French Championship 2024

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Home Championship

It's funny that this championship took place in Gentilly, where I met Smyslov almost half a century ago and where, with the great class that has always characterised him, he told me that his "co-author" of "Rook endings" was in fact the real author of the book.

Before this championship, I said to myself: the only chance Michel has of getting back on track after 3 years of relative setbacks is if the 3#s aren't too difficult! And so it proved. The first one, from the German titan, is easily solved when you see that Kxh5 is met with an immediate mate and that the White Queen must be good for something. It's surprising that 3/4 of the participants failed. One comment: how can we have scored 3.5, 4 or 4.5 given the scale shown?

The 3# of the great Losch seemed even easier, the only difficulty being not to forget the variants. Only the first three solved it. The 4#, also easy, was only solved by the first two. We are still waiting for the new generation. Will we have to go and get it in Russia?


Give the key and variations
until mate.

Hans Peter Rehm
2nd Prize,
Norsk Sjakkblad 1983 (v)

white Qb3 Kf1 Pg2f2 Rh1g8 Sh3 Bh5f6 black Bc8c1 Qb7 Pc6b4g3h7f7 Rb5 Kh6


Give the key, threats and variations
jusqu’au mat.

Lev I. Loshinsky
2nd Prize,
USSR Sports Committee 1948

white Pe7f7e3d3 Sh5c4 Bg3f1 Rg2 Kh1 Qb3 black Ra8b7 Pb6a5h6c3c2 Qa1 Bd1f4 Kf3 Sg7


give solution until last white move before checkmate.

Walther Von Holzhausen
Deutsches Wochenschach

white Ka8 Rb8 Sa1 Qh3 Bh2 Pc2d2e2f2g4f5 black Kh1 Pa2h4g5 Rg2


There's nothing to say about the 2#, which are both nice, but the taste for provocation makes us play the key a tempo.


Give the key.

Herbert Ahues
1st Commendation
Probleemblad 1985

white Sb7e5 Ka6 Re8a4 Qg3 Bg1g4 Pd4b3 black Bg8 Pg6f5e4d3a3 Rf2h2 Kd5


Give the key.

Milan Velimirovic
1st Place, WCCT

white Pb4d7d6 Ra6e1 Sf8d4 Qf2 Kc2 Bd3 black Ba7b7 Sb6h4 Ra5 Pb5a4g5 Kd5

The 6# of the great specialist of the selfmate is not difficult, but takes a little more time.

A very 'human' study of the sympathetic Czech genius who died prematurely. Need I repeat, once again, that this is becoming a rarity in resolution competitions? Well done to Selector Eric.


Donner les variantes jusqu'au dernier coup blanc avant le mat

Camillo Gamnitzer
5ème Mention d’Honneur
Europa Rochade 1988-89

white Pa3a4f4 Bb3 Kb2 Sg3f1 Rg1 black Kd3 Pd4a5c7e6f7h3g4 Sg8 Bh8


Donner la ligne principale

Mário Matous
1er Prix
Sachová skladba 2003-04

white Kc1 Bf1 Rh8 black Pc2e2 Bg1 Rh1 Kd5

The 2# helpmate is very entertaining, and it's surprising that the winner only found one solution. The selfmate 2# offers no difficulty. Once again, we must point out the absurdity of the scoring system, which gives half a point for a threat that never materialises. There's always this (unconscious?) desire to drive ordinary players away from the artistic universe.


give complete solutions.

Igor Agapov &
Vladislav Nefyodov
Schach in Schleswig Holstein 1999

white Sb4d6 Rc4a6 Kh2 Bd1 Pd5 black Qb8 Sd8h8 Ph5g5d7c6c5a4b3e3 Ke5 Bc1b5
b) b4 --> h7


give threat and solutions until last white move.

Primus Wahlmark
2éme Prix Niederfränkische
Arbeiter Schachzeitung 1926

white Pc6e6f5h3 Ba6c5 Se4h4 Ra2g3 Qd1 Kd5 black Sa8d2 Ph5h6f6e5c7a4a3 Kd3 Rb5 Bf3

The 5# selfmate has only been solved by Michel, which restores the tradition! However, a selfmate in 5 where Black has only two moves is actually a double selfmate in 4, which is much easier. And on one of these two moves, the square where the bishop should reach is obvious. A few details remain. A good centenary for this excellent problem.


Give variations until last white move.

Eduard A. Birgfeld
Deutsches Wochenschach

white Rc1c8 Pb7h6f5f4 Sg8e4 Kh5 Bh4 Qg1 black Ba4 Pb5b3f7f6 Kd7

I didn't look at the 'selfhelpmates', which were falsely called 'helpselfmates', because I felt that this genre contained an absurdity within it. My only regret is that I presented too many of them in the ' Master Lessons'.


Give solutions until checkmate.

Michal Dragoun
1st Prize T.T. StrateGems

white Bb8h5 Pa7e6h6 Re5 Kg5 Sf4g1 Qf1 black Rd5a4 Sg6 Bh7b2 Pf3 Kh2 Qc1


Give solutions until checkmate.

Gabriele Brunori &
Valerio Agostini 7th Honor Mention,
StrateGems 2017

white Pf4f2d4 Qd3 Bf1 Kg2 Rb1 black Bd8a4 Re8f8 Pf7h6h4f5 Ka5
b) pa4

To sum up, even if we boycotted the last two problems, which have no place in a French championship, any more than in the world championship where they are always absent, it was reasonable to score between 47 and 50 points. Would I have finished 3rd?

WSC 2023/2024 (

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