Study of the Month: November, 2017

by Siegfried Hornecker
11/4/2017 – As our readers will know, the Australian state Victoria was named for the British queen whose long-reign record was surpassed two years ago by Queen Elizabeth II. Being the most powerful person of the world, we can draw a parallel between her majesty and chess where queens also have great power — although not nearly such great one.

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Victoria’s victory

Steffen Slumstrup Nielsen [pictured] is a risen young star of chess studies. A Danish journalist, he has published more than 110 studies. We met for the second time in Dresden 2017 at the WCCC, which was part of the “Dresdner Schachsommer”, the “Dresden chess summer”. You can find photos and bulletins of the event at the official WCCC website. I recommend you have a look at least at the photos page, which unfortunately is uncommentated.Steffen Slumstrup

Personally, I mostly sat with the masters from Israel and the studies composers, i.e. Yochanan Afek, Martin Minski, Steffen Slumstrup Nielsen, and at one point a promising new composer from Russia, Alexey Popov. Thanks to Frederic Friedel’s hard work in preparing this series, a photo of Steffen can also be seen in this article, as he contributes an interesting study, originally published in the Troitzky — not Trotzky, as someone slipped — Memorial Tourney. Next year the Russian master will be mentioned in detail in an article, for now it shall be enough to tell he is considered one of the pioneers of modern endgame studies. Born in 1866, after a long work of great contributions (750 studies and 50 other chess problems) he became a victim of the hunger genocide known as “Siege of Leningrad” in 1942.


Solutions are below

Of course German composers also can tame queens. The following study, being easy to understand but looking paradox at first sight, was always one of my favorites.


Hubert WalkewitzHubert Walkewitz (* 1934) is a German over-the-board Candidate Master and one of the chess composers of the German Democratic Republic selected for the book “407 Aufgaben und Studien” by Karl-Heinz Siehndel et al. He has created 31 studies, according to the database by Harold van der Heijden. Nothing about his personal life is known to me.

[Left] Hubert Walkewitz | Photo: Gerhard Hund (Susanne van Kempen) CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the following position, Black is checkmated by two queens. One is Qh4, the other one is the composer, Susan Polgar (then known as Zsuzsa Polgár or Polgár Zsuzsanna), who composed this at only four years old! As the solution is easy to find, we leave it as a test for the readers.


Many years ago, I inquired about the story to the supposed composer. In an e-mail, dated 27 December 2006, Susan Polgar confirmed:

Unfortunately I do not remember where it was published first, but I know that I composed it in 1973. Yes, I am also a chess composer, although I primarily consider myself a chess promoter, player, teacher, writer etc.

Proving that she indeed could also compose nice studies, here is an example of her work.


Susan Polgar, 2017Susan Polgar (* 1969) is the Woman World Chess Champion 1996. She is a great promoter of chess, including to children, and has a few flourishing chess news websites/blogs. Her merits - both done and received - are too numerous to be listed here, and should be read at the [ Wikipedia article] instead where you can also find the links to her websites. Just as an appetizer: At the same age as composing the above problem, she also won the under-11 girls championship of Budapest with a score of 10:0 (!). In 1991 she received the Gransmaster title, as first woman in the conventional way of rating over 2500 and three GM norms by tournament results against strong opponents. She lives in the United States.

[Right] Susan Polgar | Photo: Frank Niro (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons [Below] Photo: Pal Benko

Pal BenkoPal Benko (*1928) is eight times over-the-board U.S. chess champion. Even with this record, he is more famous as a grandmaster (1956) of the Fischer era and for his around 150 endgame studies. The two openings named after him include the seemingly tame 1.g3, which defeated Fischer and Tal, and 1.d4 Sf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5, a fierce gambit also known as Volga gambit. As an endgame authority, it is no wonder he also holds the title of International Master for Chess Composition. Like Polgar, he also is a U.S. citizen from Hungary (where he became the national champion at 20), although he was actually born in France.


You probably know that you can move pieces on our replay boards 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 the ChessBase game viewer on your web site or blog. Hovering the mouse over any button will show you its function.

World Federation for Chess Composition

World Federation for Chess Composition (


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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