october 23 2007

The Greffier's Claw

A good turnout on the return from the World Championship for this Masterclass where some of the positions from this event were discussed by the audience.
The electronic version of the report is at the end of the text version. Thanks to the Master.
The electric version was interrupted during the session, probably to save energy and to give the opportunity to some thirsty people to discreetly honour the cash prize obtained by Guy.

As an introduction (as the Greeks say) to this championship, a first warm-up study.

1 - White to play and draw


W.: Kg5, Rb1 and d5, Nh8, pf5
B.: Kh7, Qc6, Nd2, pc4

There's a lot going on on the white side, but it can be arranged in an elegant way.
But beware, there are banana skins lying around.

Still from the above-mentioned demonstration, a harder position, but one that ends up falling back into a classic.

2 - White to play and win


W.: Ke1, Rb1, Nf2, pe3
B.: Kc5, Bc8, pc2, c3, d5 and h6

of the beautiful trench warfare.

Master's words

The problems for the World Solving Championship (Rhodes 16 and 17 Oct) were selected by an Englishman. The event was won by an Englishman. But as they are "gentlemen", we can be assured that no irregularities were committed.

Bwee touw hian 1The more-movers section seems to have been recognised as the most difficult. I have only eliminated three English works (a 2#, an helpmate 2# and a selfmate 3#) which seem to me to be totally uninteresting. Among the remaining problems, an excellent 3-moves helpmate by an English composer. Mikan's lovely 5-moves selfmate is in the 14-44 album I mentioned a short while ago, which Rémy lent me. I reconstructed 3/4 of the solution (and even wrote down the name of the author, but that didn't pay off), which allowed me to mop up my catastrophic "blunders" in 2# and selfmate 2# [this last problem, by an English composer, should not be broadcast, like the first 3-moves, which is very old, but in an unpublished and the 3rd etude, by Afek: so be discreet!]

Breuer 1

Also a selection of problems from the open (15 Oct). Johandl's 6# had several surprising victims. Jones' 3# helpmate is much easier than the one in the championship. But the 4# helpmate (very simple if you think about it) and the German 5# selfmate
(which only has one line of play) have also taken their toll.

When the clowns who are paralysing working France announced a strike for 18 October, I thought to myself: "They've got the wrong day, they're usually trying to sabotage the Saint-Lazare course". But everything is, if I may say so, back in order: this morning, they announced, precisely around this station, problems of "trafic", as they say. Because the clowns are also illiterate, they don't know that the correct french word is "circulation" and that the word "trafic" means "illegal sale". Perhaps a revealing slip of the tongue.

For friend Guy, a study with a "horizontal-diagonal" echo that he is fond of. It is a corrected version of a work by Gulayev, who, fed up with seeing his name spelled out (Gjulaev, Guljajev etc.), had been renamed "Grin", which
was, very precisely, falling from Charybdis into Scylla. Since then, he has had to suffer the Green, Grean and other Greene!

Also a study of Afek given to the Rhodes Open, apparently demolished.

Today's part is an unintentional tribute to the country that will host the next problematicists' congress, Latvia.
The well-known chessboard arsonist is indeed the compatriot and continuator of the "Riga magician" Mihail Tal. He curbs the one who was to become pseudo-champion of the world five years later.

Good feast

To follow, a full-scale rescue

3 - White to play and draw


W.: Kh5, Bb7 and g5, pf6 and h7
B.: Kf5, Ra5 and b4, Bg7, Ne2

A beautiful work.

Another rescue, but more elegant.

4 - White to play and draw


W.: Kd1, Rb4, Ng5, pc4 and f6
B.: Kd8, Qg3, pf5

There is a variation found by the Master which leads to the same result based on a fortress.

To finish the series of studies, a position demolished and largely amended by the Master which gives an extremely aesthetic solution.

5 - White to play and draw


W.: Kh1, Rd1, Na6
B.: Kf4, Ra4, pa2 and h2

Great art

6 - game of the day : Shirov - Topalov

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 de 5. Nxe4 Be7 6. Bxf6 gf 7. Nf3 a6 (7. ... Nd7 8. Bc4 with d5 to come) 8. c4 f5 9. Nc3 Bf6 10. Qd2 e5 11. d5 0-0 12. 0-0-0 e5 (12. ... Bg7 13. h4 ed 14. Nxd5 Nc6 15. h5 h6 16. Rh3 f4 ? ( 16. ... b5 ?! 17 Qf4 Qa5 18. Rg3 Kh8 19. Rxg7! Kxg7 20. Qg3 Kh7 (20. ... Kh8 21. Qd6) 21. Ng5+ ! hg 22. Nf6+ Kh6 23. f4 +- but 16. ... Re8 ! is really good for Black)13. h4 b5 14. d6 Nc6? (14. ... e4 15. Nxe4 fe 16. Qxe4 =) 15. d7 (let's go without really knowing where it leads) Bb7 16. Qd6 e4 17 Nd5 Bg7 18. Ng5 Nd4 ( 18. ... h6 19. cb ab 20. Bxb5 Nd4 21. Qg6 !!) 19. Ne7+ Kh8 20. Rh3 f4? (20. ... b4 ! 21. Rg3 a5 22. Kb1 (22. Qxc5 Qxd7 23. Nxh7 Rfd8) f4 23. Rg4 Ra6 24. Qxc5 Qxd7 25. Rxd4 Qxg4 26. Rd8! Rf6! 27. Qd4!!)
21. Kb1 b4 22. Be2 ! f3 (22. ... Nxe2 23. Qxc5 Nd4 24. Rxd4 Bxd4 25. Qf5 Kg7 (with composure) 26. Ng8 ends the debate ) 23. gf Nxe2 24. Qec5 Nf4 25. Qf5 Ng6 26. h5 resigns

a real man's fight

For the restoration part, Guy had concocted a selection of his magnificent production, but there were some in the "course of the competition", so I leave it to him, if he wishes, to make the readers of the report benefit from his overflowing imagination.

The Master had brought some rather special equipment for which a shot of plum distillate or other small fruit is necessary.

It starts strong with vertical cylinders

7 - #3 vertical cylinder 7x8
vertical cylinder 7x8 : the chessboard forms a cylinder with column a merged with column h


W.: Ka6 Qf4, Nf1 and g2
B.: Ke2, Na7, pc4, f5 and g4

Beware of the colour change on the diagonal in 7x8 cylinders.
A beautiful problem

And now finish the bottle because here is the Masand

8 - #2 Masand
Masand : a piece that checks causes the pieces it controls to change colour (except Kings, of course)


W.: Kg2, Qe1, Rc1 and h3, Ba2 and g6 (it's not a hand error, they have indeed the same colour), pd2 and e5
B.: Kd4, Rd8, Bg5, Ne6, pd3

To help you a little, Rxd3 does not mate for 2 reasons: Nf4+ or dxe1=N+.
Very nice

and now, the final bouquet.
You can open the second bottle.

9 - #4 Masand


W.: Ka1, Ra7 and g6, Bg5, Nb4 and e7, pb2, d6, f3, g2, g4 and h2
B.: Ke5, Qc8, Bf1, Nc6, pa4, a6, b5, c7, d3, d7 and g7

Have a good look at this superb problem

It remains for me, as usual, to wish you good reading and see you on 13 November

Yours sincerely



Game of the day: 10 ...c5 (not e5).

Variation 12... Bg7: a slight obscurity, the continuation after 16...f4? remaining pending. But after 17 Rh4 it is already clear.

Variation 14...e4: two moves have skipped (with the power failure?): 15 Qd5 Qb6 16 Ng5 Ra7 and only now 17 Ncxe4!

Variant 18...h6: one move jumped (with the light restored?) after 20...Nd4 21 Ne7+ Kh8 and only now
22 Qg6!

Read 24 Qxc5 rather than Qec5: always this anticipation on the fairy tale, a sign of the stomach calling.

A rather hairy Master Greffier tonight, but still light years away from the ape-man celebrated by N. Short.

Good tasting


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