Tata Steel Studies Composing tourney

3/1/2013 – We recently published a report on the problem solving competition that was held during this year's Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee. Among the festivities there was a special study composing tourney, with a generous prize fund. A total of 89 studies were submitted, and 20 of them received awards. Tournament judge Yochanan Afek shows us the first five.

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Tata Steel-75 AT 2013: Provisional Awards

By Yochanan Afek

Tata Steel Tournament, arguably the most prestigious contemporary chess event celebrated its 75th edition this year, and among other festivities a special composing tourney was announced by its organizing committee with a generous prize fund. I was expecting a great happening and indeed my colleague composers did live to the expectations in regards to both quantity and quality. I am grateful to each and every one of them for their much appreciated efforts.


Israeli IM and problem expert Yochanan Afek

I received 89 entries from our devoted tournament director Harold van der Heijden in anonymous files (one with the full solutions and another one with just the artistic lines) as well as a detailed report specifying correctness and originality of all entries. The general standard was one of the highest I have witnessed for years and decision making turned to be a rather tough job.

As we are celebrating an over-the-board major event I tried to pay a special attention to human and player friendly entries. I sincerely hope that the following selection would achieve this aim. It certainly is a combative one with a clear majority of winning studies over the more peaceful ones notably among the prize winners.

The studies – part one

1st-2nd Prize: Yuri Bazlov (Russia)
This outstanding entry was initially the outright winner of this tourney thanks to its rich tactical play highlighted by an amazing position of two newborn queens actively hanging in the open at the very same moment. Just before writing the textual part of the award it was discovered that the final mate had appeared earlier in the try of an incorrect study by Lamoss. Despite this blemish I decided to leave this magnificent study at the top of the award in view of its multiple other artistic merits. Nevertheless in view of the new finding it seems to me more appropriate to share the top honours.

[Event "(15) 1st Pr. Tata Steel 75 JT "] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Bazlov, Yuri"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1b6/5N2/3PRKn1/8/8/8/7p/2Bk4 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "23"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. d7 Bc7 2. Rd6+ Ke1 (2... Bxd6 3. d8=Q h1=Q 4. Bg5 Qf3+ 5. Kxg6 Qd3+ 6. Kh6 $18) 3. Rc6 Ne5 (3... Nf8 4. Bf4 Nxd7+ 5. Kf5 Kf1 6. Rc1+ Kg2 7. Rc2+ Kg1 8. Be3+ Kf1 9. Rxc7 $18) 4. Nxe5 (4. Rxc7 $2 Nxd7+ $11) 4... Bd8+ (4... Bxe5+ 5. Kxe5 h1=Q 6. Bd2+ Ke2 7. Rd6 $18) 5. Kg7 h1=Q 6. Bg5 Bxg5 (6... Qd5 7. Bxd8 Qxe5+ 8. Bf6 $18) 7. d8=Q Qxc6 $1 8. Qa5+ Bd2 9. Qa1+ Qc1 10. Nd3+ Kd1 11. Qa4+ (11. Nxc1 $2 Bc3+ {stalemate} 12. Qxc3) 11... Qc2 12. Qg4# 1-0

1st-2nd Prize: Oleg Pervakov & Karen Sumbatyan (Russia)
A breathtaking queen duel ends up in mutual neat royal sacrifices clearing the podium to a second phase: two minor pieces dominating a single rook with a subtle zugzwang following 11.Bg8!!

[Event "(23) 2nd Pr.Tata Steel -75 JT"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Pervakov/Sumbatyan, Oleg/Karen"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "5Q2/1N1q1B2/3P4/8/3p4/K2b4/8/k4r2 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "29"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. Qg7 $1 (1. Qh8 $2 Qg4 $1 $11) 1... Rf4 $1 (1... Qxb7 2. Qxd4+ Kb1 3. Qxd3+ $18) 2. Qg2 $1 (2. Qg1+ $2 Bf1 3. Qh2 Rf3+ 4. Bb3 Rxb3+ $19) 2... Be2 $1 3. Qxe2 Qa4+ $1 4. Kxa4 d3+ 5. Qe4 $1 Rxe4+ 6. Kb3 d2 7. Kc2 (7. Bh5 $2 Kb1 8. Kc3 Re5 $1 $11) 7... Rb4 $1 (7... Rd4 8. Bh5 Ka2 9. Bd1 $1 Ka3 10. Kc3 Rd5 11. Kc4 $18) 8. Na5 $1 (8. Nc5 $2 d1=Q+ 9. Kxd1 Rd4+ 10. Kc1 Rc4+ $1 11. Kd2 (11. Bxc4 {stalemate}) 11... Rd4+ $1 12. Kc2 Rxd6 13. Nb3+ Ka2 14. Nd4+ Ka1 $1 $11) 8... d1=Q+ 9. Kxd1 Rd4+ 10. Kc1 $1 Rd3 $1 11. Bg8 $1 {zz} (11. Bc4 $2 Rxd6 12. Nb3+ Ka2 13. Nd4+ Ka3 $1 14. Nb5+ Kb4 15. Nxd6 Kc5 $11) 11... Rxd6 12. Nb3+ Ka2 13. Nd4+ Ka3 (13... Ka1 14. Nc2#) 14. Nb5+ Kb4 15. Nxd6 1-0


Oleg Pervakov presents the above study to the solvers in Wijk aan Zee


This study won 1st-2nd prize in the tourney [photos by Alina L'Ami]


3rd Prize: Daniel Keith (France) & Martin Minski (Germany)
One of the best miniatures I have seen lately. A lengthy and tense struggle to secure promotion evolves a wealth of artistic elements: Stalemates, switchback, sacrifices and mates all in a flowing sequence of events. Black's heroic counter-play against the white monarch along rank and file intensifies the thrill.

[Event "(64) 3rd Pr. Tata Steel JT "] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Keith/Minski, Daniel/Martin"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/4P3/8/1N4B1/1r4k1/6N1/7K w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "19"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. Bf5 $1 Rf3 $1 {threatens Rf1 mate/Rxf5.} (1... Rxb4 2. e7 Rb8 3. Bg6 $18) 2. Bd3 Kf2 3. Kh2 Rf6 $1 4. Bf5 $1 {switchback} Rxf5 (4... Rh6+ 5. Bh3) 5. Nd3+ Ke2 $1 6. Ngf4+ $1 (6. e7 $2 Rh5+ 7. Kg1 Rh8 $11) (6. Ndf4+ $2 Kd2 7. e7 Re5 $11) 6... Kf1 $1 7. e7 Rf8 $1 8. Nh5 $1 (8. exf8=Q $2 {stalemate}) (8. Ne2 $2 Rh8+ $1 $11 (8... Re8 $2 9. Ng3#)) 8... Rh8 9. e8=Q $1 Rxe8 ({2nd main line:} 9... Rxh5+ 10. Kg3 $18 (10. Qxh5 $2 {ideal stalemate})) 10. Ng3# 1-0

4th Prize: Martin Minski (Germany) & Arpad Rusz (Hungary)
An excellent logical study in which white has to get rid of his own knight in order to leave the c-file vacant. Both kings are subject to sharp threats of the heavy guns as part of the thematic mechanism.

[Event "(20) 4th Pr. Tata Steel-75 JT "] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Minski/Rusz, Martin/Arpad"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/8/3N4/R3n2q/8/2k1Np1r/K7/R7 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "17"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. Rd5 $1 {threatens 2.Se4+} (1. Ra3+ $2 Kd2 $1 $11) (1. Rc1+ $2 Kd2 $1 $11) 1... Rh2+ $1 2. Ka3 Nc4+ $1 3. Ndxc4 Rh1 $1 (3... Qxd5 4. Rc1+ $1 Kd4 5. Rd1+ $1 Kc3 6. Rxd5 Rh1 7. Ka4 f2 8. Nd2 $18) 4. Nd1+ $1 ({Thematic try:} 4. Rad1 $2 Qh7 $1 {and because of the obstacle wSc4 there is no check (mate) on c5.}) (4. Rxh1 $2 Qxh1 $11) (4. Rxh5 $2 Rxa1#) 4... Kxc4 5. Ne3+ Kc3 6. Rad1 $1 { threatens Rd3 mate.} Rxd1 (6... Qh7 7. Rc5# {compare with thematic try}) 7. Nxd1+ Kc2 8. Ne3+ $1 (8. Rxh5 $2 Kxd1 9. Rf5 Ke2 10. Kb2 f2 $11) 8... Kc3 9. Rxh5 1-0

5th Prize: Peter Krug (Austria)
The white rook changes its role in the course of an exciting battery play against her majesty: from a front piece of a bishop battery to a rear piece in a king battery. The slight dual on the ninth move is of minor importance.

[Event "(11) 5th Pr.Tata Steel-75 JT "] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Krug, Peter"] [Black "White to play and win"] [Result "1-0"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/4P2k/4KB2/8/4b2p/1n1R4/8/1B2q3 w - - 0 1"] [PlyCount "39"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] 1. e8=Q Bf5+ $1 (1... Bxd3+ 2. Be5 Nc5+ 3. Kf7 Qf2+ 4. Bf6) 2. Kxf5 Qxe8 3. Kf4 Qb8+ 4. Kg5 $1 (4. Kg4 $2 Qc8+ $1 5. Kxh4 Nd4 $1 6. Rxd4+ (6. Rc3+ Nf5+ $11) 6... Kh6 7. Rd6 Qg4+ 8. Kxg4 {stalemate}) 4... Qg8+ 5. Kxh4 Nd4 $1 6. Rg3+ Nf5+ $1 7. Bxf5+ Kh6 8. Rh3 (8. Rxg8 $2 {stalemate}) 8... Qg2 9. Bd3 ({or} 9. Bb1 $18) 9... Qg8 10. Be4 Qg1 11. Rh1 Qg8 12. Rh2 Qg1 13. Rh3 Qg8 14. Rh1 Qg1 15. Kh3 Qg8 16. Bb2 Qc8+ 17. Kh4 Qe6 18. Kg3+ Kg5 19. Bc1+ Kf6 20. Rh6+ 1-0

Special thanks go to:

  • the organizing committee of Tata Steel tournament for the moral and financial support to an anniversary tourney of such calibre;
  • the tourney director Harold van der Heijden for a tremendous job well done thoroughly checking all entries, preparing the supporting reports and giving useful advises;
  • ARVES for promoting this tourney and supporting the composition events in Tata Steel tournament.

This award will remain open to appeals till March 31st 2013.

– Part two to follow soon –

Copyright Afek/ChessBase


Topics Wijk aan Zee
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