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Finally it’s official

The 58th congress for chess composition and the 39th world solving championship were held In Ostróda (Poland) on August 1-8. On top of the official program a variety of composing tourneys were announced with the national drinks of their organizers as prizes.

The full schedule, agenda, participant list, results and tourney awards as well as plenty of material regarding the world of chess composition, may be found here:

In the congress I acted as the Israeli official delegate and the chairman of the sub-committee for endgame studies. I was also involved in ARVES 8th theme tourney, mainly as a composer.

Nevertheless I won’t deny that the highlight of that exciting week was for me being granted with the title of “Grandmaster of the Fide for chess composition for outstanding achievement”. Though it is awarded by very clear criteria regarding quality and quantity requirements, the title usually comes in such a late stage (in my case following a composing career of 48 years!) that it should be considered more as a kind of lifetime recognition. It’s a rather rare title making me for example the only living GM for chess composition in both Israel and the Netherlands…

You may read some more about my “case” here:

Another article by Jesús Seoane Sepúlveda in a Spanish chess magazine includes a larger selection of my more players’ friendly studies.


My Dieren Study


Prior to the congress in Poland I had played 2 Dutch tournaments: The Science Park Amsterdam tournament and The Dutch open in Dieren. Unfortunately I played pretty badly though I quite enjoyed the atmosphere and the more social aspects of both events.

In Dieren I was also invited, just like last year, to compose an original endgame study especially for the event. I dedicated the following one to all participants and officials:

 You can download the studie as pgn.

The study was introduced to the players and visitors on a demo board as well as in the official brochure and website for solving and three quality chess books were even granted to the best solutions. Together with the daily problems the study was offered as an extra activity to the participants and quite a few of them did like it indeed. 

If you organize a chess event and wish to have an original study as a unique piece of art to be introduced and associated with that event and appear on its official publications as well as the press releases, perhaps I am the person to contact. My originals have already decorated the venues and official websites in such top events as Tata Steel Tournament, Isle of Man and London Classic as well as various smaller events. Will you give it a try too?  

Posted: August 17 - 2015



 Photo: Yoav Nis

Jerusalem is ready for the European invasion

Press release by Yochanan Afek

Next Monday, February 23rd, the European Individual Chess Championship 2015 will be officially opened in Ramada hotel in Jerusalem. The Mayor of the ancient city, Mr. Nir Barkat, the minister of culture and sport, Mrs. Limor Livnat and other distinguished guests will welcome more than 250 players from 33 European countries and will give the sign to two weeks of tense fight for the continent championship title as well as for 23 qualification tickets to the world cup in Baku, Azerbaijan later this year, a higher qualifier in the world championship cycle.

Read more: ....Jerusalem is ready for the European invasion

Wouter van Rijn (photo: Harry Gielen)

Van Rijn won the Study Solving

The 6th ARVES study solving contest was held in De Moriaan, Wijk aan zee, the venue of the Tata Steel tournament in the last weekend of the famous event. ARVES is the International association that promotes the art of the endgame study and publishes the quarterly EG –the only publication which is dedicated entirely to endgame studies. 17 solvers took part in the competition this year of which two were former solving world champions: Frenchman double GM (for solving as well as for composing) Michel Caillaud and GM Jorma Paavilainen from Finland.The participants were confronted for three hours with nine unpublished studies of various degrees of difficulty, created by famous composers who had provided them especially for this event. Composers whose originals were selected by chief arbiter Luc Palmans were: Daniel Keith (France); Martin Minski (Germany); Ger Sune Tallaksen Ostmoe (Norway); Andrzej  Jasik (Poland); Siegfried Hornecker (Germany) Jan Timman (Netherlands) and Gady Costeff (Israel / USA). With 5 points per study the maximal number of points to score was 45. All top honours were shared by Dutchmen leaving behind the more natural favourites. Here are the top final standings: 1. Wouter van Rijn 26; 2.Twan Burg (winner of the first edition in 2009)  22; 3.Willem van Briemen 21; 4.-5. Piet Peelen, Marcel Van Herck (BEL) and Michel Caillaud (FRA) 18 etc. Yours truly was again the tourney organizer and acted as the arbiter assistant

Posted: Januari 30 - 2015

Never too late!

One of the evident advantages composers enjoy compared to over the board player is having a second chance to correct their mistakes, even after 36 years!

In 1978 a study by Amatzia Avni won 1st prize in the

Israeli annual tourney:

White to play and draw

The intended solution was 1.Rg1 (threatening mate in one) and now:

1…Ng2 2.R:g2! Rd1+ 3.Bg1 Bd5 4.e4 B: e4 5.f3 B: f3 stalemate.

1…Nf3! 2.Rg3+ Kh4 3.R:f3! Rd1+ 4.Bg1 Bd5 5.e4! B: e4 6.Kh2 R: g1! (6…B: f3 stalemate) 7. Rh3+ Kg4 8.f3+ B: f3 9.Rg3+ R: g3 stalemate.

A nice piece which was later chosen to be included In a Fide Album; in his book "Solving in Style", John Nunn commented "To achieve three stalemates from such a natural initial position is quite a triumph for the composer".

Alas, in the late nineties, when the age of accessible chess software has arrived, a flaw was discovered: The line 1…Nf5 2.e4 Rd2 3.R:g6, previously assessed as a draw, was actually winning for black with 3…Bc4! when the threat 4…Bd3 proves to be decisive

Sometimes a study is busted beyond repair. On other occasions a correction is found but some content of the original work is lost. The composer tried over the years to correct his work, but in vain. A happy ending to the story came only in 2014, 36 years after first publication, when the famous composer Gady Costeff gave a helping hand. By making a small change in the original position, he kept the play and the three stalemates intact.

Amatzia Avni 1978

 Correction by Gady Costeff 2014


White to play and draw

Amended solution: 1.Rg1 (1.Ne1 Bg4 2.Ra3+ Bf3+ 3.Kg1 Rg4+ 4.Bg3 Be4 will lose shortly) 1…Nf3 (1…Ng2 2.R:g2 etc.) 2. Rg3+ Kh4 3.R:f3 e1=Q+ 4.N:e1 R: e1+ 5.Bg1 etc.

Posted: Januar 30 - 2015


Hans Böhm and Hou Yifan (photo: Jurriaan Hoefsmit)

The Queen with ''The Queen''

 The world chess champion Hou Yifan was pleasantly surprised by Dutch chess ambassador Hans Böhm during the prizegiving of Tata Steel tournament last Sunday in Wijk aan Zee. The Chinese first lady was delighted to be presented with the new book by Hans Bohm & Yochanan Afek "Wij Presenteren De Koningin" that compiles the most stunning queen moves ever played and composed and their stories. She showed a special interest in the unique history of the game’s strongest piece which had been pretty much new to her. The book was very well received by the large public visiting the village throughout the super tournament. It’s the fifth volume on the pieces published by de Fontein Tirion, a young brother to ‘De Pion’ (2010) ‘De Toren’, (2011), ‘Het Paard’ (2012) and ‘De Loper’ (2013). The last volume 'De Koning' is expected at the end of this year

Posted: Januar 30 - 2015

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