april 28 2020

Having failed to get other teleconferencing products to work comfortably, we returned to our usual software.

Any suggestions for a free solution that could accommodate more than 5 listeners (plus the speaker) and sessions of at least three hours (to allow for half-time!) are welcome.

The number of participants was therefore at the limits of what was possible and the variations were numerous without being confusing.

Some very nice studies and plenty of Morphy allowed the audience to warm up their brains before the fairy tale celebrations at the end of the course.

Below is the Mestre's prolific report 

Master's words


"We have entered the terminal phase of our decivilisation" (Al. Arette).

"He who paddles with the flow makes the crocodiles laugh" (African proverb).


Marie antoinette

"How soon can a girl give herself away? Three days is too short, she behaves like a "girl". Fifteen days is too long: she is called a tease. So I'd like to know the jurisprudence" (Ch. Vanel in Clouzot's "La vérité", 1960).


"When one is blasé, it is because one has no more talent" (ibidem).


"The good of the country demands that we be abject. We cannot afford to be just" (Wojcieh Pszoniak -- Robespierre -- in Wajda's "Danton").


"I am calm as one is when one's conscience does not reproach anything" (Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France, 16-10-1793).

"Watching and waiting for someone to understand me. I hope it won't be very long" (J. Hayward). 

The Benoni defence was often featured in our course, see our last game of the day: http://lecoursdumaitre.e-monsite.com/pages/cours/cat-2020/31-mars-2020.html Did you know, which I have just learned, that Marshal Pétain, son of Omer-Venant Pétain, was named Henri Philippe Bénoni Omer Pétain, in homage to his ancestor Saint Bénoni (1748-1783) who died in Rome and was canonised in 1850 by Pius IX ? You will probably have difficulty in finding these details on "Wikipedia".Prokop 1

An astonishing discovery in the Knight and pawn versus Bishop endgame: the Knight comes on c1, the only way to win. In another variation, he comes on c8, also the only way. Have you ever encountered a similar phenomenon? This study reminds us of Havel's 5# seen here: http://lecoursdumaitre.e-monsite.com/pages/cours/cat-2012/15-mai-2012.html



A small study by Mike Bent, very much in his style. As J. Mestel said in his judgement of Diagrams 2002-3, putting this author in the lead (I had done the same in judging 2000-1): "he has produced dozens of similar studies, elegant and simple". Nothing abstruse, how relaxing...

"Nothing new was found in the treatment of open positions after Morphy" (M. Botvinnik).

It is not often that you will see a simultaneous and an advantage game as the games of the day! All the same, afterwards, a game of the great match.

Anderssen, since his great success in 1851, had had almost no contact with the world's top players (only Manchester 1857), devoting himself to his job as a mathematics teacher. Nevertheless, he immediately accepted the prospect of a match with Morphy, even agreeing to its postponement to Paris for reasons of the diva's health (the match was to have taken place in Breslau). In what way he differed from the hypocritical and cowardly Staunton, no doubt commissioned by the French for a perfect demonstration on "perfidious Albion".Morphy anderssen 1

A few white self-pins, then a missed win (do not give check too early); then a curious struggle of the pawns of the "h" file, as last month: see the comments of the 37th white and black moves. Another missed gain before... a catastrophe.

"Do great men make history, or does history make great men?" the preface to Sergeant's book on Morphy asks. The first part of the sentence is an obvious one, the second an abuse of language, for if it takes occasions for greatness to break out, they are only triggers. Anyway, he wanted to express his enthusiasm...  

Like a year ago, ( http://lecoursdumaitre.e-monsite.com/pages/cours/cat-2019/5-mars-2019.html ) a fairy exercise for the next lesson : put on the chessboard a white King on e1, a white Rook on g1 and a white Knight on h3. We are in Martian circé, which means that a unit can only capture (or check) from its presumed birth square (e.g. a1 for the Rook located on the black square g1). The question is: add the black King and a white Bishop so as to obtain an illegal pack of 5 units, (thus wK + wR + wB + wN + bK), such that if we remove any of the 3 white units (R, B or N), the position becomes legal. Exercise composed by D. Innocenti.

Training: the 2# easier than last month (half of them will make you think a bit). The 2nd still has 4 tries, as do the 6th and 11th, the 9th even has 5 and the 10th 6! The last one is an improvement of a problem published 110 years earlier!


In 3#, a Swiss theme by a great... swiss composer, then two works by a French genius of the 19th century. In 4#, two strategies, and finally an 11# with the solution (which you are ordered to hide) by the great French duel specialist, against whom I played 55 years ago (is it possible?)!

An helpmate 2# with 2 solutions (which seemed difficult to me) from the Bulgarian genius, an helpmate 3# (with twin) from our national hero, with white and black tempo, then a long Lithuanian, less difficult than it seems, with 2 mate echoes, but with the black King on a very different square. After hesitation, we leave the solution, but you are dishonoured if you look at it too quickly. We end with a selfmate 4# from the first world championship won by the said national hero, already 33 years ago. Last minute: in tribute to Y. Tallec, victim of French negligence, a nice 2# from his youth.

Have a good time. See you in May.Zostańcie z Bogiem.  

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