Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wishes for all

Happy new year! Health and joy for all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Solving contest, Zenon Glyfada Athens Greece

The contest in Monday 28/12/2009 had less solvers than expected, because the games of the chess tourney in the same room lasted longer than usual.
The ranking of the participants is as follows :

(1) Mendrinos Nikolaos, points 25 (minutes 25')
(2) Vlahos Elissaios, p.25 (62')
(3) Manolas Emmanuel, p.25 (86')
(4) Sklavounos Panagis, p.22 (61')
(5) Fougiaxis Harry, p.15 (77')
(6) Nikitakis J., p.09 (90')
(7) Fotopoulos G., p.07 (84')
(8) Roinos E., p.07 (90')
(9-11) Papadopoulos P., p.05 (90')
(9-11) Fotopoulos S., p.05 (90')
(9-11) Georgakis E., p.05 (90')
(12) Berk Atakak, p.00 (84')

The first five (who take part also in the Greek champioship) were considered just visitors, so the medals were given to places sixth and up.

The Judge Ioannis Garoufalidis presented (before the contest) a tutorial for new solvers, explaining the method of solution of two problems. We present these problems and a sort explanation of their solutions.

We present next the five problems of the solving contest. We will publish their solutions shortly. In the meantime, send in comments the solutions and the time you needed to solve them.

(Problem 393)
Frank Healy,
Canadian Illustrated News, 1876
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 (7 + 3)
[1b6/8/4KB2/8/6S1/Q3RPk1/6p1/6S1 ]

If the black King makes a move, we have a ready mate [1...Κf4 2.Se2#].
In problems we do not usually have a checking first move. Here Black has defenses to moves, like [1.Bh4+? Kxh4!], [1.f4+? Kxg4!], [1.Se2+? Kh3!], [1.Qd6+? Bxd6!].
In some tries we observe that the black Bishop is defending, like [1.Kf5? / Qc5? Bf4!], [1.Qa5? / Qc3? Bd6!]. Thus, we must limit these moves by the black Bishop.

Key : 1.Qe7! (If black Bishop plays Bc7 / Bd6, then the Queen captures the piece and mates).
1...Be5 2.Bxe5# (The white Bishop can act capturing a piece ...)
1...Bf4 2.Bh4# ( ... or exploiting the self-block of the Black).

(Problem 394)
Land and Water, 1876
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 (8 + 2)

Black has not a move and we must allow him to have one.
Using the Knight we do not achieve anything : [1.Sb3? cxb3!], [1.Sd3? cxd3!].
With the Pawn or the Rook the results are futile : [1.g4? Kh4!], [1.Rg1? Kh2!], [1.Ra2? / Rb2? / Rc2? / Rd2? / Re2? / Rf2? Kxg3!].
So, we must find the exact square of arrival for the white Bishop. There are some tries : [1.Bd1? / Be2? / Bh5? Kxg2!], [1.Ba8? / Bb7? / Bc6? / Be4? Kg4!]. Thus there is one square for the ...

... Key : 1.Bd5! (zz) (After two consecutive zugzwang, Black will have X-flights).
if 1...Kg4 2.Se4 (zz)
and if 2...Kf5 / Kh5 / Kh3 / Kf3 then 3.g4# / Sf6# / Sf2# / Sf6#

And now, the problems of the contest :

(Problem 395)
Maurus Ehrenstein,
Oesterreichische Lesehalle, 1881
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 (2 + 2)

This problem is surely for young solvers!

(Problem 396)
Comins Mansfield,
Good Companions, 1914
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 (8 + 8)

If the Queen does leave from the seventh row, there is a Pawn-Rook battery for Black. White has got already a Knight-Bishop battery, but is it enough?

(Problem 397)
Frank W. Martindale,
?, 1890
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 (7 + 4)

With two ambushes, two nice chameleon mates are achieved.

(Problem 398)
Wilhelm Karl Heinrich Massmann
1st Prize, Die Schwalbe, 1941,
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 (7 + 2)

If 1.Bd4? then 1...Bh4!. If 1.Be3? then 1...Be7!. It seems that thw white Bishop on c5 must move, as a key move, but the question remains : where to?

(Problem 399)
C. Bent,
BESN, 2008
White plays and wins.
+ (4 + 3)

Instructive study, with the black King free in the middle of the chessboard, and a very smart fourth move!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Solving Contest Zenon Glyfada Athens Greece

Solving Contest "Zenon" Glyfada Athens Greece
_Solving_contests, __#n

The local chess club of Glyfada (Athens, Greece) has organised a Solving Chess Problems Contest for 28/12/2009. (Club site : We will publish the problems and their solutions

And news from the Internet :
Event : International Chess Composition Day 2010
Type : Tourney
Start time : Saturday, 26 12 2009, 10:00 a.m. (time in Italy)
Finish time : Monday, 04 01 2009, 12:00 p.m.
Place : All around the world
Announcement : [On the 26th of December at 10:00 hours CET (Central European Time) we shall publish six problems for solving at Chess Composition & Puzzles website, at Facebook. Please solve the problems as soon as you can and send your solutions to e-mail address: (please switch the letters '-at-' with letter '@' ). Don't send your solution as comments to this website! Closing date: January 4th 2010 at 12:00 h CET (Central European Time). Welcome and thank you for participating!]

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Trees

There are problems having symmetric placing of the pieces. We have presented many of them (see the problems 7, 155, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 245, 246, 247, 250, 309).

The special case of symmetry around a vertical axis (same direction with the columns) and pattern reminding a fir-tree, has been used by composers to send wishes during Christmas time. These problems are known as Christmas trees (Xmas trees). Maybe the most popular problem, from those published here, is Problem-155, which is a tree from the side of the Black. (See also here).

Today we present an original two-mover by Nikos Pergialis, known composer of rebetiko songs and also chess problems!. It shows a small Christmas tree and a star (the white Queen) sheding light from above. As he himself has described it "Simple and elegant like a rebetiko song".

(Problem 392)
Nikos Pergialis,
original, 2009
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 (4 + 4)

Tries : [1.Qb6? Kxc3!], [1.Qf6? / Qh8? Kxe3!]

Key : 1.Qd6! (zugzwang).
1...Kxc3 / Kxe3 2.Qa3# / Qg3# (two echo model mates).
1...d4 2.Qxd4#

Wishes to all, to live happily these holidays ... and all the other days!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Composers cooperating, (No.2)

Today we choose to remember Nikos Siotis, (this was his name-day). He was very good composer, specialized in helpmates, and cared for the new problemists. We have published a problem by Nikos Siotis in this blog (see here, in cooperation with Demetrius Kapralos).

In today's post we will see two of Siotis problems, one in cooperation with the Grand Maitre Byron Zappas and another in cooperation with Vassilios D. Lyris.

Not one of them is with us anymore, and we remember them with admiration for their work.

(Problem 390)
Nikos Siotis and Byron Zappas,
First Prize, The Problemist, 1994
Helpmate in 3 moves. Two solutions.
h#3 2.1.1... (10 + 12)

Line clearances with annihilations, followed by self-blockings and black interferences. Diagonal / Orthogonal transformation.

(Problem 391)
Basil Lyris and Nikos Siotis,
First Honourable Mention, Sredba na Solidarnosta, 1986-9,
Helpmate in 2 moves. Three solutions.
h#2 (5 + 16)

The black Queen unpins and then is pinned, so that white Queen can take action.

I will be waiting (for a few days) for you to send solutions.

(The problems are included in the edition "Selected Chess Compositions by Greek Composers", prepared for the 47_th World Congress of Chess Composition, Halkidiki, Greece, September 4-11, 2004. Editor : Harry Fougiaxis).

Friday, November 27, 2009

Multiple-twin problem

The problem we present has a peculiarity. It is a multiple problem, but not exactly a twin, because the produced problems have different number of moves in their solutions.
The American Joseph Wainwright (1851 – 1921) is the composer, known for his tasks with two-mover problems.

Each problem is producing the next one just after the key-move is played, while the number of moves for the solution is increased by 1. To be exact...
...the initial position is Mate in 2 moves,
after the key is Mate in 3 moves,
after the key is Mate in 4 moves,
after the key is Mate in 5 moves.

(Problem 388)
J. C. J. Wainwright,
American Chess Bulletin, 1910,
Mate in 2 moves.
(a) #2 (10 + 9),
(b) after the key of (a) #3,
(c) after the key of (b) #4,
(d) after the key of (c) #5

In the initial position Black is stalemated. The solutions are simple (with possible exception the five-mover) :

(a) 1.b4! (zugzwang) cxb4 2.Bxb4#

(b) 1.b5! (zz) axb5 2.cxb5 (zz) c4 3.Bb4#

(c) 1.b6! (zz) cxb6 2.Bxb6 a5 3.c7 a4 4.c8=S#

(d) 1.Kg5! cxb6 2.Bxb6 a5 3.c7
3...a4 4.c8=Q/B Ke5 5.Bc7#
3...Kxe6 4.c8=Q+ Kd6/Ke5 5.Bc7#
3...Ke5 4.c8=Q a4/Kd6 5.Bc7#

27-11-2009 : The friend reader Alotan has posted a comment :
Nice problem. The mate in 5 had many variations and I had to set it on the chessboard. The reason for comment, however, is that it reminded me a nice helpmate problem by Caillaud, with similar twinning mechanism :

(Problem 389)
Michel Caillaud,
First prize, Pitlochry TT 2003
(a) h#2 (5+2),
(b) Position of (a) before the mating move and h#2,
(c) Position of (b) before the mating move and h#2.

It is not exceptional or difficult, but it belongs to those problems that remain carved in the memory of the solver.

Dear readers, send the solution.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Composers cooperating, (No.1)

Today's post is the first of a new series. We will present problems created by cooperating composers. Initially all composers will be Greek, later on only one composer will be Greek.

We believe that when two composers try to cooperate, the final result comes more quickly, because both composers work more intensely. The cooperation is a factor of motivation.

In problem-387 the composers are George Georgopoulos and Efthimios Papakonstantinou.

(Problem 387)
George Georgopoulos & Efthimios Papakonstantinou,
First Prize, Die Schwalbe, 1990,
Mate in 4 moves.
#4 (9 + 12)

If you try to move first the Rook to make room for the Bishop, ( 5 tries : [1.R~? Ba6!] ), the problem will not be solved. With your key-move you must sacrifice the white Queen! Anyway, the sacrifice threatens Mate in 3, and Black can not be indifferent.

Key : 1.Qxf6! ( > 2.Sxg5 Rxg5 3.Qh6+ Rh5 4.Qxh5# )

1...Bxf6 2.Re1 ( > 3.Bf1# )
___2...Ba6 3.Sc4 ( Novotny sacrifice on c4, > 4.Sf4# / Bf1# )
___2...Bxc6 3.Re4 ( Novotny sacrifice on e4, > 4.Sf4# / Bf1# )
1...Sxf6 2.Rb1 ( > 3.Bf1# )
___2...Ba6 3.Rb5 ( Novotny sacrifice on b5, > 4.Sxg5# / Bf1# )
___2...Bxc6 3.Sd5 ( Novotny sacrifice on d5, > 4.Sxg5# / Bf1# )

For the moves 2...Ba6/Bxc6 the White continues with Knight/Rook in one variation, and with Rook/Knight in the other.

(The problem is included in the edition "Selected Chess Compositions by Greek Composers", prepared for the 47_th World Congress of Chess Composition, Halkidiki, Greece, September 4-11, 2004. Editor : Harry Fougiaxis).

Thursday, November 05, 2009

How does a machine think?

To be honest, I do not want to know.
I like the way I think (steepest descend method – and all the rest).

But there is a chess playing machine which lets you see, in an artistically interesting manner, the moves as they are calculated.

Click here to go to the thinking machine, (newer version 6).

Start to play a game, in order to see the graphics, and continue playing, hoping that you will win (which is not sure...).

(Image copyright © Thinking Machine 4, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dedication for Manolas-60 (and Exercise)

Mr Ioannis Kalkavouras, internationally known composer, has composed a more-mover problem and has dedicated it to the Composition Contest Manolas-60, which was recently announced. We warmly thank him.

The readers may try to solve this problem (it has a main logical variation) and post their solution as comment.
We furthermore expect, from the more creative readers, to e-mail entries to the composition contest Manolas-60 (closing July-12-2010).

(Problem 386)
Kalkavouras, Ioannis, (after W. Bar)
Dedicated to "JT Manolas-60"
Mate in 9 moves.
#9 (7 + 8)

The thematic try is [1.Rf5+? gxf5!].

Key : 1.Rh6! Kg5
2.Rh3 ( > 3.Sh7# ) Kf6
3.Sc5 ( > 4.Sxd7# ) Rxc5
4.Rh6, Kg5
5.Rxh2, Kf6
6.Rg2 g5
7.Rh2 g4
8.Rh5 ~

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Best Study for 2008

We present today the study which was selected, in the World Chess Composition Congress of 2009 in Rio de Janeiro Brasil, as the best for the year 2008 by the Studies Subcommittee of the PCCC (Permanent Commission of Fide for Chess Composition).

[Study of the Year 2008] is a study by Velimir Kalandadze.

John Roycroft (from Great Britain) announcing the award, urges young players to see this study because it is very instructive.

Study of the year 2008.

(Problem 385)
Velimir Kalandadze,
First Special Prize, Nona JT, 2008,
White plays and wins.
+ (4 + 3)

The solution follows...

Key : 1.Qf4+! Ke6(Ke7)
2. Qf7+ Kxf7 ( not 2...Kd8 3.Qe8+ Kc7 4.d8=Q#, neither 2...Kd6 3.d8=Q+ Kc6 4.Qxb7 +- )
3. d8=S+ Kf6+
4. Sxb7 Ke5
5. Kg6 ( the white King rushes to confine in column 1 the black, to inhibit the promotion of the black Pawn ) Kd4
6. Kf5 Kc3
7. Ke4 Kb2
8. Kd3 Kxa2
9. Kc2 Ka1 ( Will Black try the scheme “buried alive” with 10...a2 to draw? ...)
10. Sc5 Ka2 (... no, because there is 11.Sb3#)
11. Sd3 Ka1
12. Sc1 a2
13. Sb3#

Thursday, October 22, 2009

C20091130 : 20th Composition Contest Birnov MT

Twentieth contest in chess problem composition in memory of Volgograd master Birnov.
Sections : #2 (judge Vjacheslav Pilchenko), #3 (judge Aleksandr Sygurov), n# (n>3) (judge Aleksandr Kuzovkov), studies (judge Richard Becker), h#2 (judge Živko Janevski).
The results will be published, in 2010, in the newspaper : "Molodoj" (Volgograd, Russia) and on the site: .
Dispatch of results to foreign participants only by e-mail!
Compositions must be send up to 30.11.2009 to e-mail : .

Friday, October 16, 2009

World Champioship in Rio de Janeiro

The results from the 52 WCCC (world chess composition congress) and 33 WCSC (world chess solving championship), which were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for 2009, are given below.
We happily note here that the Greek athlete Kostas Prentos achieved a splendid standing despite the intense competition.

Open solving competition, October 12, 2009. You may see here the list of the 57 solvers.
First is the Russian Evseev, Georgy (RUS GM 2777) 51/60.
Second is the Russian Selivanov, Andrey (RUS GM 2565) 47.5/60.
Third is the Ukrainian Pogorelov, Vladimir (UKR IM 2498) 47/60.
Eleventh is the Greek Prentos, Kostas (GRE IM 2491) 39.5/60.

World individual Solving Championship (33 WCSC), October 14-15, 2009. You may see here the list of the 54 solvers.
World Champion is the Polish Murdzia, Piotr (POL GM 2797) 89/90.
Second is the Russian Evseev, Georgy (RUS GM 2777) 81/90.
Third is the German Zude, Arno (GER GM 2700) 78/90.
Eighth is the Greek Prentos, Kostas (GRE IM 2491) 68,5/90.

There were many more competitions and listings. In the World Team Solving Championship a country takes part with its three best solvers.
World Champion Team is Poland (Gorski, Piotr & Murdzia, Piotr & Piorun, Kacper) 155,5.
Second Country is Germany (Rein, Andreas & Tummes, Boris & Zude, Arno) 148.
Third Country is Russia (Evseev, Georgy & Selivanov, Andrey & Viktorov, Evgeny) 147.
Greece had not sent three solvers, thus Greece cannot be in this list.
The rest of the competing countries were : Serbia, France, Nederlands, Great Britain, Ukraine, Georgia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Japan, Romania, Belgium, Brazil, Esthonia.

The official site of the games is here. Results from composing competitions are already posted and the final bulletin of the event is here.

You may watch an interesting video from the games here.

Problems to solve
The Greek champion Kostas Prentos updates us with some problems from the Rio competition.

See some problems from 33 WCSC here.

See the same problems with solutions here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Care about climate

This is a reminder that the environment is in danger.
We should protect it, eventually protecting our lives, homes, cities, relatives.

Thousands of bloggers around the world are today united (think about that, too)
and are posting messages about climate change.

Monday, September 28, 2009

C20100712 : Composition Contest Emmanuel Manolas-60 JT

After the chess problems and the solving contests, which were presented in this blog, we are in the happy position to announce an International Chess Composition Contest, organized by the Greek Chess Composition Committee, with the opportunity of the sixtieth birthday of this blogger Manolas Emmanuel. Here is the announcement :

International Chess Composition Contest :
"Jubilee Tourney Manolas - 60", Closing date 2010-07-12.

The Greek committee for Chess Composition announces the "Jubilee Tourney Manolas – 60".
Theme free. Accepted are original three-mover chess problems in the following four sections:

A. direct mate #3, with at least three variations. Judge Emmanuel Manolas.

B. helpmate h#3, with exactly three solutions, no zero-positions, no twins. Judge Harry Fougiaxis.

C. selfmate s#3, with at least three variations. Judge Ioannis Garoufalidis.

D. fairy #3, with accepted elements : {one fairy condition} or {one fairy condition and one fairy piece type} or {one or two fairy piece types}. Judge Kostas Prentos.

Computer-checked problems may be submitted by each composer to more than one section. For each problem, the following information is expected : Name & e-mail & country of the composer, diagram & FEN notation & stipulation & solution of the problem.

Send e-mails, with subject "JT-Manolas-60", to manolas.emmanuel(AT) .
Closing day : 12-July-2010.

The participants will receive a copy of the award by e-mail.
The award will be published in blogs "", "".

Notes :
In e-mail replace (AT) with the character @.
The FEN (Forsyth-Edwards) Notation is described here and here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Panagis Sklavounos

Panagis Sklavounos, born 1962, holds a Master of Science degree in Artificial Intelligence from Cranfield Univercity, is a Civil Engineer and a Surveyor Engineer from National Technical Univercity of Athens (NTUA) and has a title in Informatics from the Greek Center of Productivity (ELKEPA). He works in the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYDAP SA).

He is president of the Sports Group “Zenon” in Glyfada Attica. He is a member of the Chess Composition Committee of the Greek Chess Federation (ESO). He has organised many chess tournaments and chess problem solving contests. He is a very strong solver.

For an extended period of time (1995-2000) he was editor of the chess column in the magazine of the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) and also editor of the chess problem column in the daily newspaper “TA NEA”.

Published problems by Panagis Sklavounos

(Problem 382)
Panagis Sklavounos,
Newspaper “Eleftherotypia”, 08/10/1977
Mate in 2.
#2 (5 + 5)

This is the first published problem of (the 15 years old then) Panagis Sklavounos.

Tries : [1.Qe2+? / Qd3+? / Qc4+? / Qxd7? / Qb7+? Ke5!], [1.Qe5+? Kxe5!], [1.Qd5+? Kxd5!], [1.Rf4+? Kxf4!], [1.Qxf5+? gxf5!], [1.Qc5? f4!].

Key : 1.g3! ( > 2.Rf4# )
1...Kxf3 / d5 2.Qe2#
1...g5 2.Qxf5#
1...e5 2.Qd3#

(Problem 383)
Panagis Sklavounos,
First Prize, Newspaper [Chess News 79], 1980
Mate in 3.
#3 (9 + 3)

Tries : [1.Sd8? / Rd7? / Bh4? f3!], [1.Rxf4+? Kxf4!], [1.Rd6? Cxd6!].

Key : 1.Bc2! (zz)
1...f3 2.Rf4+ Kxf4 / Ke6 / Kg6 3.Rd4# / Re3# / Rd5#
1...Kf6 / Ke6 2.Rd7 ~ 3.Rg6#
1...Kxg4 2.Rh3 f3 / Kxh3 3.Rh4# / Bf5#

(Problem 384)
Panagis Sklavounos,
British Chess Magazine, 1978
Mate in 3.
#3 (4 + 3)

Tries : [1.Qg4+? / Qg5+? / Rf3+? / Rg4+? Kh2!].

Key : 1.Rh4! ( > 2.Qf4# / Rh3# )
1...g1=Q / g1=B 2.Rh3+ Kg2 3.Qf3#
1...g1=S 2.Qf4+ Kg2 3.Rh2#
1...g1=R 2.Qf4+ / Rh3+ Kg2 3.Rh2#
1...Kxh4 2.Qf4+ Kh5 / Kh3 3.Be8# / Bd7#

Note by Alkinoos :
Mr Sklavounos has contributed to the posts of this blog with interesting topics. I happen to know that he is a polyglot (he speaks Greek, English, French, German, Italian) and he has received two literature awards (one in a science fiction novel contest of the Greek General Secretariat for the New Generation, in 1987).

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Sword of Damocles

First, some historical details for the expression of the title.

The city of Syracuse, Sicily, was ruled in ancient times by the tyrant Dionyssios. Among his courtiers there was a flatterer named Damocles, who envied the wealth and the glory of his master.

In a circumstance, Dionyssios asked Damocles if he would like to try sit in the throne. Damocles gladly accepted the invitation and started to enjoy the comforts of his lord. Examining curiously everything around, Damocles noted that above his head a sword was hanging, restrained only by a few horse hairs. Naturally, the hair might be cut at any time...
Dionyssios had placed the sword above the throne, to remind him to take the right decisions, since he could die at any moment and he could not correct any misjudgments.
Damocles was terrified and immediately left the seat of the lord, which seemed not enviable any more.
The phrase [Sword of Damocles] specifies the deadly danger threatening us, and has passed from Greek language to other languages (for example, in French : L' epee de Damocles).

This title was given, in 1865, to the problem we present today. Since many dangers are threatening us, the problem has two solutions.
(In the era of this problem the element of economy in pieces was not very strict).

(Problem 381)
"L' epee de Damocles ",
M. Schoumoff de Saint-Petersbourg,
Journal des Echecs, 1865-6, (Vol.2, p.238), by Paul Journoud, Paris
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 (10 + 1)

The solution follows ...

Key : 1.Rf3!
1...Kg2 2.Se3+ Kg1/Kh1 3.Rf1#
1...Kh1 2.Se3 Kg1 3.Rf1#

Key : 1.Bh1! Kxh1 2.Se3 Kg1 3.Rf1#

It is quite obvious that the lonely King (theme : Rex solus) is condemned from the beginning.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Esthetic Beauty is measured by computer

An article was published today in Chessbase about the doctoral thesis of Dr Mohammed Azlan Mohamed Iqbal, who is 31 years old and works in Malaysia.

The doctoral thesis [A discrete computational aesthetics model for a zero-sum perfect information game] examines the question if the beauty of the chess combinations is measurable by computers.

To people, some moves seem to be much prettier than others. Some combinations seem to be marvelous, while others seem indifferent. The computers play the chess game at the level of Grand Master and make combinations of all kinds, without giving weight or preference to beautiful moves. Could we teach the machines to “count” the esthetic beauty of their moves?

The researcher has studied, using special software for measuring esthetics [CHESTHETICA], many games and particularly three-mover problems, while at the same time, using specific questionnaires, has gathered the opinions of many persons whether some positions and combinations and solutions seemed to be beautiful.

By comparing the measuring-software results and the opinion-questionnaire results, an impressive conclusion arose, that the esthetics (at least for the limited researched area) is measurable!

Dr Mohammed Azlan Mohamed Iqbal hopes that his pioneering work and the software he developed could help the Judges in contests of chess compositions, or the persons giving Beauty prizes to chess games.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Best Study for 2005

Today we will see the study which was selected as best for the year 2005 from the PCCC, (Permanent Commission of Fide for Chess Composition).

[Study of the Year 2005] is a composition by Yuri Bazlov (who received this distinction the next year also).

The study has got some difficulty.
If the pawns and the white Knight are captured, no black piece must be lost.
If the Knights are captured, there is theoretical draw (K+B+P vs K+P) in some places.

The position should be very interesting for the Over-The-Board players.

Study of the year 2005.

(Problem 380)
Yuri Bazlov,
5th Prize, Tourney for John Nunn's 50th birthday, 2005,
White plays and draws.
= (3 + 4)

The solution follows...

Key : 1.Sh8!
(The alternative is [1.Kg7? Sd6 2.Se5 g3] but Black can secure his pawn on g3 and gradually improve the position of his pieces. Of course, he must avoid the exchange of knights, which leads to a positional draw provided White’s king can reach f1. Although the win is not easy, it can be accomplished in the end; for example, [3.Kg6 Bd8!] stopping the white king reaching e6, after which it is very hard for Black to displace the centralized white pieces).

(the only winning chance is to prevent White’s king moving immediately to g6. After [1...Sxh8 2.Kxh8 Kc6 3.Kg7 Kd5 4.Kg6 Be3] Black cannot move his bishop to f4 or h4 without losing his pawn, so he loses another tempo later when White attacks the g3-pawn with his king [5.Kf5 g3 6.Kg4 Bf2 7.Kf3 Kd4 8.Ke2!]. The king reaches f1, with a standard positional draw).

(Already one piece down, White offers a second one!)

3.Kg6! Ne5+!
(The best try is to sacrifice the bishop, as [3...Kc6 4.Kxf7 Kd5 5.Kg6] draws as in the note to Black’s first move).

(Declining the offer. [4.Kxg5?] loses after [4...Kc6! 5.Kf4 Kd6!] gaining the opposition [6.Ke4 (6.Kf5 Kd5 wins) Ke6 7.Kf4 Kf6 8.g3 Ke6 9.Kg5 Kd5 10.Kf5 Kd4 11.Kf4 Kd3!] and the g3-pawn falls).

(Amazing but true; Black cannot win despite being two clear minor pieces up. [4...Sf3 5.Kxg4] and [4...Bf6 5.Kxf6 Sf3 6.Kf5 Sh2 7.Kf4] are both clear draws).

5.Kg6 Se5+
6.Kf5! Draw.

(Notes by John Nunn).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Best Study for 2006

As we have said, the Permanent Commission of Fide for Chess Composition (PCCC), each year selects a study and gives to it the title [Study of the Year xxxx]. We will see today the study which was selected as Best for 2006.

[Study of the Year 2006] is a study by Yuri Bazlov (Russian, born in 1947), who composes remarkable problems for many years now. He had received this distinction also for the previous year.

The position has several pieces and is aristocratic (that means there are no pawns). It is difficult for someone to suppose that such a position can appear in an actual chess game, but they have searched through the computer held databases and have found similar positions at a percentage one to a million.

So the solvers could lose interest on a study with 'improbable' position. But since the image of a centered mate being delivered by the last remaining piece – the Knight – is impressive, try to solve this study. All the pieces move to their final positions and only white pieces are captured.

There is no try, only the main solution. Admire what can a man create!

Study of the year 2006.

(Problem 379)
Yuri Bazlov,
First Prize, Composition Tourney in memory of the British C. M. Bent, 2006,
White plays and wins.
+ (4 + 5)

For the solution, start with
Key : 1.Be4+! Ke6

The solution follows...

(not 1.Qe4+? Kc5 2.Bxc4 Bf4+ 3.Kg6 Rxc4 4.Qa8 Re7 and we cannot see a winning plan for white)

Key : 1.Be4+! Ke6

(not 2.Qb3? Rf4 3.Qxa4 Rxe4 and the white is not winning)

(not 2...Rfa7 3.Bd5+ Kf5 4.Qf8+ Kg4 5.Qf3+ Kh4 6.Be6 and the white will mate)

3.Kg6 Se5+
4.Kh5 Rxe4
(not 4...Rd7 5.Bd5+ Rxd5 6.Sc7+ Kd7 7.Sxd5 and white will win)
(not 4...Rfa7 5.Bd5+ Kd7 6.Sf6+ Kd8 7.Be6 R4a5 8.Qb6+ Ke7 9.Sg8+ Kf8 10.Qd8+ Kg7 11.Qf6+ Kh7 12.Se7 and white can win)

5.Qd6+ Kf5
6.Qf6+ Rxf6
7.Sg7# 1-0

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vassilios D. Lyris

Vassilios D. Lyris was one of the best composers of chess problems in his time. He was born in 1914 and he died at 15/08/1994 (same year that Triantafyllos Siaperas and Demetrius Kapralos have left us too).

About Vassilios Lyris his friend Nikos Dambassis writes :

"Vassilios Lyris made his first appearance as a composer of chess problems with the publication of a problem (see next Problem-375) in the newspaper [Proia (=morning)] in 1938, in a special column about chess problems, written by J. Hatziargyris. Vassilios Lyris was the second, after J. Hatziargyris, Greek composer of chess problems appearing in the 20th century.

He first learned the art of chess composition in 1934, when he became subscriber of the German chess magazine [Deutsche Schachblatter]. When the first Greek chess magazine [To Skaki (=the chess)] was issued in 1943, he was one of the four members of the editing committee of the magazine together with Ioannis Koutalidis, Myron Konter and Nikos Dambassis. Since then Lyris continued composing chess problems, limited only by his work load (he was Civil engineer) and his failing health.

Vassilios Lyris has left for the future composers, as mental inheritance, 150 published compositions, mainly multimover problems, in Greek and foreign magazines. He has received many distinctions and has written articles about chess compositions in various magazines, as in [To Mat (=the checkmate)] (1956) and [Probleemblad] (1970). He was member of the Greek national team in the World Championships in Chess Composition.

The Olympiad winner composer Stavros Iatridis writing in his column [Artistic Chess – The chess problems] in the magazine [O Skakistis (=the chessplayer)] (No.4, April 1967) recites verbatim what Vassilios Lyris has written in the magazine [To Mat] (No.51, March 1956) about the basis of problem evaluation :
The Five Basic Elements for Chess Problem Evaluation
1. Acceptability :
A composition is acceptable : (a) If it is original (it is not allowed to be repetition of a previous composition). (b) If it is correct (that is all the expressed by the composer elements must be correct and in accordance with the rules of Chess Composition).
2. Economy of material :
The natural law of making a work by the least effort gives the meaning of economy, which is “inviolable principle” for the composition. The economy is not limited in achieving the desired goal with minimum material force, but is extended in maximum usage of each piece.
3. Esthetics :
This refers to the beauty of the idea and to the way of expression of the “mechanism” (in which must be a “logic” and also a continuity), and even to the various combinations with their complexity and their richness.
4. Quality of the key :
The first move – Key must initially justify the term “problem”, that is it must be as difficult as possible. The difficulty and the beauty of the key are valuable elements of the problem.
5. Exploitation of the Chessboard space :
For every problem a unique placement of the pieces exists, by which the ideal presentation of the desired goal is achieved. The criterion here is the “spaciousness” of the position and the “mobility” and flexibility of the pieces.

In this blog we have presented two problems of V. Lyris (see Problem-12 and Problem-319). He has published many problems in cooperation with Nikos Siotis or with Nikos Dambassis.

Panagis Sklavounos (who has provided material for this post) notes : "Vassilios Lyris continued to publish his compositions even in advanced age. This shows that the occupation of problem composition is independent of age. It depends only on the free time of the composer and his availability."

We publish here four problems by Lyris, selected by Nikos Dambassis.

(Problem 375)
Lyris, Vassilios D.
newspaper 'Proia', 1938,
Mate in 4 moves.
#4 (12 + 11)

This is the first published problem of V. Lyris.

Ties : [1.Rh8?/Rg8?/Rf8?/Be7?/c8=Q?/c8=S?/c8=B?/e7?/Kxg2?/Be4?/Bc2? c3!]
Key : 1.c8=R! (zz) c3
2.Rc7 (zz) c2
3.Rxc2 ( > 4.Rxg2#) Kf5
Indian theme on row and file.

(Problem 376)
Lyris, Vassilios D.
Prize, Thematic Tourney 'Martin', 1949,
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 (9 + 13)

There exist some set mates : [1...Rd4 2.Qxb1#], [1...Ba2/Bb3/Be6 2.Sc3#], [1...Sb7/Se6 2.Q(x)b7#].
Tries : [1.Rb6+? Axb6!], [1.Rxe5+? Kb4!], [1.Qb7+? Sxb7!], [1.Qxc4+? Kxc4!].
Key : 1.exd8=S! ( > 2.Qb7# )
1...Kb4 2.Rb6#
1...Rd3-~3 2.Rd5#
1...Rxd6/Rd4 2.Qxb1#
1...Rd5 (black correction) 2.Rxd5#
1...Bc4-~ 2.Sc3#
1...Bd5 (black correction) 2.Rxd5#

Theme Martin I : Two black pieces are half-pinned. Each piece attempts corrective defense. The primary and secondary mates are relevant with the other half-pinned piece which is now pinned.
Theme Martin II : The corrective defenses are exploiting the unpin of a third black piece.

Lyris was awarded with a prize using theme Martin in 1949 and many years later, in 1985, he received 3rd prize in a composition of the German magazine 'Die Schwalbe' perfecting the same evergreen theme.

(Problem 377)
Lyris, Vassilios D.
First Prize, Hlas L`udu, 1969,
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 (14 + 9)

Tries : [1.Sb5? Ke4!], [1.Re5+? Fxe5!], [1.Bd3? Fxe2!], [1.Bb5? Fxg2!], [1.Rb3+? Axb3!], [1.Qxe1? Rxd4+!].
Key : 1.Ba6! ( > 2.Rc5 and 3.Rc3# )
1...fxe2 2.Rb4-b5 (zz) Kd3 3.Rb3#
1...fxg2 2.Rd5-b5 (zz) Kxe2 3.Re5#
Indian theme in two relative variations.

(Problem 378)
Lyris, Vassilios D.
First Prize, Probleemblad, 05/1974,
Helpmate in 4 moves.
h#4 (9 + 14)

Key : 1.b3! Ra4-a7 2.Qa6 Rxf4 3.Qxe2 Rf4-a4 4.Kxf3 Rf7#
Exchange of positions of the two white Rooks. The white Rook annihilates a black Pawn and the black Queen annihilates a white Pawn, in order to create the final picture of mate.

More problems are contained in the Internet bases of problems
[] (you write [Lyris] and click on [SEARCH]) and
[] (you write [a='Lyris'] and click on [Search]) and
[] (in the field Composer you write [Lyris] and click on [Submit]).

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Emmanuel Manolas (3)

Today's post is relevant with the theme Rex solus (=King alone), in which the black King is alone on the chess board. The white forces threatening him will eventually win and the solvers must find the way.

Below we present eight original compositions of the Greek composer Manolas (the owner of this blog).
The Problems 367 – 373 are two-movers and the Problem 374 is a three-mover.

Their solutions will not be difficult to find. Please try to solve them, and then send a comment with the eight keys.

Problems for solving. (The solutions have been appended to the end of this post).

(Problem 367)
Emmanuel Manolas
Mate in 2.
#2 (4 + 1)

(Problem 368)
Emmanuel Manolas
Mate in 2.
#2 (5 + 1)

(Problem 369)
Emmanuel Manolas
Mate in 2.
#2 (7 + 1)

(Problem 370)
Emmanuel Manolas
Mate in 2.
#2 (6 + 1)

(Problem 371)
Emmanuel Manolas
Mate in 2.
#2 (7 + 1)

(Problem 372)
Emmanuel Manolas
Mate in 2.
#2 (6 + 1)

(Problem 373)
Emmanuel Manolas
Mate in 2.
#2 (7 + 1)

(Problem 374)
Emmanuel Manolas
Mate in 3.
#3 (7 + 1)

20090729 : update : The solutions of the problems

Problem 367
Tries : [1.Qc4+? Kxc4!], [1.Qd2+?/Qb2? Kc4!], [1.Qa4? Kc3!], [1.Qb3+? Kd4!].
Key : 1.Bd5!

Problem 368
Tries : [1.Qh5?/Qc8? Kc3!], [1.f7+? Kc5!].
Key : 1.Qb8!

Problem 369
Tries : [1.Rh5+? Kxd6!], [1.Sc5?/Sf8?/Sd8?/Sc7? Kd4!], [1.Sd4? Kxd4!], [1.Kc5?/Kc6?/Kc7? Kf6!].
Key : 1.Sf4!

Problem 370
Tries : [1.Sf7? Kxg6!], [1.Rg8+? Kxg8!], [1.Rf8? Kxf8!], [1.d8=S? Kf8!].
Key : 1.d8=B!

Problem 371
Tries : [1.Re8?/Bc6? Kc4!], [1.Rc4+? Kxc4!], [1.Rc1?/Rc2?/Rc3?/Rc5?/Rc6?/Rc7? Kxe4!], [1.Bb5?/Be6?/Be8? Kxd4!], [Sf2? Ke5!].
Key : 1.Rd8!

Problem 372
Tries : [1.Qg5+?/Qd2?/Qd5+? Kxa6!], [1.Qd3+?/Qa8?/Qc8?/c4+? Kxa5!], [1.Sc8?/Sa8? Ka4!], [1.Sa4? Kxa4!].
Key : 1.Sc4!

Problem 373
Key : 1.Bd6!

Problem 374
Tries : [1.Bd2?/Bc3? Kxb6!], [1.Ra1?/Ra2?/Rh3?/Rg3?/Re3?/Rc3+?/Rb3?/c4? Kd4!].
Key : 1.Rf3!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Best Study for 2007

The International Committee for Chess Problems selects one study each year and gives it the title [Study of the Year xxxx]. It is generally supposed that the best study of the year takes the title. The reality is slightly different, (that is there may be excellent studies for some year, not winning this title), but in some years the selected study is really beautiful.

In Jurmala of Latvia in 2008 as [Best study of the Year 2007] was selected a prized study of the Czech problemist Mario Matous, and we present it here.

Study of the year 2007.

(Problem 366)
Mario Matous,
First Prize, Polasek and Vlasak 50 J Ty 2007,
White plays and wins.
+ (4 + 4)

To solve this study, you may begin with
Key : 1.Sf3+! Kh1! (why not 1...Kh3? )
and you discover the continuation (which is consisted from two 'symmetrical' variations).

The solution is written below...

Key : 1.Sf3! Kh1!
(not 1...Kh3? 2.Sg5+ Kg2 3.Bxc5+ and the black Queen is lost)

2.Bd4!! ( > 3. Rh2# )
(not 2.Bxc5? Qa4+ 3.Sd4 Qxd4+! 4.Bxd4 = stalemate )

(not 2...Qb8+? 3.Be5 Qf8+ 4.Ke3 Qh6+ 5.Kf2 c4 6.Ra2 Qb6+ 7.Bd4 Qb1 8.Ra1 1-0)
(not 2...Qc7+? with possible continuations [3.Se5 Qb8 4.Rb2! Qf8+ 5.Kg3 Qg7+ 6.Sg4 Qc7+ 7.Be5 Qh7 8.Rd2 Qb1 9.Rd1+ Qxd1 10.Sf2+ 1-0] or [3.Se5 Qc8 4.Kg3 Qg8+ 5.Sg4 Qb8+ 6.Kh3 Qb3+ 7.Rc3 Qb1 8.Sf2+ Kg1 9.Se4+ cxd4 10.Rg3+ Kf1 11.Sd2+ 1-0])

(not 3.Kg3? Qg6+ losing the Rook)

4.Kf2! Qf4
(not 5.Rc8? Qe3+ 6.Kg3 Qh6 7.Kf2 Qe3+ 8.Kg3 Qh6 = draw by triple repetition
nor 5.Re2? Qe3+ = draw
nor 5.Ra2? Qc1 6.Kg3!? Qc7+ 7.Kf2 Qc1 = draw by triple repetition
which cannot be avoided by 6.Ra8 Qc2+ 7.Kg3 Qg6+ 8.Kf2 Qc2+ =)

Black is in zugzwang situation.

First variation, where the pawn moves and blocks the diagonal b1-h7.
6.Rc8! Qh6
7.Rb8! (avoiding Qb6+) 1-0

Second variation, 'symmetrical' to the main diagonal a8-h1.
6.Kg3 d3
7.Ra6! Qc1
8.Ra7! (avoiding Qc7+) 1-0

Sad info : mario matous 1947 - 2013

Friday, June 12, 2009

Solving contest 2009-05-31, 8 ESO, category2

We present the problems (of both rounds) of the second category (for junior solvers, easier problems, four per round), from the eighth Solving Contest for Chess Problems organized by the Greek Chess Federation (E.S.O. Elliniki Skakistiki Omospondia), and hosted by the Chess Club of Aegaleo in 31/05/2009.

The problems were selected by Ioannis Garoufalidis.

An award was given for his participation to the young player of C.C. Aegaleo John Katopodis (with 7,5 points in 40 possible).

Problems for solving. (The solutions are at the end of this post).

(Problem 358)
A. Kramer,
Deutsche Tageszeitung, 1922,
Mate in 2.
#2 (6 + 1)

(Problem 359)
M. Bosch,
Mate in 3.
#3 (4 + 2)

(Problem 360)
V. Nikitin,
Ural Problemist, 2008,
White plays and wins.
+ (2 + 3)

(Problem 361)
S. Jurisek,
Zadachi Etudi, 2005,
Helpmate in 2 moves. Two solutions.
h#2 2111 (5 + 2)

(Problem 362)
V. Shumarin,
Zadachi I Etudi, 2005,
Mate in 2.
#2 (5 + 2)

(Problem 363)
Koblov, Rostislav,
Zadachi I Etudi, 2005,
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 (5 + 2)

(Problem 364)
Galitsky, Alexander,
Mate in 4 moves.
#4 (4 + 3)

(Problem 365)
A. Zickermann, (version)
Feenschach, 1951,
Selfmate in 3 moves.
s#3 (4 + 3)

The solutions of the problems
The points of the solution are shown with bold numbers, a total of five for each correct solution.

(Problem 358) A. Kramer, 1922, #2

We must give a flight to the black King. There are many tries, and the theme is Bristol line opening (the parasitic piece that opens the line is not taking part to the mate).

Tries : [1.Qh1+? Kxh1!], [1.Qg1+? Kxg1!]
Tries : [1.Rd1? / Rd3? / Rd4? / Rd5? / Rd6? / Rd7? / Rd8 Kxg2!]
Tries : [1.Rc2? / Rc4? / Rc5? / Rc6? / Rc7? Kxg3!]

Key : 1.Rc8! (5)
1...Kxg3 2.Qc7#

(Problem 359) M. Bosch, #3

We make a Rook-Bishop battery, we allow the black King to move around, but not for very much...

Tries : [1.Rb1? Kc3!], [1.Rc4? Kd1!]

Key : 1.Bb6! (1)
1...Kxe1 2.Rd4 (1) Kf1 3.Rd1#
1...Kd1 2.Rb1+ (1) Kd2 3.Ba5#
1...Kc3 2.Ba5 (1) Kd2 3.Rb1#
1...Kc1 2.Ba5 (1) Kd1 / Kd2 3.Rb1#

(Problem 360) V. Nikitin, +

If the White is going to win, then obviously the wP must be promoted.

(not 1.Kg6? h4 2.e5 h3 3.e6 h2 4.e7 h1=Q 5.e8=Q Qc6 6.Qxc6 Kxc6 7.Kf5 Kd5 -+)
(not 1.Kxh5? c4 2.e5 c3 3.e6 Kc6 4.Kg6 Kd6 5.Kf6 c2 6.e7 c1=Q 7.e8=Q =)

Key : 1.e5! (1)
1...Kc6 2.Kg6 Kd5 3.Kf5 (1) and now two equivalent variations
3...h4 4.e6 Kd6 5.Kf6 h3 6.e7 h2 7.e8=Q h1=Q 8.Qd8+ Kc6 9.Qa8+ (1.5) +-
3...c4 4.e6 Kd6 5.Kf6 c3 6.e7 c2 7.e8=Q c1=Q 8.Qd8+ Kc6 9.Qc8+ (1.5) +-

(Problem 361) S. Jurisek, h#2 2111

Black plays first and helps White to mate. The solver should imagine where all the pieces must go in order to create the mating net inside the limit of the moves.

Key : 1.Kf6! h8=S 2.Be7 Bc3# (2.5)
Key : 1.Bc7! b8=Q 2.Kd7 Qxc7# (2.5)

(Problem 362) V. Shumarin, #2

Tries : [1.Qd3? / Qa5+? / Qb6? C5!], [1.Qa8? Kc4!], [1.Qxc6+? Kxc6!], [1.Qb7? / Ba1? / Bb2? / Bc3? / Bh8? / Bg7? / Bg4? / Kd2? / Kc3? / Kd3? Kd6!]

Key : 1.Bf6! (5) ( > 2.Qd3# )
1...c5 2.Bg2#

(Problem 363) R. Koblov, #3

Tries : [1.Ke3? F4+!], [1.Qd6? Kxd2!], [1.Kd3? / Qb1+? / Qb3? / Qb5? / Qc4? / Bf1? / Bh5? / Bg4? / Bf3? / Ba6? / Bb5? / Bc4? / Bd3? Kxf2!], [1.Sd1? / Sh1? / Sh3? / Sg4? / Sd3+? / Se4+? Kxe2!]

Key : 1.Qb8! (1) ( > 2.Q(x)f4 K~ 3. Qe3# (1) )
1...Kxd2 2.Qb2+ (1.5) Ke1 3.Sd3#
1...Kxf2 2.Qh2+ (1.5) Ke1 3.Sf3#

(Problem 364) A. Galitsky, #4

Tries : [1.Kxh6? / Kg4? / Qc3? / Qc5+? / Qa4? / Qb6? / Qc4+? Ke4!], [1.Qe1? / Qf8? / Qb7+? Kxd4!], [1.Qb2? Kd6!]

Key : 1.Qd2! (1) (zugzwang situation)
1...Kd6 2.Qa5 Ke7 3.Qa8 (2) Kf6 / Kd6 4.Qf8# / 4.Qd8#
1...Ke4 2.Qf2 Kd5 3.Qh4 (2) Kd6 4.Qd8#

(Problem 365) A. Zickermann, s#3

White plays first and forces Black to achieve mate, leading the black Knight from a8 to c3.

Tries : [1.Sc4+? / Qg3+? / Qh3+? / Qb4+? K(x)b4!], [1.Qc4? / Qd4? Sb6!]

Key : 1.Qe1! (1) (zugzwang situation)
1...Sb6 2.Qa5+ Sa4 3.Qc3+ (2) Sxc3#
1...Sc7 2.Sb5+ Sxb5 3.Qc3+ (2) Sxc3#

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Solving Contest 2009-05-31, 8th ESO, Aegaleo

Aegaleo, 31/05/2009

Mr Kostas Prentos from Salonica is for the eighth time Champion of Greece in Solving chess problems, being the winner of the 8th Solving Contest organized by the Greek Chess Federation (“Elliniki Skakistiki Omospondia”, “E.S.O.”)!
Bravo Kostas Prentos, eight in eight!!

Second was Harry Fougiaxis, third was Andreas Papastavropoulos.

The awards were twins! The three first solvers received cups from the athletic division of the Municipality of Aegaleo (it is in Athens, Greece), and also money prizes from the known Greek solver Panagiotis Konidaris who was celebrating the birth of his twin babies. We wish health for all!

The final ranking is as follows : (1) Prentos 42 4:00, (2) Fougiaxis 23 3:55, (3) Papastavropoulos 22 4:00, (4) Sklavounos 21.5 4:00 (5) Manolas 20 3:58 (6) Ilandzis 20 4:00 (7) Anemodouras 19.5 4:00 (8) Skyrianoglou 18.5 3:56, (9) Mendrinos 17 4:00 (10) Alexandrou 16.5 3:46 (11) Tsolakos 15 3:52 (12) Vlahos 13 4:00 (13) Tassopoulos 11 3:50 (14) Mihaloudis 10 4:00 (15) Anastasiou 5 3:58 (16) Blazos 5 4:00.

Mr Ioannis Garoufalidis was the judge.

See here the problems and try to solve them...but you can see the solutions here.

Comments by Alkinoos :
The photo of the winners shows (left-to-right) :
G Karahalios vice-mayor of Aegaleo. Harry Fougiaxis (2nd). Kostas Prentos (1st). Andreas Papastavropoulos (3rd). Panagis Sklavounos (4th). Emmanuel Manolas (5th). Spyros Ilandzis (6th).

The message of the Egyptian T-shirt of the fifth winner is 'play more chess' not 'smoke various substances'...

You may see more photos at the site of Chess Club of Patras.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Demetrius N. Kapralos

Demetrius Kapralos was Golden Winner in Olympiad of chess problem composition.

He was born (March 05, 1927) in Panaitolio (district of Agrinio in Greece), same year with the first official chess Olympiad. He died (February 06, 1994) only days before the death of Triantafyllos Siaperas.

Child of a multi-membered family, learned the war in his youth and a lesion, in his leg, marked the remainder of his life. He learned about chess and chess problems, when he was hospitalized, from the newspapers that had just restarted circulating then, particularly from the column of Ioannis Koutalidis in the periodical [Helios], where the themes of the chess problems were explained and had become pole of attraction for the first generation of Greek problemists.

When he started composing, he contacted Spyros Bikos, who knew the problemists of Holland. Bikos recognized at once the talent of the young composer and helped him, proposing international contests and collaborating with him. In the first tourney with theme "Bikos" organized in Holland in 1948, Kapralos was awarded with First Prize. From that time on, in each tourney he participated he received exceptional distinctions. In 1950, in a thematic tourney, three problems by Kapralos received the three first prizes! (See below a catalog of distinctions and the Problem-357 which was the First Prize of this contest).

During the decade ’50 – ’60 he participated in many composition contests with continuous success.
His photo comes from the fron cover of the chess magazine [To Mat] (issue 57, September 1956) that was published by Spyros Bikos.

After 1960 he moved to Athens, was very active with over the board chess and had the local title of Candidate Master. He chose jobs allowing ample free time for his inventions, and he had the opportunity to participate (as supplementary player)with the Greek National Team in chess Olympiads (14th Olympiad – Leipzig 1960, 17th Olympiad – Havana 1966, details here).

In the end of decade, he comes back stronger in the composition of problems and he becomes head and soul of the Greek national team in the World Competitions of Composition, lasting four years each. In these competitions his personal and team successes are many. In those years where the otb chess in Greece still had not woken up, Kapralos continues to be distinguished in the Olympiad Chess Competitions. At the same time, he also scores successes in other competitions of composition. The fast comprehension of subject that was given for composition, and the speed with which he composed was admirable by all, and his talents justified his big successes in mainly thematic competitions.

The rewarded problems that were mentioned before, and many others from the 300+ problems he had composed, are published in various magazines and sites. We should try to assembled them in one collection, because there is a danger to lose many of them. He did not send his problems for evaluation and publication in the albums of FIDE, and the world Union of Problemists could not grant him the title of International Master in Composition (because publication in the albums is a prerequisite), but they granted him the honorary title of "International Judge in Problem Composition". His last occupation was Chess Trainer in the Greek Chess Federation.

The dreamer Demetrius Kapralos, despite he had a lot of health problems, he labored until his last moments for the composition of problems for the world championship of that season, as well as for the recognition of his pioneering invention with chemical base, that could find application in the industries and resolve the energy problem. We do not know what has happened to this invention.

We the problemists honor the unprecedented Demetrius Kapralos, and we remember him each time we touch the pieces in our chessboard because even the set of pieces of the Greek Chess Federation is drawn from his creative hand!

Indicative list of awards for Dimitrius Kapralos

1948 : First Place, Thematic Contest "Bikos", magazine Probleemblad, Holland
1950 : First Place [see Problem-357] and Second Place and Third Place, International Tourney, magazine Probleemblad, Holland
1951 : First Place in two-movers, British Chess Review
1952 : Fourth Place in three-movers [see Problem-355] and Third Honorary Mention in two-movers [see Problem-356], Olympiad in Helsinki
1955 : First place, Sao Paulo Contest
1956 : First Place, magazine Probleemblad, Holland
1956 : First Place, French tourney UPF
1956 : First Place and Third Place, Vida Rotaria Ty, Brazil
1972 : Golden Medal First Place in the live composition contest [see problem-353] and Golden Medal First Place in two-movers [see Problem-354], Olympiad in Skopje
1972 : Seventh Place for Greece, (Goussopoulos, Kapralos, Lyris, Bikos, Moutecidis, Skoulis), to the 2nd International Team-Matches for Chess Compositions 1967-1971, in Holland. Sixth Place in two-movers for Kapralos in this tourney.
1974 : Silver Medal Second Place (together with Spyros Bikos) in three-movers and Bronze Medal Third Place (together with Spyros Bikos) in two-movers, Olympiad in Nice.
1974 : First Place in two-movers, Sinfonie Scacchistiche, Italy
1974 : First Place in three-movers, Hlas l’udu, Czechoslovakia
1976 : Sixth Place (together with Spyros Bikos), Olympiad in Haifa.
1983 : First Place (tigether with Nikos Siotis), tourney for 1300 Years of Bulgaria. [see Problem-010]
1985 : Fifth Place for Greece in 2nd WCCT (World Chess Composition Tourney 1980-1983), organized by FRG
1985 : Third Place, 148 Thematic Contest Probleemblad, Holland [see Problem-234]
1989 : Fifth Place for Greece in 3rd WCCT (World Chess Composition Tourney 1984-1987), organized by PCCC.

Problems by Kapralos

(Problem 353)
Demetrius N. Kapralos,
First Prize in live composition contest, Olympiad Skopje, 1972
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 ( 12 + 12 )

Set play : [1...fxg3 2. Qe3#], [1...fxe4 2. Qd5#]

Try : 1. Qf6? ( > 2. Qd4# )
1...Rxc3 2. Bc2#
1...Bxc3 2. Rd2#
but 1...bxc3!

Keyί : 1. Qd8! ( > 2. Sd~# )
1...Ra8 2. Sc8#
1...Ra7 2. Sb7#
1...Ra5 2. Sb5#
1...Be8 2. Sxe8#
1...Bf7 2. Sxf7#
1...exf1=~ 2. Sxf5#
(1...Bf2 2. Rd2#
1...Sxf3 2. Bxe2#)

Time given 3 hours, Judge Zvonimir Hernitz from Yugoslavia.
Theme : [Radical change of white and black play in three phases (set play, try, actual play). The thematic variations (moves B1 W2) must not be repeated together in any phase. If the first move of black, B1, is repeated, then the second move of white, W2, must be different.]

In the set play we have two variations with line openings for wQ, in try we see two self-pins of black pieces and, finally, after the key the theme free Fleck appears (separation of the threats, which are introduced with the key, after specific black defenses).

The problem was front cover of the chess magazine [Skakistis] No.58 October 1972.

(Problem 354)
Demetrius N. Kapralos,
Golden Medal, Olympiad Skopje, 1972
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 ( 9 + 11 )

Set play :
1...Bf3 2. Qxf3#
1...Be3 a 2. Qxg6# A
1...cxd3 b 2. Qe5# C

Try :
1. Bf4? ( > 2. Sg5# )
1...Bf3 c 2. Qxg6# A
1...Be3 2. Qxe3#
1...cxd3 b 2. Qxg2# B
(1...Bxf4 2. Rxf4#)
but 1...Rxc5!

Key : 1. Rd8! ( > 2. Rd4# )
1...Bf3 c 2. Qe5# C
1...Be3 a 2. Qxg2# B
1...cxd3 2. Qxd3#
1...Sc2 2. Sxf2#
1...Sb5 2. Re5#
1...Rxc5 2. Sexc5#

Theme Zagoruiko 3x3 with 3 changed mates in 3 phases, with all the mates being given by wQ, in a form of Lacny separated in three phases.

(Problem 355)
Demetrius N. Kapralos,
First Honorable Mention, Olympiad Helsinki, 1952
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 ( 10 + 10 )

Key : 1. Qa7! ( > 2. Qb8+
2...Rdd6, Rbd6 3. Bh6#, Sd5#
2...Qc7, Qxb8 3. Sh3# )
1...Rdd6 2. Bh6+ Rxh6 3. Sd5#
1...Rbd6 2. Sd3+ exd3 / Rxd3 3. Qxe3# / Bh6#
1...Bf5 2. Sh3+ Bxh3 3. Rxe4#
1...Qf5 2. Rxe4+ Qxe4 3. Sh3#
1...Qd7 2. Sd5+ Qxd5 3. Sh3#
1...Qe6, exf2 2. Bh6+ Qxh6 / Rxh6 3. Sh3# / Qxf2#

Wuerzburg – Plachutta intersections in squares d6 and f5, and Holzhausen intersections in squares d7 and e6.

(Problem 356)
Demetrius N. Kapralos,
Third Honorary Mention, Olympiad Helsinki, 1952
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 ( 10 + 9 )

Set play :
1...Qg5 a 2. Sb7# A (Se4?)
1...Qg4 b 2. Se4# B (Sb7?)

Key : 1. Be6! ( > 2. Sf5# )
1...Qg5 a 2. Se4# B (Sb7?)
1...Qg4 b 2. Sb7# A (Se4?)
1...Qxc5+ 2. bxc5#
1...Qg6 2. Sb7#
1...fxe6 2. Qxe6#
1...Sd7+ 2. Rxd7#
1...Rh5 2. Sc8#

Reversal of mates after the same black defenses and theme Java (that is combination of dual avoidance with white-line closures by black and white).
Theme: Java : two squares adjacent to bK are controlled by two white pieces each. Black closes one line of control and white cannot close the other line of control, thus white selects the next move avoiding dual.

(Problem 357)
Demetrius N. Kapralos,
First Prize, International tourney Holland, 1950
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 ( 9 + 12 )

Set play :
1...S2~ / S3~ 2. Qxh7#
1...Sd4! 2. Sd6#
1...Sf5! 2. Qxa8#

Key : 1. Rf7! ( > 2. Bxf3# )
1...S2~ / S3~ 2. Qxa8#
1...Sd4! 2. Sxc3#
1...Sd5! 2. Qxh7#
1...Kd5 2. Rxf4#

Changes of mates between set play and actual play, in the general and the corrective defenses of the black Knights, which are placed in a half-pin formation.
The mechanism of the problem is based on the by turns check of the squares d5 and f5, which is very cleverly achieved with the give-and-take key, (gives to bK the flight d5 taking at the same time the flight f5).

Comment by Alkinoos : This post became a reality with the valuable cooperations of Panagis Sklavounos and Harry Fougiaxis, whom I thank.