Monday, August 04, 2008

Kostas Prentos

The biography you are about to read was written by Kostas Prentos in 2006, (and published in the edition "Kostas Prentos 40 Jubilee Tourney 2006" of the Greek Chess Composition Committee, December 2006)

"I was born 28/08/1966 in Thessaloniki. I graduated from the Economic University of Thessaloniki and I am currently working as an accountant. I am not married.

I learned the moves of chess at the late age of 12 but I was immediately hooked. Triantafyllos Siaperas, a chess author and journalist, influenced me in my early chess steps. His weekly newspaper columns, and the chess problems featured in them, somehow sparked my interest for chess problems long before my first club games. Before the age of 15, I composed my first problems, as puzzles for my friends to solve. I joined a chess club in 1982 and began playing tournament chess, but my strong interest for chess problems and studies remained.

During the 1984 Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki, I had the opportunity to participate in my first solving tourney and enjoyed the experience very much. Later I successfully participated in further solving tourneys, and became a regular solver.

The friendship and frequent correspondence with the skilled composer Harry Fougiaxis taught me a great deal about helpmates and fairy problems and especially how to appreciate a chess problem aesthetically. As a result, I was involved in composing more seriously and between 1987 and 1991 I composed a few chess problems and published a dozen of them, mostly fairy helpmates and proof games. I lost interest in composing and solving after 1991, for almost 10 years. At the same time, I was playing a lot of tournament chess; I became Candidate Master in 1987, Master in 1990 and FIDE Master in 1995.

The Internet revolution changed the world in general but in particular, it gave chess a boost. I started playing chess online, and especially enjoyed playing losing chess and progressive chess. It was a small group of problemists formed in the Internet Chess Club which reinstated my lost interest in chess problems, around 2001. I started composing again and I have published more than 100 problems in the last few years, the majority of them being proof games.

In 2002, the organization of the 1st Greek Solving Championship triggered my involvement in solving again. I have participated in all World Solving Championships since then and I was awarded the title of International Solving Master in 2004."

The continuation of the text is written by Alkinoos :

The situation now, 08/2008, is almost the same...
Kostas Prentos repeatedly takes the First Prize in every local Solving Contest he participates and he is seven times (in seven contests) Champion of Greece in Solving Chess Problems.
In the 50th WCCC, held in Rhodes Greece (October 2007), he was honoured as composer and he also (together with Nikos Kalessis) took First place in bughouse chess contest. In order for you to judge if this was a notable result, we present here the final list of the players (in parenthesis [Solver ELO if the player is a solver] and [Country]) coming from various countries :

50th World Congress of Chess Composition, Bughouse Chess Tournament, Rhodes, Wednesday 17 October 2007

01) 11 points: Nikos Kalessis (Greece) & Kostas Prentos (2492 Greece)
02-03) 10p. : Piotr Gorski (2166 Poland) & Ryszard Krolikowski (1989 Poland), Ivan Denkovski (1566 F.Y.R.O.M.) & Vladimir Podinic (2598 Serbia)
04-06) 09p. : Eric Huber (2464 Romania) & Ion Murarasu (2081 Romania), Ofer Comay (2761 Israel) & Gady Costeff (Israel), Eddy van Beers (2584 Belgium) & Andy Ooms (1904 Belgium)
07) 08p. : Noam Elkies (2605 Israel) & Yedael Stepak (~2250 Israel)
08) 06p. : David Friedgood (2358 Great Britain) & John Nunn (2860 Great Britain)
09-11) 04p. : Milan Petras (2053 Czech Republic) & Miroslav Voracek (2273 Czech Republic), Indrek Aunver (1566 Estonia) & Margus Soot (2237 Estonia), B. Piliczewski (2457 Poland) & Michal Wysocki (~1989Poland)
12) 03p. : Al. Azhusin (2450 Russia) & Andrey Selivanov (2620 Russia)
13-14) 02p. : Vlaicu Crisan (2273 Romania) & Masaki Yoshioka (2138 Japan), Mark Erenburg (2379 Israel) & Josef Retter (1968 Israel).

Problems by Kostas Prentos

Mr Kostas Prentos, besides being an excellent solver, is an exceptional composer. Here follow some of his prized problems, which are published in the FIDE Albums 1986-88 and 2001-2003.

(Problem 203)
Kostas Prentos,
Honourable Mention, feenschach, 1988
Proof Game, 18 moves.
PG 18.0 (14+13)

In a Proof Game the solver must specify the history of moves, starting from initial arrangement of the pieces for a chess game, and ending with the given position.
The solution follows :
Key : 1.c4 Sc6 2.c5 Se5 3.c6 dxc6 4.Qb3 Bh3 5.Kd1 Sg4
6.Kc2 Qd3+ 7.Kxd3 0-0-0+ 8.Ke4 f5+ 9.Kxf5 e6+ 10.Kxe6 Bc5
11.Kf7 Rd6 12.Kf8 Se7+ 13.Qg8 Sh6 14.b3 Bd7 15.Ba3 Be8
16.Bb4 Rd8 17.Sa3 Bd6 18.Rc1 Rxg8

The next Problem-204, is an example of another category of help-problems, named helpstalemate. Black plays and helps White to make a draw.

(Problem 204)
Kostas Prentos & Dan Meinking,
Third Prize, StrateGems, 2001
Helpstalemate in 6.5 moves,
h=6.5 (3+11)

This is a help-problem, where normally Black plays first, but the moves are 6.5 so White plays first. Furthermore, the goal is not the win, but the draw.
The stipulation could be "White plays and with the help of Black draws in 6.5 moves".

During the solution we see, twice, opening of a line by a white piece, reverse move of a black piece on this line, and switchback of the white piece only to be annihilated. The solution is :

Key : 1...Ba6!
2.Bb5 Kc2
3.Bf1 Be2
4.fxe2 Rf8!
5.Rf7 Kd2
6.Rf2 Rf3
7.exf3 Ke1 = (black is stalemated).

(Problem 205)
Kostas Prentos & Kevin Begley,
First Prize, StrateGems 5th Anniversary Tourney, 2003
Helpmate in 5 κινήσεις. (2 solutions).
h#5 2111... (4+14)

The way that bK makes his triangle, f2-e2-e3 or e2-f2-e3, specifies the file of promotion of the Pawn b4. Behind the King are hiding two linear pieces with mutual roles : the one must not support the Pawn to be captured, the other must block a flight. The solution follow :
Key : 1.Kf2 b5 2.Re1! b6 3.Ke2 b7 4.Bf2 b8=Q 5.Ke3 Qxe5#
Key : 1.Ke2 b5 2.Bg1! bxc6 3.Kf2 c7 4.Re2 c8=Q 5.Ke3 Qxc5#

The 36th issue of the Greek magazine "Skaki gia Olous" (=Chess for everybody) is in circulation, since 19-06-2008, from the editions Kedros. The front page of the issue contains a photo of Kostas Prentos, who was nominated Champion of Greece for seventh consecutive year in the Seventh Contest of Solving Chess Problems! The column of artistic chess of this issue is dedicated to the contest of this year and to the success of the multi-champion from Thessaloniki.

(This post in Greek language).

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