october 4 2016
In addition to the usual participants, Axel, one of the active members of the French resolution team, arrived a little before dessert, i.e. the fairy tale part of the course, a field in which he quickly felt at ease.
Before that, the Master had laid down some high quality warm-up positions, in other words, studies that were awarded in an unquestionable way, as well as a game of Shirov that regaled us every time.
Here is the report
Using my summer leisure time, I have been re-reading the courses of the last 13 years. I am struck by the constant persecution of our circle of... railwaymen, and myself in particular, although offering a course for 41 years at a purely symbolic rate... to railwaymen. I can only congratulate myself for not having set foot in the Paris region for nearly two years, and for having used the assistance of the "sncf" only for the journey from Cannes to Ventimiglia (and back, alas!) with the understandable aim of escaping a little further east.
At the end of June, the individual championship of study composition (also of problems, but that concerns us less) gave its verdict. One can discuss the ranking: even when the judges are talented (4 out of 5 were), they are still men. For example, two judges (and therefore one talented one) gave a "zero" score to a study that was neither demolished nor anticipated, which is in breach of the rules, which require a score of 0.5 (out of 4) in such cases. This is equivalent to 2.5 out of 20. This is less than I used to mark myself; in my 40 years as a maths teacher, I have only given a zero in cases of cheating or not doing the work.
Sometimes the style of a study differs too much from that of the judge, who may see nothing but fire in it. Of course, in this case, the composer can blame himself for not having succeeded in giving his work a universal form. Nevertheless, they are blind men judging the sight of a one-eyed man.
But in broad terms, this classification expresses some undeniable truths. Pervakov not only won, he dominated, as we had already detected in January. His runners-up
Bazlov, Arestov and Miljanić could have been ranked differently. I for one would have ranked Miljanić second (but this is not the first time he has been underestimated, see the course of 25 October 2011). Oddly, the presence of these 4 authors in the "master class" exactly reflects the ranking: 9 from the great Oleg (and 5 pending!), 8 from Bazlov, 3 from Arestov and 2 from Miljanić! But over the recent period, the latter has done significantly better. Here is an example.
And all the same, to all honour, two Oleg's jewels, one of which is older. The other one is his second best score. Note that his highest ranked had already been presented on 27 May 2014. You can view the 6 studies of the great Oleg (as well as all the others) on http://www.wfcc.ch/competitions/composing/wcci-2013-15-entries/ by clicking on the 6 in front of his name.
Among the composition events at the Belgrade Congress was a study competition on the theme of "choked mat". Our friend Darko, who kindly improvised himself as our tour guide (see in "world championship 2016"), allowed himself to win it... ahead of Pervakov, Minski & Miljanić! One detail: there are no white knight on the diagram. So what?
The gap between "grozélos" and basic knowledge is still as wide as ever. Is it the fact of playing on an island that makes one ignore the teaching from the continent? Still, a player ranked... let's keep the incognito by saying only "more than 2600", showed at the beginning of July that he had not seen fit to spend the 5 minutes necessary to learn how to draw Q against Q + pawn. I won't say "good for him", which would be too ironic, nor "to hell with him", which would be too mean. So I will say... nothing. And I won't show more.
On the other hand, on the same theme of supergrozels trashing the endgames, here's a little lesson on Rook and Bishop versus Rook, where two prestigious players of the world's elite turn into typing monkeys.
For a few masterpieces, what a lot of soporific games in these last "olympiads". Let's rather stay today in the register of fights, not only exciting, but commented passionately by one of the players. Pay attention: the value of a game often depends on the quality of its variants, in other words the virtual game, just as the trials of a problem sometimes surpass the real play that occurs after the key. Especially the branches of the 18th, 20th and 27th black moves should not be missed.
Fairy tales: a duodecuple check, two Belgrade prizes (which one do you prefer?), a souvenir of the lions met at the zoo of this capital, nice triple check by Tamara's dad, a Bulgarian-Chinese party by our friend Vlaicu, two amusettes and an old classic.
For practice, a few 2# where you don't spend your time sodomizing flies as in most modern compositions. All presented at the Belgrade solving-show. Then two problems from an old world championship and a curious 5#.
Helpmates : let's mention the entry of our master greffier in... the FIDE album, a triennial collection of the best problems in the world. A charming strategy with a salutary repetition. We accompany him with two other French helpmates and a venerable Croatian. Beware, the 5# helpmate has two variants (not solutions); this means that the key is the same, the divergence comes next. We sometimes push the kindness to say where. Here, it's on the first white move. Finally, a Drumaresque selfmate.
Mark Dvoretzky has just left us, after Roudenko, Kortchnoi and Yoccoz. We'll talk about it again in the next session. In the meantime, discover this:
"May the Lord give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. The idea is not new, since it is based on the words of the emperor Marcus Aurelius more than 18 centuries ago and also of St Francis of Assisi, a millennium later, to be taken up on the back of a... Neil Young's album! But it is also a prayer of the cowboys of the West, which we find quoted in a place we certainly did not expect: by... Dvoretzky himself in his "analytical manual"!
Have a good start and, nevertheless, a good time.
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