november 21 2023

For this last course of 2023, there were no technical issues to worry about, apart from the hourly power cuts to which we're becoming accustomed.

The core group was without our friend Pierre, no doubt having trouble with the Internet in the far-off lands where he works.

Below, you'll find the Master's report, in excellent form, with a superb endgame that was a big part of the exercises resolution, followed by a memorial game of the day in tribute to a recently passed away, and a whole lot of fairies.

As you may have noticed, the agenda behaves strangely depending on the software environment.

The date of the next course will therefore be given here once known.

Happy reading


Master's words

Stanwyck 1Rivarol 2

"For you, I'd do anything -- even go away?" (Barbara Stanwyck's reply in "Adieu pour toujours", 1938).

"In a few moments, you'll be able to admire our most beautiful creations on our most beautiful creatures" (Fantomas, 1964).

"At the zoo, all the animals have decent behaviour... except the monkeys. One senses that man is not far away" (E. M. Cioran).

"When the people say yes to them, they're infallible; when they say no, they're misinformed." (R. Poulet).

"The Revolution has turned France back into chaos. All that is most sacred and most imperious in men, the sanctity of religion and the antiquity of laws, has been annihilated in the people of France... We have become another people" (A. de Rivarol, 26-3-1792).

"Ambition often makes one accept the lowest functions: it is thus that one climbs in the same posture as one crawls" (J. Swift).

"The departed, if his memory is venerated, is more precious and more powerful than the living". (A. de Saint-Exupéry).

Vukcevic 3"It became more interesting to go from one tournament to another than to sit alone and create what others may refuse to understand. It was so much simpler to just win a game and watch the public admire the result without any regard to the manner it was achieved. The real art appear so displaced in a world where a large majority of people can appreciate an achievement only if it can be measured in numbers... The bad decision was made : the Composer was exiled so that the Performer could rule" (M. Vukčević, "Chess by Milan" 1981). Thank God, Vuk made the right decision later. !

« "The BCPS exists to promote the knowledge and enjoyment of chess compositions. Membership is open to chess enthusiasts in all countries". This collegiate nature of Gens una Sumus is one that I value dearly ; it is a matter of deep regret that current editorial policy is to snub the compositions of friends that have graced these pages over the years. We are all diminished » (D. Shire protesting against the insane exclusionary policy of the Russian Problemists in "The Problemist".).

At the 1953 French Championship, our Tartacover, who had tied for the lead with Claude Hugot (a genius who passed away prematurely), was declared the winner in the tie-break. Let's listen to his much-appreciated closing speech: "The fact that I am 0.0073 points ahead of my competitor in the tie-break is proof of my incontestable superiority". Bravo Tartacaviar !

The Rook fight against a mass of pawns was covered here. and October 12 of the same year. Today's example has nothing to envy these two. See also Didukh's study on March 13, 2012 and Akobia's on January 28, 2014. As is often the case, we're treated to a few mini-studies: three Rook moves are refuted by three distinct pawn moves, respectively. A King's move is bad because it allows an unfortunate check, but a little later, the King will have to be played precisely. A Rook move fails when it attacks a pawn, the same one succeeds when it no longer attacks the said pawn. Rivalry between white and black "g" pawns. Etc.

With just one more pawn, you can hope to win a figure. Mate threats will provide the answer. We finish with a parity problem and a Knight barrage to the nasty pawn, featuring a "study within a study".

Le havre 6 bisKovacevic 6For 2024, a short discussion of Tarrasch's principle, a study that had pleased a Georgian woman world champion, a Knight facing two Rooks and a Czech miniature.

The creator of the Šahovski Informator passed away this year. I knew him while he was meditating on his invention at the 1966 tournament in Le Havre: see . He thus invented the "language of chess". Convinced that "Chess is a miracle" (Шах је чудо), he also loved and respected the world of the problem, particularly appreciating Milan and Marjan's book, one of my bedside books, offering 2345 direct mates with a maximum of 12 units ("meredith") and therefore pleasant, likely to attract "pure players".

Matanovic 2Matanovic 3Our game of the day is particularly aesthetic. Transport yourself after the 23rd black move: have you ever seen a diagram like this? It's also a new episode in the struggle between queenside pawns and central pawns, which hasn't stopped since Yates-Alekhine 1921. And also a merciless struggle between the great white and black diagonals! Don't miss the logical little combination on 32 Bxe4 Rxe4? 33 Nd7! (after the simplest of Black's 26th move).

Training: among the 2#, we found the 2nd, 6th, 7th, 10th & 11th to be the most difficult. The 4th & 8th are rich in variations. Next, a 3# that Aleksandar had appreciated: in its main variant, you don't threaten anything, you just wait! Another 3#, simpler, but with a paradox.

An amusing 8# where a certain square clearly pleases White. Two cute little helpmates from "Monsieur Plume" and another with two cases of curious rebirth. Then a long helpmate from the great Abdu, hardly difficult, since you can guess the mate board pretty quickly. Let's finish with two selfmates by a little-known Swedish genius; we'll leave the solution to the second.

Beasley 1Good news: our friend John Beasley has just published a succulent book on pawn endgames, to be enjoyed before going to sleep.("Bedtime Pawn Endings"). Regular participants in our course will already be familiar with a number of them, such as Becker's study here : 

But everything can be forgotten, and a pleasant refresher is always welcome.

Enjoy. Merry Christmas and see you in January if  Deus vult.       

Master's diagrams

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