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.

No comments: