International Solving Contest 2018

Morning. The 2# contains a provided check, it gives an idea, which turns out to be the right one. The 3# is a different matter. When you see a "trivial solution" that you can't disprove, you worry. In the past I thought it was a diagram error, that's not possible nowadays, at least in this kind of competition. The only thing left to worry about is... the state of your own brain! The only decision you can make is to move on (in this case the selfmate 3#) and come back later. The release will happen and great aesthetic satisfaction will follow. Back home, I will see that I had already enjoyed this problem many years ago.

I expected the calamitous and unfortunately inevitable selector to have chosen a study not solvable by Martin. So I decided not to spend more than two minutes on it. It was indeed a study not solvable by Martin. The helpmate 5# did not work for me, my only two ideas being off the mark. In 4# a curious phenomenon occurred: I immediately had an intuition of the key, but then... nothing came. Later I saw a threat and an encouraging variant. But the last one was blocking: a third white move was eluding me, I'll  only discover it at the last minute. And a silly scale will rob me of a point. On the other hand, the selfmate 3#, on the theme "where would you play your bishop", will not create any difficulty for me. Total: 19/30.


Afternoon. The 2# is brilliant and therefore easy! There was a gag in store for the Zagreb participants on the 3#. Two minutes into the challenge I hear voices and laughter, which is unusual. Before I had asked any questions, a participant informed me that a solver had just recognised the problem, and for good reason - he had composed it! I reply: will he be able to find the solution? Not sure, he says. In fact, he will only score 4 points out of 5! This really terrible 3# took me maybe 40 minutes. Its main variation is a combination of effects that I have never seen in almost 60 years. A 2nd variant recalls a 4# by Léon Ségal (session of 11 April 2017). All the solvers present suffered, the 2016 Croatian runner-up even skipped.

The study was more affordable than the morning one, but I had other worries. The helpmate 3# seemed within my grasp, but I will only crack the 2nd twin. The first three moves of the 10# come quickly, but then... it still takes time to finish it. And in these conditions, it's impossible to seriously do the selfmate 4#. Total: 17.5/30.

In the end I get 36.5 out of 60. Actually out of 50, having boycotted the studies. It was clearly harder than last year.


Champagne! Despite the "calamitous" scam, I'm ahead of Michel!

Note of February 7: after the scam got worse, I no longer precede Michel. Too late, the champagne was drunk !

Blitz fev 2018 1

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