2018 World championship
A congress in three stages. First of all, Zagreb, which would have been difficult to ignore, having missed the celebration of 16 July (formerly Saint Alain's Day) :
One can imagine what it would have been like if they had won. "Even though we lost the final today despite playing fantastic,
On this occasion I read two mottos: "Being humble" and "Nije u šoldima sve" (Money is not everything). I wonder who this is referring to.
Then Skopje, where I should have been in... 1972 at the Olympics if it hadn't been for an indelicate selector who, unhappy to see me in the team, had gone out to solicit an old grandmaster who had gone completely soft. His catastrophic results in the first board, unfortunately, were the cause of the worst French performance in history..
Skopje, with its breathtaking architecture,
Its cobblestone pavement (be careful where you step). But its churches, its old bazaar (a link, they say, between East and West), its bohemian quarter. Its Mother Teresa Memorial, a salutary contrast with our country, at a time when its absolute antithesis is being celebrated. And its delicious restaurants, with unbeatable value for money.
Finally Ohrid and its lake, the oldest on the planet. The arrival was a gag, the hotel was a ghost, like the ship of the Flying Dutchman. No one in the reception area, no one in the corridors. Strategic retreat to another, the aptly named Bellevue. Then the opening ceremony, the particularity of which is that it finishes after the restaurant service has closed. A few acrobatics for a mini dinner in a flash.
The next day, another gag. The payment of the day is made exclusively in banknotes, but the machines are obsolete, they will only deliver a third of the amount. To recover, a short climb in the old Ohrid, to the church of Sainte-Sophie, in the middle of the baptism. In stark contrast, we go back down to the beach.
beginning of hostilities with the open
The open in two times 6 diagrams (an hour and a half each round) is supposed to warm us up before the championship proper. Here it does a bit more: it wreaks havoc among the titleholders. Personally, I only had the 2# after an hour! I will finally have the 3# (no time for all the variations) and a a piece of the study (I play the good move too late, which makes it ipso facto bad!). And a beautiful rooster at 4#, I see half of the problem but with a bad key.
The second round goes better, I finally succeed in solving a study from Martin! I point to the selfmate key, but the controller doesn't catch it. And And impossible to unlock this damn helpmate with 3 unrelated solutions.
As always, a large number of competitors are within a few points of each other: if I had corrected my mistake in the 4-moves, I would have gained 20 places !
the solving championship - day 1
First day of the championship, with a great start for the virtual French team (the two old men + our friend Abdel) with the 2-moves. A little scare at first: the first problem has a double threat, which makes you doubt, until you understand the theme. The test of the 3-moves is more difficult.Having applied the famous method of starting at the end, and the key to the 3rd one having appeared to me instantly (thanks to the h2 pawn), I found myself with 55 minutes for two problems, one of which was visibly bohemian and one where I was supposed to be comfortable. Well, they were not too much! You can guess the key-piece of the first one, but where? And the second one is pretty damn twisted. I'll leave a few feathers, as its key only appears to me at the end..
That left the most dreaded test, the studies, with 100 minutes that flow like sand when not called MVL. The first one (by Martin, it's a small world) didn't inspire me much, but the Bishop vs. Rook duel in the second one and the pawns vs. Bishop and Knight fight in the third one (after a plausible intro) did. Yeah, well, after 70 minutes, I had nothing, except a bunch of insufficient variants. Fortunately, a stalemate will suddenly appear on the board, and the subtle manoeuvre to neutralise the black pawn will appear, once again, at the last moment.
the 2nd day championship
With 9 competitors 100% in the first day, one could expect a tougher second day. And indeed they did, with triples helpmates in 5.5 for the big guys. But that was no reason for yours truly to go for the one in 3. Well, that's life.
The moremovers, a nice 4#, a 5# of the same, then a horror in 6. I gave a continuation with a rook sacrifice (Tf5+) in triple take. No luck, it was a failure, the solution having no beauty. It's a selective problem, but there is an aesthetic impediment to it. We have already experienced this in the past.
Finally the selfmates. Usually I solve the first two and am stumped on the moremover selfmate. This time I didn't even throw him an eye, as the one in 3 was asking for it all the time. To make matters worse, I started looking for him as a selfmate 2# (!). And very quickly, from behind me, I heard a chirping sound. The world champion, strangely enough, did not have a portable chessboard, and was using common player equipment. This noise meant that he had finished the problem that was torturing me and was moving on to the last one. Reassuring or worrying? Does this mean that the problem is not too hard, or that our own brains are in shambles ?
In spite of these difficulties, it seems that I'm ahead of Michel, who was very unlucky yesterday, but who made up for it thanks to the helpmates and selfmates.
19-20e in front of 12 grandmasters and especially... in front of Michel! After the round of helpmates, I couldn't have imagined it !
And I'm not in the top 3 old men. I won't be on the podium with the antipath. Ouf !
An astonishing 5 point dip between 15th & 16th place, after which 23 competitors are within 6 points! Only one woman (Russian) this year, who still makes 100% in 2# and leads 2 IMs.
Pavlov, the "kid" we saw in Belgrade (see World Championship 2016) finishes in 4th place and gets a grandmaster norm. And Piotr (Murdzia) is back to success. His first title was in 2002, under my eyes in Slovenia. But he was also world champion in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012 & 2013. That's 8 titles against 5 for Kacper (Piorun), 2011 and from 2014 to 2017. A hell of a match !
For the closing banquet, there were two disappointments: the organisation did not invite Iris to sing as she did in Belgrade, and there was no unlimited wine. In fact, no wine at all. We had to steal Michel's prize-winning bottle, and then had to order. We will forgive these hesitations, considering the bus trip Skopje-Ohrid and back offered. And
greffier's note: on his return, the Mestre passed through Mestre!
Add a comment