2019 French Championship

Home championship

Once again, my namesake (first name) has zealously communicated to the world all useful information about the French championship, which traditionally takes place at Whitsun.

No suspense for the title. Hopefully MC will not fall ill, as I hardly see who, except GY (not very active lately) & AG (whose progress over the last 10 years has however disappointed), could claim the title of French champion. Our country, in decadence in this field as in many others, was unable to produce a young talented solutionist. Or else he is hiding well!

I would have argued with the selector about the study. Neither particularly elegant, nor, in its introductory phase, particularly difficult, it has a fatal flaw in my eyes: assuming that one knows how to administer the mate in 73 moves announced by the machine with two bishops against the pawnless knight. As a punishment, we should keep the author in a closed place until he knows how to beat us with this material. Thank you to the selector for demonstrating so eloquently that studies must disappear from the competitions of solutions... of problems. And also for making me feel a decade younger by reminding me of my struggles during my last appearance at the championship.

Normally, I don't like the mixing of genres and the introduction of fairytales in this event. But the first reflecting Bishop was enjoyable. The second, on the other hand, did not inspire me at all. I was the first to be surprised to solve the selfmate 7-moves, although the 2nd variant was probably off time. A very nice work, whose co-author... was among the solver competitors!

A few words about the other problems: the first 2# is easy, you just have to play the piece... where it doesn't bother anyone: Ahues style but it's not him. The second one can easily take 15 minutes if you approach it wrong. I thought I recognised Bartolović but it's not him.

The first 3# has a slightly wacky diagram, so you find the default key. The rest is easy, especially as the a3 pawn is quite a clue. The second, my favourite of the lot, is a very interesting bohemian. One quickly sniffs out a nice model mate but the others make themselves scarce. The weakening of ...f4-f3 is not obvious. The 4# is easier: a pleasant strategic work of two world champions, only the 3rd variation requires a little more time.

The 3# helpmate is nice, surprisingly easy when you discover a posteriori the name of the Ukrainian author who... has tortured me so often! Same qualifications for the selfmate 2#: the try is clearly refuted. I had less success with the 5# helpmate: although the two black knights suggest the mate picture, moreover unique with a simple white rook, it requires some diligence in opening the lines. Help me, Valentin Marin!

In summary, we remove the study and the neutral pawns, and we obtain an excellent selection.




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