Study of the Month - Best of... FIDE Album 2016-2018

by Siegfried Hornecker
12/31/2022 – 64 squares. For some they mean the world. In the past month, the World Congress for Chess Composition was held, as I quickly reported. Among the new books there was also the FIDE Album 2016-2018 (for a history of the FIDE Albums see our September 2019 article) | Photo: Pixabay

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Part I: Other genres

A total of 1984 compositions was selected by the judges of the eight sections of the FIDE Album 2016-2018. In this article, I want to not only present a selection of endgame studies but also as a Christmas special one of the top problems in each section, except the selfmates where both top problems are equally interesting, and the fairy problem that is absolutely outstanding but uses two fairy conditions and five types of fairy pieces, so would not be suited to most of the audience aimed at here.

As a reminder, a problem is evaluated by three judges who can award up to four points in 0.5 point increments each. To be eligible for the album, a problem must achieve at least a total of 8 points. As a similar system is used for the WCCI (World Championship in Composing for Individuals), the problems with 8+ points from there automatically qualify for the FIDE Album.

Below I give the problems for solving. A complete explanation with solutions is in the replayable entries.

 

Marjan Kovačević, The Problemist 2018, 2nd prize.

Mate in 2

The solution is dominated by zugzwang, three possibilities emerge. Is 1.Nb4, 1.Nd4, or 1.Bb1 the correct solution? Which moves in those variations repeat when Black does not defend correctly?

 

Alexander Feoktistov, Russian team championship 2016, 2nd place.

Mate in 3

The solution starts with 1.Bh2! What is the threat and how can Black try to defend?

 

Mikhail Marandyuk, 10th WCCT 2016-2017, 1st/2nd place.

Mate in 6

Again the first move sets up the coming check: 1.Re8! What is the full threat and how does White handle the three defenses 1.-Qh4, 1.-Qe1, and 1.-Qe4?

 

Fadil Abdurahmanović & Zlatko Mihajloski. The Problemist 2016, 1st prize.

Helpmate in 6

In this problem, Black begins and both sides cooperate so Black is checkmated after six moves each. It may seem impossible at first, but both sides just have enough space to maneuver. This problem got a perfect score, can you see why?

 

Andrey Selivanov, Petkov-75 JT, StrateGems 2016-2017. 1st prize.

Selfmate in 4

Here White begins and forces Black to checkmate him in four moves. The possible ideas here are to force Ba3 to move or force a6xb5. Both can only be forced if that move defends against a check. This means that we want to activate Bf8 to give a check on d6 after forcing the king to e5. So we must move our knight on e8, threatening 2.Rxe5+ Kd6 3.e8N+ Kxe5 4.Bd6+ Bxd6 mate. To which square should me move, and what are the defenses that we must overcome how?

 

Andrey Selivanov, 6th FIDE World Cup 2018, 1st prize.

Selfmate in 5

I don‘t see how anyone except the very best can solve this, so I will just tell you everything you need to know: 1.Ba7! makes room on d6 to allow White to promote without checkmating Black. The defenses are 1.-Bh2, 1.-fxg5 and 1.-Rxh7. What is the threat after the key, and how does the play continue after the three defenses? If you solved the previous problem, you might already know what happens but not yet how...

 

Nicolas Dupont, Silvio Baier & Roberto Osorio. StrateGems 2017, 1st prize.

Proof game in 32.0 moves (dedicated to Kostas Prentos)

In this composition, the position in the diagram must be reached after 32 moves each from the standard starting position of the game. Unless you are a good solver, please just look up the solution in our replayable list below. Afterwards, you find the endgame studies selection.

 

Part 2: Endgame Studies

For the FIDE Album 2016-2018, a total of 909 endgame studies were received, 227 of those were selected to be in the Album. The judges for this genre were Martin Minski, Oleg Pervakov, Vladislav Tarasyuk and - if one of the studies by a judge had to be evaluated - director Marcel Van Herck. 19 endgame studies received 10 or more points each, one of them received the perfect score of 12 points.

Following, I will show the five creations with 11.25 or more points as well as a selection of three endgame studies I think are interesting for readers. Possibly Yours Truly is biased there, as those composers and him corresponded years ago.

The first five studies have in that order 12 points by the FIDE Album judges, then 11.5, 11.5, 11.25, 11.25 points from the WCCI.

 

Oleg Pervakov & Mikhail Gromov, Gravura 2018, 1st prize.

White to move and win

Yes, White is a bishop up but the win seems impossible. Precise tactical play is the key to victory. After 1.Kd3! a2! 2.Rxa6+ Kg5 3.Rxa2! Qf6 the correct check has to be given...

 

Oleg Pervakov, Uralski Problemist 25 JT, 1st/2nd prize (20 December 2018).

White to move and win

To know if 1.d5+ or 1.c4 Bxc4 2.d5+ is correct, you must understand if Pc2 is good or bad for White. And then you have to see the complete solution already, which for example could be 1.d5+ Bxd5 2.Rxd5 h2! 3.Kc8 Ra1 4.Rg6+ e6!, and now...?

 

Oleg Pervakov, EG 50 AT 2016, 1st prize.

White to move and draw

White plays for stalemate. After the introduction 1.Qf2+ d4! 2.Nc6+! Rxc6 3.Nxd4 Black starts his counterplay: 3.-Bd7+! 4.Kxd7 d1Q 5.Bd2! Qaxd2 6.Kxc6 and Black has three checks that make sense. How does White draw after each one?

 

Steffen Slumstrup Nielsen, ChessStar, 30 September 2018, 1st prize.

White to move and win

We see a tactical fireworks here that has a highlight in 1.Qa1 Qe1+ 2.Kf4 Rf8+ 3.Ke5+ e3 4.Bxe3+. Does Black not lose his queen now? How does the battle continue?

 

Martin Minski, Batumi Olympic tourney 2018, 2nd prize.

White to move and draw

Black threatens checkmate and will remain making that threat. How does White prevent it?

We follow with the hand-selected set of endgame studies (9, 8, 8.5 points):

 

Gady Costeff, Tarasyuk 50 JT 2018, 1st to 5th prize.

Black to move, White wins

Gady Costeff is known for transforming problem themes into endgame studies. This is one such study. Obviously neither 1.-Reb7 nor 1.-Rb2 are successful, as White can move the queen to b4 in either case. So what is a better idea for Black and how does play continue?

 

Geir Sune Tallaksen Østmoe. 6th UAPA Internet Tourney 2018, 1st prize.

White to move and win

This study shows a famous theme twice. There is only a main line with nearly no sidelines, so readers should be able to solve it. The both pairs of connected pawns are important for the theme, as are the rooks.

 

Siegfried Hornecker & Martin Minski, Rezvov 95 MT, Problemist Ukraini 2017, 4th prize.

White to move and win

This endgame study is rather short and has only the main solution without complicated sidelines. Readers should easily be able to solve this also.

I hope that readers enjoyed this selection of both problems and endgame studies from the new FIDE Album 2016-2018. Interested readers can find more information about the current FIDE Album at the WFCC website: https://www.wfcc.ch/fide-album-2016-2018-available

The FIDE Album strives to be an anthology of the best chess problems. For some the inclusion means not much. Others like to hunt points and titles. But what always was is that regardless of all crisis, of all wars in the world, everyone is equal, no matter their religion, country, skin color, or anything else --- just like we are also equal in practical play, at the battle over the board, postcard, at the computer. After all, what should unite us more than anyone can divide us, is just a small field of 64 squares.


64 squares. For us they mean the world.

 

Links:


Siegfried (*1986) is a German chess composer and member of the World Federation for Chess Composition, subcommitee for endgame studies. His autobiographical book "Weltenfern" (in English only) can be found on the ARVES website. He presents an interesting endgame study with detailed explanation each month.
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brian8871 brian8871 1/1/2023 01:05
If anyone wants an insanely difficult challenge, the web page that I have linked at the end lists a bunch of positions where there's one and only one way to reach each one on Black's 17th move in a standard game. In theory, you could use a program like Popeye to solve them, but if your computer is any slower than the server farm at Pixar, you should be prepared to wait a really long time for it to give you any solutions. Good luck and happy New Year to all! https://wismuth.com/chess/massacre/ply34-x5.html
Zvi Mendlowitz Zvi Mendlowitz 12/31/2022 09:28
In Costeff's study the theme is Brunner-Turton.
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