Zagreb 2017

The Master, during his Croatian trip, took the opportunity to participate in 2(!) solving tournaments in one weekend:

 - the Croatian championship on Saturday 10 June

- the Israel Open in "multi-location" mode (like the ISC) on June 11th

Here is a report written by the Master


Today, Croatian championship, tomorrow, Israeli championship (!!)

Someone would have told me, until a week ago, that I would participate in the Israeli championship (a thousand times sic), I would have spoken of delirium tremens. But these clever people are using the formula of the international tournament in January, with simultaneous events in various parts of the world. The day the Francuzi have a comparable dynamism, I will have a chance to remake the championship of our beautiful country (which does not "march", as Dugland would say but runs... to disaster). However, I did it in the room, only drying on a solution of Crisan's 3# helpmate and, as usual, on Gamnitzer's selfmate (I didn't look at the fairy ones). I'm surprised that even brilliant contestants have lost out on the 3# and the very easy 6#.

The Croatian championship, therefore, whose formula was to be modelled on the world championship (6 rounds of 3 diagrams over 2 days, a total of 6 hours) was shortened to make room for the other event. And so, there were two rounds of 6 diagrams, 1h30 each. In short, two diagrams of each kind instead of three.

Zagreb2017 2

Nothing to say about the 2#, except that I marjanized the second one with... 3 seconds, a bit more for verification. The first 3# (composed by... a 2# specialist) was quite difficult. I had a hard time deciding between two moves that seemed to be equivalent. Of course I could guess which one was the right one (because it was more elegant) but I lost so many points in my life for giving a wrong key when I understood 9/10 of the problem... Anyway, I couldn't let it go until I had refuted the try! In the second one, by the author of "Mostly 3-movers", I played the key a tempo, then blocked, until I realised that there was a wBh2 in the diagram, which certainly makes it easier.

Moremovers: one obvious, the other a bit tricky with a few false leads, but finally clear with a Hauptvariant and a nice model mate. Studies: I only tackled the first one in great time difficulty, so I got it wrong on the 3rd move. I took my revenge on the second one, easy when you remember Rinck and Réti.

Helpmates: both easy. selfmates: I spend a lot of time on the first one, having understood half of the problem but realising a bit late that I had switched the moves. The idea, a sort of echo-chameleon with double pin, is charming. The second one, remarkable, will only be completely solved by Marko Filipović the Croatian Caillaud. I think I found 2 variants out of 3, without seeing again an unfortunate switch of moves.


In short, an excellent selection by the organizer Dejan Glišić which should inspire a German coach... My result is logical (as already seen, 3rd behind Marko and the Slovenian Klemen Šivić) although I have the vague impression to have brushed the back of the 2nd (that I had preceded in January).

Zagreb2017 1

In a few hours, a walk along the Jordan River...

Israël Open

Israel's Open Championship held simultaneously in several cities around the world. The same formula as the one in Croatia, with one detail: each session lasts two hours instead of one hour and a half, which suggests a greater difficulty. The result will be the same though, at least as far as Zagreb's participation is concerned: I will be 2nd behind Marko, Klemen having left for Ljubljana.

The 2#: only the second one (a French work) is confusing with its 6 attempts, two of which were very tempting. You could tear your hair out on the 3#, but I have a big advantage: I don't have much to tear out. The first one has some deterring and some encouraging defences, the question is to start with the good ones. The second one is a bohemian as I like them. I smell them, sniff out the model mats, absolutely certain to solve them. Yeah, in the meantime, I moved on to the next one after 15 minutes! But I'll finish it later.

The moremovers of two kinds: a typical back-and-forth where the only difficulty is not to get the order of the moves wrong on the 3rd & 4th. Then a battery game where you can't see a thing, until it all unlocks. The first study took me too long, which will pay off in the selfmate 6#. For the second, it was the opposite: after having broken the trap of the 2nd move, I quickly found myself in the 4th move with an almost assured win, while suspecting that there must be an extra, but there is better to do.

The surprise of the day was the ease of the helpmates, although none were in 2 moves. The first one reads instantly, the masking manoeuvres of the second one don't last long. Finally the selfmates. In the first one (in 6#) I see the idea of a variation and the mate but leave on a wrong key (again a problem of interversion). I understand the nice design of the second one, but forget a variation by underestimating a black defence.

In summary, 25/30 in the morning (the s#6) and 27/30 in the afternoon (the end of the study and the last variation of the s#3), so 52/60. Marko did a world champion performance in the morning (100% in 70 minutes instead of 120) but was only one point ahead of me in the afternoon. I hand in my copy a quarter of an hour before the end: when you feel that you won't find anything noteworthy, there's no point in insisting. The decision was justified as soon as I read the official solution.

By the way, I almost forgot: what do you think Marko did during his 50 minutes of advance? In a conversation the day before, I had alluded to one of the best selfmates I've ever seen in my life, presented at the October 2, 2007 course (by Bohumil Štipa; solution on request). This problem (selfmate 4#) manages to offer... 5 distinct model mates. And it didn't seem particularly easy to me. So I gave it the position in the morning. As I continued to suffer on the board, I saw him place it on the large board, which he had not used during the event (stars prefer to use less conspicuous boards). I thought: "If he solves it in the remaining 25 minutes, he is really good". What do you think happened? A little later, still working on the selfmate 6#, I looked up. He was gone, but the key had been played on the big board! A new piece to add to the file of "man's inequality".

Marko is one point ahead of the local winner, former world champion O. Comay, who is exactly my score for the afternoon!  He is 4th in the world, while I am 20th.

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