World Championship 2016

a word from the greffier

Taking advantage once again of the school holidays (for a retiree, that's amazing!), the Master did not come alone to Belgrade, contrary to the European Championship.

Below is a detailed report.

Monday 1 August: Solving Open

The throes of the Open

The death of Milan Velimirovic three years ago is being heavily felt. Logically, he should have selected the problems of this 40th World Championship, for the first time in Belgrade. Instead, the selectors are "Mr Haidme" for the open and the "gentleman" from across the Channel for the championship.
It started off very strong, as the first one could not answer the simple question: do your studies have a main line, or are points given for other sequences? There were two phases with 6 diagrams each. Nothing to say about the 2-moves, except that an effort is generally made to reward the researcher with a minimum of aesthetics, which was the case with only one. The same goes for the 3-moves, one of which had a check key, just to annoy the maximum number of people. The 4-moves was interesting but particularly vicious, with an ugly key, but complex variations. The 5-move was even more vicious, but uninteresting: one thinks of a Lepuschütz-like Rook sacrifice, followed by a model mate. Well, no, a nasty Knight move refutes, the "solution" is perfectly ugly.
I didn't look at the studies, knowing who I was dealing with. I gave a few blitz moves in one, pretty much seeing the containment of the Black King. I spent a few minutes on one helpmate, not the least on the other. I didn't look at the selfmate 6-move, and had trouble on the selfmate 3-move, given the previous vicissitudes. The right key at the last moment, after erasures, and of course lots of missing variations.
In short, a lousy result. One consolation, but is it really one: Michel fell into the same trap as I did in the 5-move. Yet he should succeed here: the main street of the city is called "Prince Michel"!

The 5-move was only solved by one competitor out of 119, the world champion Kasper Piorun. Having almost 2700 PLAYER rating, he can put himself in "computer" mode when faced with a perfectly stupid problem.  To propose such a thing is "an offence" according to my friend Nikola Predrag, the best Croatian problemist. I fully subscribe to this qualification. Shame on "Mr. Haïdme".

Tuesday 2 August: 1st day of the World Championship

The first day of the championship started well. I didn't lose any feathers in the 2-move event, unlike last year. And I found my old form in the 3-move event. All three are interesting, but the best (and most difficult) is the first one, dating from the 19th century. One sometimes wonders whether our age, which thinks itself so superior, is not rather degenerate. Abdel was faster, Piorun even more so: I saw him go out halfway through, when I had just unlocked my second problem. Michel, on the other hand, was a bit of a slouch.

But it was too good. Then came the canker of this kind of competition, the test of studies. After an hour (out of 1h40), I had nothing. On my way out, I didn't have much more: the 3 keys! These are 3 winning studies. In one, everything seemed to win, in the others, everything was drawing! In the second one was the worst crisis: I still don't see the gain in the suite that seemed to me to be the main one, which is evacuated in a short comment. How timely: I spoke with the author last night for half an hour. Will I rub his ears tonight, or discover a blindness on my part?

In the meantime, I am looking after the next generation, as the attached document shows. In our country, it is non-existent, but elsewhere... In addition to the Romanian princess, look at the little 12 year old in the corner. He "only" composes studies but solves everything. Yesterday he tackled the selfmate in 6, which I did not. I'm still ahead of him in the ranking, but for how long?

Saw Martin Minski tonight. Obviously, in my variation, he chooses to return the pawn for a R+B+N / R+B without pawns. I tell him about tablebase, he acts horrified as if I had said something obscene. Nevertheless. I had certainly said in my first edition (1984) that it seemed to win when the bishops are of different colours, but to base the correction on that, you need the monster. In short, I don't really like this study, especially as it spoiled my day: it left me tetchy, preventing me from thinking about others.

Wednesday 3 August: Day 2

Second day of the championship. Helpmates: Piorun goes out after 20 minutes (out of 50) while I have, apart from the 2 move helpmate, a solution on the 5 of the other problems. I will finally have 3.
The moremovers: it goes well, I recognize the 2nd problem, which does not prevent the numerous variants from taking a lot of time. The 5 moves are strategic with sacrifice. I like it. Alas, I will miss some variations, because I will be obliged to leave 5 minutes before the end. An invention I could do without: prostatic chess.
Finally the selfmates. As usual, the first two are easy, the last one is impossible to find for anyone who is not an alien. But this time, nobody will get up before the end!

Correction: it was Murdzia who went out after 20 minutes in the helpmates. Piorun took 30 (what a potato!!).

On Marjan's website, I had already suggested on the first day that a visit to the Belgrade Zoo be organised. This idea seemed to have fallen by the wayside, when yesterday a stranger (to me) came to give me an appointment for today at 3 pm. I informed the charming hostess Tamara (see photo), Belgrade's Minister of Recreation, but... she didn't know. And strangely enough, I had an appointment at the same time with Martin Minski and Darko Hlebec, whose studies I had seen in the wcci list, who had been called a "hooligan" sic by the brilliant but whimsical Didukh.

It seems that one of the organisers charged DH to kill two birds with one stone. So we saw, as hoped, other animals than the problematic ones. All the same, I asked Darko why the committee didn't know about it, and he replied that it was an "unofficial visit, reserved for study composers" resic!

I only understood a little later how good the set was, when I saw St. Nielsen and R. Staudte (not to be confused with HH), see the photo taken by MM (DH is in red).

Back to the adults, two oddities: the world champion title would be decided by a minute; the best Serbian (Marjan mentioned above) had apparently asked to play in the B team, which makes the A team fall!


Greffier's remark: The Master is the only one who does not drink water!

Yesterday, Darko showed us, just after the zoo, the fortress of Kalemegdan. Today, we visit the one in Novi Sad. With all these fortresses, I'm going to be strong...
At the solving-show, two notable facts: Michel beats the first Englishman (admire the sobriety of the words) but loses against the second. And the first contact of the little 13 year old Russian genius called Pavlov. He certainly has good reflexes... Against Podinic, who is not just anyone, he gives the key in... less than 30 seconds. Two good ones, two false ones. So 2-2 (it's the first one at 3) without Podinic having opened his mouth. In the fifth problem, the kid calms down. His opponent finds the key and qualifies, having had his butt burned. The kid will be the talk of the town...



On a French forum that was not only mediocre but is becoming downright unspeakable, I had a spokesperson for ten years, who was definitively excluded two years ago, without the slightest reason being clearly expressed. Of course, there was no lack of reasons, but I guess they were unmentionable. I will come back to this one day.
Every year, "the third man" (as Orson would say) of the France-sic team reports on the congress of problemists. Following a question about the selfmate ine 6, he was kind enough to publish a short interview with "Erony". He was allowed to play with the scissors, provided he indicated the location of the cuts, which he did. He went a bit too far, but in the end, a "prophylactic" self-censorship à la Nimzo was probably the right choice, to prevent censorship, which is usual on this forum. So here is some additional information. Enjoy your reading.

A cup, anyway !


Your master bucket is finally the third old man. He gladly shook hands with the second old man, a Japanese genius. There was also another old man on the podium. No comment.


The banquet was a little less lively than last year with regard to the afekeries and pervakoveries. But on the other hand, it was much better organised, with riverboats, unlimited wine, and lots of musical entertainment. Anna, whom I had met, sang and played the guitar. Other unexpected singers performed. Finally, with a real punch in the stomach, a divine voice took the 150 guests to heaven. On closer inspection, it turned out to be Mike Prcic's daughter. Knowing this, I asked the father where his daughter had been. He didn't know, and didn't seem to care. This is a really exciting time.


(clerk's note: the Master is standing behind the pillar)

Marjan then asks if anyone has anything to add. Very funny. Obviously, no one comes forward. A little later I say to him: "But how can anyone dare to speak up after such a marvel? Only Maria Callas, coming down from heaven for a while, could come forward without falling over.

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