2022 French Solving Championship
This time it took place in Issy-les-Moulineaux, the Mecca of Intercircles matches in the 1970s, where I played François Molnar many times. As in 2021, although a repeated surprise is no longer a surprise: our friend Abdelaziz repeats his victory, preceding the double world champion, who fails again on a 3#, but also on the 4# and the study, without taking revenge on the selfmate as is customary.
Easy and spectacular are the 2# (Brazilian and Scottish). In the first 3#, I sniffed out a superb mirror mate after 20 minutes. The rest was easy. This Norwegian bohemian style composer has always brought me luck, especially at my 1995 Turku 100%. The other 3# has a humorous touch and sounds easier than it is, with its dreaded trials. It was only fully mastered by the two favourites. Its author is one of the most wonderful people who ever existed in the world of chess.
The strategic 4# did not seem terrifying to me, one feels the slow threat as soon as one has refuted the trap of the "instinctive" bad move. In 6#, having immediately guessed the author, I saw mate quickly enough, but wanted to sacrifice the right piece on a wrong square first. This was only solved by the winner and... the 3rd (bronze medal) who did not appreciate the author in question (he told me in the past), unlike myself! A. O'Kelly would have liked this secret passage. Such a problem is a regenerating shower!
The (Polish) study was much easier than last year: once the obvious moves are played, one tells oneself that it cannot be so short, hence the search for ingenious defences. Refusal to take and reciprocal zugzwang: we didn't come for nothing.
Only one helpmate, which is unusual. However, as Mr. Havel said: "The "helpmates" perfectly deserve their appellation, if only because they "help" to fill the columns of the chess press". But this one did not lack attic salt, as A. Kraemer would have said. I found it very accessible, whereas I found it in my collection, with a "difficult" sign!
Nothing to say about the easy selfmate 2# (in spite of a surprising zero from the winner, who would have obtained 15 points in advance!), if it is not on the scale: Black having only 3 legal moves, why divide the total of the points by 4 (an anomaly similar to the first 3#). I have often argued about this kind of subject, notably in Portorož 2002 and Subotica 2009, but it was almost always about studies. On problems, I had only said that a threat that never comes true should not give a point, which is indeed absurd and contributes to the gap between players and problemists.
The 4# selfmate of the great Yugoslavian specialist has not been solved by anyone. I've known more difficult ones by this author, I was lucky to have the intuition of the key quickly, but the rest would probably have caused me to exceed the time limit, even if I were boycotting the fairy ones!
A good selection in conclusion, of excellent quality and average difficulty: in 2h30 all the same, most of the problems proposed must crack.
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