The traditional Studies solving simultan in Cafe Atlantis -

Groningen - The Jubilee Edition

Groningen is a world famous chess city with long tradition highlighted by the 1946 international tournament, the first major event to be organized after the Second World War.  
Next Friday the 50th edition will start. An experienced organizing team headed by Jan Colly will run various open tournaments to be played on December 21-30 in Sportcentrum Rijksuniversiteit & Hanzehogeschool Blauwborgje 16, 9747 AC Groningen
On December 26-29 GM John van der Wiel will play the Groningen University Chess Challenge against the local young talent Jorden van Foreest.  
All festival details and the updated participants list may be found on the official website:
There you may also find the daily brainteaser and send in your solution to win a book prize if you are lucky.

After their hard fought games the players (and other chess lovers) may still enjoy a relaxed after-chess evening in Café Atlantis situated in the city center. The owner Bert van der Marel, himself a great chess lover, a strong player and an endgame study enthusiast, has prepared a special program:

Vrij 21 dec. Atlantis 7 jaar. Het Aquariussnelschaaktoernooi.
Za  22 dec. Doorgeefschaak.
Zo  23 dec. Schaakquiz.
Ma 24 dec. Klikschaak.
Di 25 dec. Eerste Kerstdag. Atlantis gesloten.
Wo 26 dec. Compositieworkshop.
Do 27 dec. Lezing over schaken door IM Hans Böhm.
Vrij 28 dec. SISSA Kerstblitztoernooi in Atlantis
Za 29 dec. Studiesimultaan door IM Yochanan Afek.
Zo 30 dec. Afterparty.

Posted: December 17 - 2012


That is how the table looks following the fifth round

A successful weekend

Last weekend was a successful one for me and for my teams.
My Dutch team from Wageningen beat Amersfoort 6.5:3.5 though Jan Timman lost on our top board to GM Matthew Sadler. Following the victory Wageningen shares the lead in the southern division of the first league (in fact second to the top division – De Meesterklasse) equal in match points to LSG (Leiden) and DD (Den Hague).

Once the victory was secured I left to Lippstadt in Germany and spent there the night. My teammates in Castrop-Rauxel 1923 joined me the next morning to beat the local team 5:3.
My game on the second board reached the following position:

 Black with the exchange ahead has obtained a winning position however he might face technical difficulties after for example: 31...Rf2+? 32.Qxf2 Rxf2+ 33.Kxf2 Qh3 34.Nf3 etc. I thought that the quickest way to convert the edge is to sacrifice a pawn and get my Rooks inside.  
31... Qg4! 32.Qxg4 Rf2+ 33.Kh3
 Or 33.Kg1 hxg4 34.Be7 R8f7 35.Bxd6 Bh6 36.Nf1 Rb2 37.Bxc5 Rxb3 38.d4 Rc3 wins
 33...hxg4+ 34.Kxg4 Bh6! 35.Be7 R8f7 36.Bg5 Kg7
White is in a deadly zugzwang and can move only his king and his fingers.
 37.Kh3 Bxg5 38.hxg5 Re2 39.Kg4 Ref2 40.Kh3 Rf8 41.Kg4 a5 42.Kh3 Re2 43.Kg4 Re3 44.Nf1 Ref3 45.Nh2 Rf2  and White soon resigned.



The official website:

Posted: December 17 - 2012

 Composition delights

Recently I added to my collection two gigantic new books on the art of chess composition. Israeli Chess Problem Art contains 1064 selected chess problems of Israeli composers in all genres (endgame studies included!), published in the years 1932-2010. This largest ever Israeli selection (416 chromo pages hardcover) is edited by solving GM Ofer Comay, IM Gady Costeff and IM Paz Einat and offers also indexes of composers and themes as well as milestones in the history of Israeli chess composition. You may find further details on the book as well as sample pages and other activities of the Israeli problemists here:

The Encyclopedia of Chess Problems is yet another monumental project of the well-known publishing house Chess Informant in Beograd. The book (520 pages hardcover) is co-authored by the Finnish solving GM Kari Valtonen and the Serb composing GM Milan Velimirovic and is the most serious attempt so far to cover the huge terminology of chess composition defining and explaining its various themes and motives with the help of countless top illustrative examples. More about this magnificent book here:
Both books are a must for all chess lovers. Highly recommended!
The periodical Chess Informant (founded in 1966) offers a variety of articles on all stages of the game with the best of up to date material but also regular columns for chess problems (by GM Milan Velimirovic) and for endgame studies by yours truly. Worth’s giving a try!

Posted: December 10 - 2012

Max Euwe plein.

GM Jan Timman and prof. Jaap van den Herik.  (photo's Karel van Delft)

On computers, endgame studies and even more

Last Friday I spent a pleasant and instructive afternoon in Max Euwe Centrum. This world-famous chess centre is situated in the very heart of the city, more precisely in Max Euwe square, just a few steps from both Leidseplein and Vondelpark. If you approach the place from the gate of the Vondelpark you will have to cross the Jan Hein Donner Bridge named after a Dutch grandmaster and well-known writer. The square, named after the fifth legendary Dutch world champion, looks even more chess-oriented these days. The giant chess set placed in the square and watched from above by the statue of the great man, attracts numerous local and foreign chess funs all year long. However, towards the end of the year with Christmas and new year approaching, the city center is usually extra illuminated and in Max Euweplein giant lamps shaped as the chess pieces do the trick. The chess centre itself is accommodated in an office building, formerly the municipal prison and the notorious jail of the Gestapo during the Second World War the chess center offers a museum commemorating the life and career of Max Euwe, a library with some 10,000 titles and a variety of cultural activities on which you may read here:
Last Friday a special workshop was held in the center. Professor Jaap van den Herik from Tilburg University (scientific adviser of the center) and Grandmaster Jan Timman discussed the computer utilities in the process of composing endgame studies. The professor told the audience about the history of computer chess as related to the art of the endgame study, evaluating the aesthetics of the study with the help of the computer, as well as correcting cooked studies and even improving on sound ones. The invaluable database of Harold van der Heijden was naturally mentioned too. Jan demonstrated various fascinating examples from his own rich experience to the enjoyment of the audience (many of them may be found in his book “The art of the endgame” Our webmaster Karel van Delft videotaped parts of the workshop which you may watch here even if Dutch is not exactly your mother tongue.

Following the workshop the traditional borrel (a reception accompanied by fine drinks) was held in the neighbouring Holland Casino. This pleasant meeting of the friends of the center was highlighted by introducing some chess actuality. Chairman Prof. Eric Smaling interviewed Jan Colly, organizer of Groningen tournament, about the upcoming edition of this reputedevent; Peter Doggers told the story of his highly popular website “Chessvibes” and your truly presented his co-authored book (with Hans Böhm) Het Paard (The Knight) reviewed elsewhere on this website.
If you are a chess lover and intend to visit the Dutch capital anytime soon, pay a must visit to Max Euwe Centre - a unique establishment in Europe.  

Prof. Jaap van den Herik sent kindly the sheets of the lecture (in Dutch).

See also the weblog of Karel van Delft on for an article in Dutch.

Posted: December 3 - 2012

London Classics Study 2012

Next weekend the fourth edition of the London super-tournament will start in Olympia- Kensington with plenty of chess events for all levels and ages. I enjoyed immensely attending the last two editions of this magnificent event. This time I will not be there however just like many of you I will follow it closely and just like in all previous editions I will be represented there by an original new endgame- study which I invite you all to try cracking.

The solution may be found here:

And here it is on the official website:,afek_study.htm

The new editor of The Problemist (the world's leading composition magazine) , English player and solver David Friedgood wrote to me:
I really like the London Classic study. Again, there is a good deal of originality in this piece and it is a joy, as a player, to see such a lively 4-rook ending!

Posted: November 27 - 2012


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