European Championship 2015

In the beautiful city of Iasi, well known to verbicrucists, the Master competed in the 2015 European Solutions Championship.

To put you back in the same conditions (or more or less) as he was, here are the different events recounted with the resources at hand.

If screens put you off, here is the paper version : pdf version

The studies do not appear here, they did not have their papers, in other words, we must wait for the official publication.

As for the competition itself, here is a detailed report of it





:11ecsc 1 260x300

St lazare

Extract from the logbook of the "2nd veteran-sic prize".

-- The usual dizzy moment in the 2-moves event. With those 20 minutes ticking away and the panic of... I had only solved one problem out of three in Portoroz 2002. Fortunately, I felt the second one was the easiest, which turned out to be true. As soon as the encouraging mate (on ...Rc4) is seen, I write the key, check afterwards (erasures are allowed, we are not in the madhouse of Saint-Louis). I then make the 3rd, encouraged by the "monkey slide" Qd1. The first one takes a bit more time, but one feels that the prepared mate on ...Ng6 will not be changed, so one can give the bK the e5-square and afterwards, everything goes fast. I even have the luxury of handing in my paper a few minutes before the end, "à la Kovacevic". !

-- After the tension of the first test, the 3-moves test always seems like a relaxation. Just think, a whole hour for 3 problems in what is supposed to be my speciality (well no, the endgames came later; at 14-15 years old, I was stuffing myself with problems in 3, 4, 5 and 6 moves). . That said, you shouldn't exaggerate: sometimes under the beach, the cobbles. This time, I solved all three, the second one taking me the longest, even though it is probably the easiest. But I made a few mistakes with the variants, and did not mention all those of the 2nd problem: it must be said that the scale counted a 0.5 for a dualistic sequence, which is aberrant, and twice 0.5 for sequences with the same 2nd white move

-- The 3 studies are unpublished, hence the decision to keep them secret until publication in the magazine for which they are intended: thus applying the stupid "Phenix" rule of staying in one's rat hole, at the risk of never making them known to anyone. Only the first one is really hard, in my opinion. I lost an outright 2 points by stopping too early in the 2nd study, then 3.5 points by not placing the King in the right place on the 4th move in the 3rd. MVL, even in the catastrophic shape it is currently in, would probably have made 100%. The only question is "what would he have done on the second day?".

-- The 2-moves helpmate has 4 solutions, it is easy to "forget" one of them (I love this term that teased Spassky, the correct expression being "not to see" or "not to think about"! The 3-moves helpmate has a strategic solution and a bohemian solution, it is the latter that escaped me. The 2nd solution of the 5# helpmate was as easy as the first one, but that's far from my main regret.

-- The moremovers were the hardest test because of the 4#, but if you had the strength of character not to touch it, you could score 10 points out of 15. This 4-moves without elegance or theme could have been called "secret passage", à la O'Kelly. Three competitors out of 65 discovered the secret, including the new European champion G. Evseev. As is often the case, this setback created a state of excitement that made it impossible to judge the other problems calmly. The 5#, strategic, was not difficult for those who keep a basic lucidity. The 7# in particular was easy, especially for an old man who has been fed on Johandl, Lepuschütz and others for 55 years, and who knows better than anyone else that you have to give a rook for a tempo or for a square. You quickly see the try 1 Ne1? Qa3! and then you look for something else... I'm angry that I saw quickly enough that after 1 Nd8 Kxd6 2 Nb7+ bK must come back, and yet, afterwards, didn't make the connection by examining the prospects of the Bh1 + Nf3 battery, when in normal circumstances, the interest of evacuating d6 would have jumped out at me. Murdzia was very angry that he skipped too, but he is... more excusable than me! I tried to console him by telling him about the urge to commit suicide when I failed the helpmates test in Turku in 1995, an urge that faded as soon as I learned that the reigning world champion at that moment, A. Zude, had not done better! In any case, it was the first time in my life that I did not score a single point in "moremovers". !

-- The selfmate 3# is also a great disappointment; having come to understand too late that the key had to be ugly, but the only one possible to achieve a slow threat (still a rarity) by eliminating the "strong" move, I had no time left to master the 4 variants. I wanted to play 1 Nd7? just happy to have provided the "strong" move 1...dxe2. The trouble is that there is no threat, as Black plays the famous strong move on the 2nd move !

-- I am not even the first "old wreck", it is a Finn who preferred to run to the airport, and is therefore not on the picture with the Romanian Methuselah. I did receive a cup, though: usually their volume is inversely proportional to the value of the feat they are supposed to honour.

-- The day before the championship was held the open, where I forgot to look for the 2nd solution of Abdu's helpmate (so - 2,5), whereas I had almost found it by looking for the other one. A real oversight this time (see above the remark on Spassky)! I also stupidly missed a variant of Gamage's 3#, which makes - 2 because there were only 3 (that's their way of dividing 5 by 3),

-- There is no succession of French solutionists, we knew that, but as soon as I got back, I notice that people are complaining everywhere that there is also no succession of French players, which I have been saying for ages. And that's by comparing the youth championships with those of the Russians. Ah, the clever ones...

-- Iasi is a curious city, a bit schizophrenic, with sinister suburbs and a sumptuous futuristic city centre. For those who are devoted to the course, all of whom are foodies, there are many good restaurants, some of them outstanding. The price of the bill is between a quarter and a fifth of the French price.

 1st round - mates in 2 - 20 mn



diag 1

white Bg8d8 Kh3 Qg5 Ph7e4 Sh6 Rb6a4 black Pb7d7e6h4a5 Sb3h8 Bc6 Kd6
#2 (9+9)



white Ba7d7 Kh2 Qa4 Pd6e2 Se7g3 Rd4 black Bh7a3 Kc5 Qh8 Pb6a6e4g7h3b2 Sd1 Rh5c1
#2 (9+13)



white Bb7a3 Kh1 Qe8 Pb5c2f2 Sa5f1 Rc5d8 black Pa4e4d7h4 Kd4 Bg8g3 Sf8g2 Rh6g4
#2 (11+11)

 2nd round - mates in 3 - 60 mn



diag 4

white Ba5 Kd1 Qh2 Pf4e4f2b3 Sg4a4 Rc7e3 black Qd6 Pc6e7e6f3b4 Kd4 Ba8g7
#3 (11+9)



white Bg2 Kh1 Qf1 Pb4b3f4f2 Sa5g1 Rc6h3 black Sd1b2 Pe7f6f5d2 Re6 Bb5c1 Kd4Pb6a6e4g7h3b2 Sd1 Rh5c1
#3 (11+10)



white Bd8g6 Kh8 Qc3 Pe7e6a5d4 Sh6 Re5g5 black Bd2e2 Kd6 Qg1 Pb7b6d3e4g3h4 Se8c7 Rf6
#3 (11+13)

3rd round - studies - 100 mn

As the studies are not yet published, you are entitled to a word from the Master to compensate :


"Steamboat (blitz interview with Mihail Marin).

Who is Mihail Marin? A Romanian grandmaster author of books, especially one that I particularly appreciate, "Learn from the legends" whose theme is original: to introduce us to 8 great players (including 6 world champions), each with a specific characteristic or material, illustrated especially in the endgame.

Its 8 "heroes" are Rubinstein (Rook endgames), Alekhine (Q + R on each side), Botvinnik (N against B), Tal (R against B + N), Petrossian (exchange sacrifices), Fischer (B against N), Karpov (B of different colours) and Kortchnoi (various endgames). The book is "Shirovian", i.e. in a pleasant, passionate and no waffle style.

Moreover, this author has a rare particularity, especially in our beautiful country which believes itself so superior, he is also interested in problems, going so far as to participate in solution contests, where he is all the same less at ease than in front of a traditional chessboard, facing an opponent. I complimented him on this in May 2009 on a well-known forum, which has since become a dumping ground.

Knowing that he was participating in the European resolution championship in Iasi, I was therefore particularly well disposed towards him, intending to compliment him on his book but also (otherwise the Marquis would no longer be himself) to offer him some criticism. Of detail, of course! Not being old enough to be a fan club, I had not brought the book for him to sign, but almost.

Well, it all came to nothing. I did meet him, but... in the lift. I was with Mariana, he was with Alina (L'Ami), the photographer of the chess-base reports. I said to him, in my usual sabir "You are professor Marine!", happy for what I thought was a first contact. But strangely he seemed offended. He replied "Grand master Marine!" I tried to justify myself: "Grand master is nothing special for me, professor is much better", and managed to slip in a compliment about his book. But, as the 8th floor was approaching, I could hardly argue: if he couldn't see the difference between himself and Santo Roman, too bad. Anyway, the conversation ended, and there was no more.


A pity, I would have liked to show him the ZZ at the moment of the resignation in Rubinstein-Rosselli, and many other things. All this smacks of misunderstanding, especially as he was there, not for a tournament, but for a "solving contest". And in this field, he is not a "grandmaster", not even a "master", unlike your beloved master-bidon...

Bah! to be continued.


 4th round - helpmates - 50 mn



diag 10

white Pf5c2 Se3 Rh4a6 Kh3 black Qb3 Pe6c5a7 Sd4e5 Be8 Kb4
h#2 4 solutions (6+8)



white Pe2 Sh7 Bd3 Kg8 black Bc4f8 Kd5 Qb3 Pe3d4e5h5h6 Sb2 Rf4h4
h#3 2 solutions (4+12)



white Pb3e3f2f5 Sh5 Bg7 Kh6 black Pb6b5b4f3g5e4f7 Ka1 Rg4 Sf6
h#5 2 solutions (7+10)

 5th round - moremovers - 80 mn



diag 13

white Bc1h5 Ka1 Qb7 Pe3 Sg1 Rf2 black Pb4c4c3c2f5g6g7 Kb3 Ba4 Sb5a8
#4 (7+11)



white Pf2d5 Kg8 Re8c2 Sg7 Be2b6 black Kd7 Ph5f6f5e4d6c5c4a6 Sh8g3 Rh3a5 Bb5
#5 (8+14)



white Pg4 Kc8 Bh1g5 Sb7c2 Rd6 black Qa1 Pb6e6d5d4d3b2 Sa6b1 Bf7 Ke5
#7 (7+11)

 6th round - selfmates - 50 mn



diag 16

white Bf8g4 Ke7 Qe3 Pa7a6c4d3g6 Sa8 Re8g5 black Ba3f1 Kc8 Qe2 Pf3d2b2c5e6f6g7 Sd8
s#2 (12+14)



white Be2b4 Kf3 Qd6 Pe7f6g3g2f2b2 Se3e5 Rc6h4 black Bh6b1 Kd4 Qa7 Pb7g7h5g5d5d3 Sg4 Ra3
s#3 (14+12)



white Bd7b2 Kd3 Qf6 Pa6a5c3 Se8g4 Rc7e4 black Bd2f1 Kd5 Qe1 Pb3e2f3f4e5d6g5 Sb1 Rd1
s#6 (11+13)

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