – wonderful chess compositions from which we can all learn.

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ARVES Isenegger Memorial Tourney (Part one)

Yochanan Afek on the endgame studies in Bern WCCF congress 2014

This tourney commemorates the well-known endgame study composer Samuel Isenegger (2.11.1899 – 15.11.1964), who was born in Bern the Swiss capital and passed away fifty years ago. A repeating motif in his studies – pawns fighting pieces – was selected as the theme of this event. A Jenever tourney record of 33 entries by 20 composers from 11 countries. The general standard proved exceptionally high, especially for such a short deadline.

Dorette and Harold van der Heijden, Composition GM Davit Gurgenidze, endgame expert John Roycroft

My thanks go to Harold van der Heijden for sacrificing a whole day in Bern to check the entries for originality, soundness and thematic validity; to ARVES officials Marcel van Herck and Luc Palmans for their technical and moral support; and to all participants worldwide whose enthusiasm and creativity turned this tourney to a remarkable success.

Pawns fighting pieces, in the spirit of David vs. Goliath encounters, have always been popular. However this event has shown that with and without the help of modern technology it is still possible to delve even deeper and enrich this sub-genre with new findings. Since the power of the pawns is at the focus of attention, play following promotion or under-promotion was not considered thematic. Quite a few composers have shown interesting realizations of the Festina Lente theme (choosing the shorter first move of a pawn). Thus this award might offer considerable contribution to the research of this theme.

To reduce the absolute dependence on the silicon services I set myself a clear criterion for the selecting process: displaying series of reciprocal Zugzwangs only was insufficient for being highly placed in the final standings. I still truly believe that it is essential to demonstrate evident artistic contents accessible to the human mind and senses in order to have a fair chance for a prize.

A bottle of the quality Dutch drink Jenever was sent to the tourney winner Oleg Pervakov (and arrived safely to Moscow!) while a second bottle was given in the prize-giving in Bern to John Nunn, the only awarded composer attending the congress. Details about cooks and anticipations will be personally sent to the authors of the few disqualified entries. The preliminary ranking was published on the official website and here is my complete award which includes a couple of minor changes.

First prize: Oleg Pervakov, Moscow

An original and lively battle of opening lines and mutual sacrifices is highlighted by the Festina Lente thematic motif and the logical try which ends up in a stalemate. This is in fact one of the only entries to show a real tactical duel between well coordinated pawns and a group of enemy pieces. A genuine breath-taking drama from start to end!

[Event "1st Pr. ARVES Jenever Ty."] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Pervakov, Oleg"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2b4b/p7/PPK2p1P/k1P5/2P1P3/8/6P1/4r3 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "25"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. bxa7 (1. b7 $2 Bxb7+ 2. axb7 Rb1 3. Kc7 f5 $1 4. exf5 Be5+ 5. Kc8 Rh1 $19) 1... Bf5 $1 2. exf5 Re8 3. a8=Q $1 (3. Kb7 $2 Re7+ 4. Kb8 Re8+ $11) (3. Kd7 $2 Rf8 $1 4. c6 Kxa6 5. c7 Kb7 6. c5 Rf7+ $11) 3... Rxa8 4. Kb7 Rxa6 5. g3 $3 (5. g4 $2 Kb4 6. Kxa6 Kxc5 7. Kb7 Kxc4 8. Kc6 Kd4 9. Kd6 Ke4 10. Ke6 Kf4 11. Kf7 Kxg4 12. Kg8 Kxf5 13. Kxh8 Kg6 14. h7 Kf7 {stalemate!}) 5... Kb4 6. Kxa6 (6. c6 $2 Ra5 $1 7. c7 Rc5 8. c8=Q Rxc8 9. Kxc8 Kxc4 10. Kd7 Kd5 $1 $11) 6... Kxc5 7. Kb7 Kxc4 8. Kc6 $1 Kd4 9. Kd6 Ke4 10. Ke6 Kf3 11. Kf7 Kg4 12. Kg6 $1 Kxg3 13. Kh7 1-0

Oleg Pervakov, 54, a chess journalist living in Moscow, is an International
Grandmaster and International Judge for chess compositions

2nd/3rd prize: Victor Aberman & Richard Becker (both USA)

Both magnificent miniatures share a common pivotal idea: A cautious and subtle march of a pair of connected passers assisted by the white king and a third passer. In Aberman's entry the pawn pair chases a knight away, masterfully handling a series of reciprocal zugzwangs and positional draw pitfalls (with a kind of cyclic pawn sacrifices), while Becker achieves it with an impressive systematic march to tame a surprisingly helpless rook. Aberman's study is more complex and subtle and requires a considerable study, while Becker's one is pretty much eye catching in its clarity and purity without the need for too many supportive side-lines.

[Event "2nd-3rd Pr. ARVES Jenever "] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Aberman, Victor "] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "7k/8/8/5n2/3P4/7K/PP6/8 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. Kg4 $1 Ne7 $1 (1... Nxd4 2. Kf4 Nc6 3. Kf5 Kg7 4. Ke6 Kf8 5. Kd7 Ne5+ 6. Kc7 Ke7 (6... Nc4 7. a4 $1 Nxb2 8. a5 $18) 7. a4 Ke6 (7... Nc4 8. b3 $1 Ne3 9. a5 $18) 8. a5 Kd5 9. a6 Nc6 10. Kb6 Kd6 11. b3 $1 {zz BTM} Kd5 ( 11... Kd7 12. a7 Nxa7 13. Kxa7 Kc6 14. Ka6 $18) 12. b4 $1 Nxb4 13. a7 $18) ( 1... Nd6 2. Kf4 Kg7 3. Ke5 $1 Nc4+ 4. Ke6 Nxb2 5. d5 (5. Ke7 Nd3 6. d5 Nf4 7. d6 Nd5+ 8. Ke6 Nf4+ {etc - waste of time}) 5... Nd3 6. d6 Nf4+ 7. Kd7 Kf6 8. a4 Ne6 9. a5 Ke5 10. a6 $1 (10. Ke7 $2 Nd4 11. a6 (11. d7 Nc6+ 12. Ke8 Kd6 $11) 11... Nc6+ 12. Kd7 Na7 $1 13. Ke7 Nc6+ {positional draw}) 10... Nc5+ 11. Kc8 $1 Kxd6 (11... Nxa6 12. d7 {win}) 12. a7 Nd7 13. Kb7 Nc5+ 14. Kb6 {win}) 2. Kf4 Kg7 3. Ke5 Kf7 4. a3 $1 {zz BTM} (4. a4 $2 Nc8 5. a5 Ke7 6. Kd5 Kd7 7. b4 Nd6 8. a6 Kc7 9. Ke6 (9. a7 Nc8 10. a8=N+ Kb7 {draw}) 9... Nb5 10. d5 Nd4+ 11. Ke5 Nb5 12. Ke6 Nd4+ {positional draw}) 4... Ke8 5. Ke6 Kd8 6. d5 Ng6 7. Kd6 Nf4 (7... Kc8 8. a4 $1 $18 (8. b3 $2 Kb8 $3 9. a4 Kb7 {zz WTM} 10. Kc5 Nf4 {zz WTM =})) 8. b3 $3 (8. a4 $2 Nd3 9. b3 Nc1 $1 10. b4 Nd3 $1 11. b5 Nb2 12. b6 Kc8 13. Kc6 Nxa4 14. b7+ Kb8 15. d6 Nb6 $1 16. Kxb6 {stalemate =}) (8. b4 $2 Nd3 {zz WTM but also possible 8...Kc8 =}) 8... Kc8 (8... Nd3 9. b4 {zz BTM #3 win}) 9. a4 Nd3 (9... Kb7 10. Kc5 {zz BTM} Nd3+ 11. Kd4 Nb4 12. Kc4 Na6 13. a5 {zz BTM} Kc7 14. Kb5 $18) 10. Kc6 Nb4+ 11. Kc5 Na6+ 12. Kd6 {zz BTM} (12. Kc6 $4 Nb8+ 13. Kd6 Na6 {zz WTM} 14. a5 Kb7 {zz WTM =}) 12... Kb7 13. a5 {zz BTM} Kc8 14. Ke7 Nc7 15. d6 Nd5+ 16. Ke6 Nb4 17. d7+ Kc7 18. a6 $1 (18. Ke7 $2 Nd5+ $1 19. Ke6 Nf4+ 20. Ke7 Nd5+ $11) 18... Nc6 19. b4 Kd8 20. Kd6 Na7 21. Kc5 Kxd7 22. Kb6 Nc8+ 23. Kb7 Nd6+ 24. Kb8 Nb5 25. a7 Nxa7 26. Kxa7 Kc6 27. Ka6 1-0

Victor Aberman, 61, is a programmer and lives in Los Angeles, USA

[Event "2nd-3rd Pr. ARVES Jenever Ty."] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Becker, Richard"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/4kP2/1P6/5r2/K7/8/3PP3/8 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "23"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. b7 Rf1 2. f8=Q+ $1 Rxf8 3. Ka5 $1 (3. Kb5 $2 Rf1 4. Kb6 Rb1+ 5. Ka7 Ra1+ 6. Kb6 Rb1+ 7. Kc7 Rc1+ {=}) 3... Kd7 4. Kb6 Re8 5. e3 $1 Kd6 6. d3 $1 (6. d4 $2 Kd5 {=}) (6. e4 $2 Ke5 7. d3 Kd4 8. Ka7 Kxd3 {=}) 6... Kd7 (6... Kd5 7. Ka7 Re7 8. Ka8 {+-}) 7. e4 Kd6 (7... Rh8 8. d4 Kd6 9. Ka7 {etc.}) 8. d4 Rh8 9. Ka7 (9. e5+ $2 Kd5 {=}) (9. d5 $2 Ke5 10. Kc7 Rh7+ 11. Kc8 Rh8+ 12. Kc7 Rh7+ 13. Kb6 Rh8 14. Ka7 Kxe4 {=}) 9... Kc7 10. d5 (10. e5 $2 Rb8 {-+}) 10... Rg8 11. e5 Rh8 12. d6+ 1-0

4th prize: Martin Minski, Germany

A colourful blend of classical motifs makes it a cheerful contribution to the theme: A double Novotny, sacrificial counter-play, model mates and even an under-promotion to conclude a delicious meal.

[Event "4th Pr. ARVES Jenever Ty."] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Minski, Martin"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/7p/5PPk/2b4P/r2P2P1/6K1/2P5/1b6 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "13"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. g7 Ba2 (1... Bd6+ 2. Kh4 Bg3+ $1 3. Kxg3 Ba2 4. c4 $1 {see mainline}) 2. c4 $1 (2. Kh4 $4 Rxd4 $1 $19) 2... Bd6+ $1 (2... Rxc4 3. g8=Q $1 $18) 3. Kh4 Bg3+ $1 4. Kxg3 Bxc4 (4... Rxc4 5. g8=Q $1 (5. g8=N+ $4 Kg5 $19) 5... Rc3+ 6. Kh4 Rh3+ 7. Kxh3 Bxg8 8. Kh4 (8. d5 $2 Kg5 $1 9. d6 Kxf6 10. d7 Ke7 $11) 8... Bd5 9. g5#) 5. Kh4 Ra5 6. d5 $1 Rxd5 (6... Bxd5 7. g5#) 7. g8=N# $1 (7. g8=Q $4 Rxh5+ $1 8. gxh5 Bxg8 $19) 1-0

Martin Minski, 45, is a mathematics teacher living in Berlin, Germany.
He is a Fide Master and International Judge for chess compositions

Yochanan Afek (born April 1952 in Tel Aviv) is an Israeli chess player, composer, trainer and arbiter, the only person to possess 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.

– More award winning studies from the Isenegger Memorial Tourney to follow soon –

The Alexander Rueb Vereniging voor SchaakEindspelStudie (ARVES), founded in October 1988 in Amsterdam, is a Dutch-Flemish Association for chess players who are specially interested in endgame studies.

The World Federation for Chess Composition (WFCC) works on disseminating and encouraging chess composition throughout the world.


Topics: Endgames, Studies
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KevinC KevinC 9/30/2014 01:09
The winning study might be the best study I have ever seen, but what is amazing is that my Houdini can find the solution in under 40 seconds.
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 9/30/2014 06:55
Cheers and happy to see John Roycroft who showed us the appreciation of endgame studies.
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