Award in SuperProblem - 2021 Informal Tourney | Fairies
Published: January 03, 2022
Опубликовано: 03 января 2022
The 2021 informal tourney 2021 of SuperProblem was highly successful. After analyzing 98 compositions from 57 authors representing 19 countries, I decided to award one third. This rather high ratio can be explained by the high quality level for which I warmly congratulate the fairies section editor and the participants.
Inspired by the previous year’s judge, I decided to split the award into 3 sections.
Miniatures | Миниатюры
In this section I had to judge 31 entries submitted by 22 composers from 13 countries.
1st Prize ‒ G435 Victor Zheglov (Russia)
The author is well known for his special interest in model functionary miniatures (see also TT-226). The usage of two restrictive fairy conditions (Functionary Chess and Black UltraSchachZwang) severely limits the freedom of movements for both sides. Achieving four model mates in echo without twinning is a triumph which must be praised with top honors, in spite of the slightly reduced PWC effects.
2nd Prize – G367 Niels Danstrup (Denmark)
The best Wenigsteiner from the tournament! The long solutions are very accurate, exploiting very well the Functionary Chess specificities. Of course, the mating positions with this material are not new – see for instance the 2nd HM from FIDE World Cup 2010. However the rendering of the idea in all 4 corners without any move repetition is an outstanding achievement.
3rd Prize – G432 Ján Golha (Slovakia)
The author is the world’s leading expert in the combination of fairy conditions Parrain Circe and Take & Make. However, he is using the Popeye interpretation of the combination: the captured pieces must reborn on the destination square considered after the “Make” part. Winchloe interpretation is entirely different: the captured pieces must reborn on the destination square after the “Take” part. The whole idea of the problem is original: to escape from the check given by the neutral Bishop, the neutral King must go next to the neutral Pawn which occupies the rebirth square. In the final position, even if the neutral King can escape the check by the neutral Pawn it won’t escape the threat from the neutral Knight. This double specific effect is excellent and makes an unforgettable impression.
1st Honorable Mention – G427 Sergey Smotrov (Kazakhstan)
Love at first sight! I was seduced by this deceptively simple setting which hides an exceptional solving puzzle. Under Transmuted Kings condition, it is obvious the Grasshoppers must deliver the final cross-check(s) to limit the Kings’ freedom. Half the solution is to find the critical position; the other half is to build it. Undoubtedly the best miniature from the tournament at “Solver appeal” category!
2nd Honorable Mention – G422 Eric Huber (Romania)
Like Vogtlaender, the fairy condition Anticipés produces many weird effects, which are difficult to understand and follow. In the first twin, W3 is actually a double check – as it threatens both 3.d8=Q/B and 3.Bc7. B3 is actually forced, because on a4, b4 and b5 the black King can be checked either by the white Knight or by the white Bishop: 4.Sb6 / Bd6 / Sd6. W4 requires a Queen promotion, because a Rook is not strong enough: 4.d8=R+ Rd7! On the other side, Black must promote in Rook, because a Queen is too strong and will pin the wPb7. The shift of black pawn to b2 in the twin changes completely the game. Now, the wPb7 can’t promote after 1…b1=R because of the exposure of the white King to a check: 2…R:b8. After 2.c8=S, White actually threatens 3.d8=Q/B+, so Black can self-pin by interposing the Rook on b6. W3 unpins the Rook, but threatens 3.Rd5+ and 3…Rd6 is again forced (3…Ka6 is thwarted by 4.b8=S). The final move 4.Rd7 puts Black in zugzwang and forces the capture of the white Rook. Although the solutions display entirely different motivations, one should not neglect the strategic wealth and the specific double pin stalemates. Without the repeated Knight promotion, this could have been placed even higher.
3rd Honorable Mention – G389 Torsten Linß (Germany)
Crystal clear content in a perfect rendering! It is difficult to achieve interplay when the main theme is a solo piece representation, like in Excelsior, but the author skillfully solved this difficulty by employing the active sacrifices both at the beginning and at the end of the solutions. The repetitions of B4 and B5 are inherent to the theme and don’t detract the overall impression. A piece for the future chess composition anthologies!
Commendation - G352 Ľuboš Kekely (Slovakia)
Two ideal mates in chameleon echo using the challenging fairy condition Bicolores. Looks rather simple, but I include it in the award due to its didactic value – surely the best problem to explain a newcomer what fairy chess composition is all about.
Commendation - G396 Gábor Tar (Hungary)
Although the theme – building a cage around the black King in a direct series with PWC – is known from previous compositions (see WID: 646166), I liked how the author managed to show 10 specific captures out of 23 moves and the big contrast between the initial and final positions of black King (mirror versus smothered mate).
Commendation ‒ G423 Eric Huber (Romania)
A unique blend of fairy conditions leads to an exquisite presentation with set play. As we know from G422, Anticipés allows very economic settings. In the set play 1…Bb3 is an anticipatory self obstruction: the ‘b’ file must be closed after 2.Kb6 else 2…e1=R+ is a double check. In the critical position, both White and Black batteries fire: 3.f8=R is a double check because White threatens both 4.Rf3+ and 4.Be6+. Black has no choice but play a Novotny mate: 3…Bf7# opening the ‘b’ file and threatening a double check: 4…Re6 and 4.Rb1. In the real play, the white King can’t lose a tempo to get on b6 as b5 and c6 are guarded by the bBd1. After 1.f8=S+ Black’s reply is forced 1…Kg3. The continuation 2.Sg6 Kh2 leads to the critical position. 3.Sh4+ threatens 4.Sf3 and the black King has no available flight, so this move has to be illegalized, hence 3…e1=B. White King is threatened by both 4…Bb4 and Bf2 and has no available flight, as the two black Bishops are a nuisance. The lack of rich strategy in the real play hinders a higher classification.
Commendation ‒ G425 Bosko Miloseski (Macedonia)
Two black major promotions on the same square and a nice pin stalemate, with very accurate play. This composition has both a real didactic value and solving appeal.
Merediths | Мередиты
In this section I had to judge 36 entries submitted by 29 composers from 12 countries.
1st Prize – G440 Ya'aqov Mintz (Israel) & Mikhail Khramtsevich (Belarus)
Fair play, the authors mention the problem was composed after
2nd Prize – G406 Cheslav Yakubovsky (Belarus)
Although the theme is not new – Pierre Tritten previously showed a doubled cyclic Zilahi in H#2 Take & Make – this realization comes with a seemingly new setting. The solutions are well unified and the twinning shifting a white Pawn is gentle. 2 out of 3 model mates are also exploiting the fairy condition. An impressive demonstration of technical virtuosity!
3rd Prize – G439 Ya'aqov Mintz (Israel)
One can surely recognize the similarity with G440. Here, besides the white AUW, we also have Excelsior and Bristol. Why is this not placed higher? Well, there are some small details which must not be neglected: here we have one additional capture (bSa8) and the density of actively playing pieces is lower: 6/9 (compared to 8/10).
1st Honorable Mention – G371 Vitaly Medintsev (Russia)
An exquisite demonstration of Zilahi theme, with two other pairs of pieces exchanging their roles! The economic presentation, in diagonal-orthogonal correspondence, gives aesthetic pleasure. Another memorable masterpiece for the future anthologies!
2nd Honorable Mention – G366 Aleksey Oganesjan (Russia)
This Kindergarten position hides many treasures: Excelsior hesitation, mixed AUW and the highlight being on the mutual obstructions between the promoted Rook and Bishop. The original blend is quite convincing, despite a certain lack of interplay.
3rd Honorable Mention – G426 Sergey Smotrov (Kazakhstan)
To make the main plan work, White needs to shift the Rook a6 to the neighboring square with tempo. The key is a real surprise, capturing the seemingly ideally placed black Rook. During the solution, the black King becomes a board trotter, travelling from b1 to f5 before eventually returning to c4. The usage of Circe in logical long selfmates is entirely justified. One for the hunting lovers!
Commendation ‒ G361 Ladislav Packa & Juraj Lörinc (Slovakia)
Two specific 5 fold specific pin stalemates – an absolute record shown with impressive economy. All these pins are actually selfblocks and the stalemates ingeniously exploit the lack of “Make” move by the white Knight. The rather low ranking reflects my feeling after seeing both the impressive final positions and the rather mediocre solutions.
Commendation ‒ G394 János Csák & Gábor Tar (Hungary)
The long sequence of moves, in which the black castling unpins the black Pawn, is quite elaborate. Moreover, this problem gives me the urge to compose – and that’s more than enough for retaining it in the award!
Main section | Общий раздел
In this section I had to judge 31 entries submitted by 26 composers from 15 countries.
1st Prize – G369 Lev Grolman (Russia)
In four twins, four neutral pieces (nLEa3, nLEg5, nNb3 and nROg1) are ready to capture the white pawn c5 and subsequently be reborn on c1. The same neutral pieces are also ready to capture the neutral reborn unit on c1 and subsequently be reborn on c8. With c8 being occupied, a third neutral piece can move to a square where to observe the black King, without fearing of a potential self-check. Once the neutral piece on c8 leaves this square, it must not be able to return. So W1 is actually a well prepared active sacrifice, which is delayed until W3 – the foresight theme. The whole mechanism works in an astonishing way. From a purely theoretical perspective, it matters less if we label this mechanism as a full cycle or a double exchange – it is undoubtedly fully exploiting the capabilities of both neutral pieces and AntiCirce. A refined intellectual achievement worth studying several hours!
2nd Prize – G356 Ladislav Salai jr. (Slovakia) & Michal Dragoun (Czech Republic)
Jamais deux sans trois! The authors have successfully used the same matrix of white Lions and Knight in other problems (see WID: 580788 and 738859), but this time the black King is placed next to the white Knight which changes entirely the play. The first pair of solutions is very subtle, with both White and Black dual avoidance. In the second pair the white Knight plays all moves, again with antibattery mates. The keys played by the same piece are an excellent unifying masters’ touch.
Special Prize – G397 Menachem Witztum (Israel) & Vitaly Medintsev (Russia)
This is a clear improvement of the 3rd HM from TT-258: the usage of two white Knights instead of a single one allowed a second pair of white pieces to exchange functions! The unity is further enhanced by placing the white Rook on the square which will be subsequently occupied by the white Knight – a feature which is present in the first twin. All these small changes turn a good problem into a great one. I decided to completely ignore the existence of the predecessor showing the same battery play thematic, just because this version should simply not go unnoticed.
1st Honorable Mention – G372 Vladislav Nefyodov (Russia) & Aleksandr Bulavka (Belarus), dedicated to L. Grolman-80
A task rendering of the black King star and mating white Albino – this is a new combination according to my knowledge. Patrol handily plays an essential role in making the mechanism work: in each solution the white Queen must be supported by its own Pawn to deliver mate. The white economy is exceptional, but the huge black force proves the enormous constructional difficulties the authors had to overcome. The result, using just one technical fairy piece blocking a flight in each phase, is highly unified.
2nd Honorable Mention – G363 Michal Dragoun (Czech Republic)
The flights around the black King are guarded by wGh3(e6), wNd7(c5) and wNa2(e4). These pieces will change their roles in a cyclic fashion: one is captured creating a flight, the other will check the black King and the third will deliver the mate on the controlled flight square. This very ambitious program is slightly marred by the unfortunate capture of bNb6 in one solution.
3rd Honorable Mention – G401 Hubert Gockel (Germany)
There is still a lot to do in the single phase fairy twomover, as this magnificent composition demonstrates! In five variations, five black pawns are captured and disappear in a cyclic way thanks to the employed fairy condition (Breton Adverse). The specific mates exploit the various weakening produced by the five defenses. The crystal clear conception should have been placed even higher with a better key.
4th Honorable Mention – G429 Mikhail Khramtsevich (Belarus)
An interesting rendering of the focal theme: three black pieces are each double overloaded with the guard of the three prominent White moves: Bc7 (NAa3 & LEf4), c:d4 (LEf4 & LEg1) and Sg6 (LEg1 & NAa3). To parry the long threat, one of the thematic pieces is decoyed, allowing White to exploit the double overload of the remaining two pieces – that’s known as point de rencontre or Jacobs theme. Although there are many examples featuring this theme, both orthodox and fairies, as Shankar Ram has shown in his article from Conflictio 18, I decided to reward this composition in spite of its rather bad key bringing into play the seemingly out-of-play and en prise white Rook.
5th Honorable Mention – G364 Borisas Gelpernas (Lithuania)
Four black pieces are brought to play and then return to their initial squares – a witty idea, shown with great precision. The stalemate exploits on the specific invulnerability of three white pieces: Rb1, Sb2 and Bb3. The whole solution is based on the need to capture two white pawns on f4 and b4 to open the line of wBb8, respectively to block bBa3. Immediate captures are not possible due to either pin or check, so Black must first do some preparation work by unpinning the black Rook and putting a shield against the check. Unfortunately, the fairy condition serves mainly to justify the final position.
Commendation - G355 Hubert Gockel (Germany)
This is analogous with a four-fold cyclic Zilahi featured by Sh8, Ph7, Rg7 and Pf7, but with an extra feature: the mate occurs on the initial square of the disappearing piece! All black defenses are played by the same piece, enhancing the overall unity. Only the initial out of play wRd7 playing the key is a drawback.
Commendation - G370 Vitaly Medintsev & Anatoly Skripnik (Russia)
The long critical white moves, including two corner-to-corner Bishop moves, allow a mirror triple pin stalemate. The whole sequence is greatly facilitated by the presence of the black Pawns needing to be blocked.
Commendation - G395 Gábor Tar (Hungary)
Three different mates by the same piece – a fresh interpretation of the Romanian Tzuica 2019 theme tourney. All solutions end in double check – that’s Romanian Tzuica 2014 theme tournament. Humorous and light!
Commendation - G407 Cheslav Yakubovsky (Belarus)
Another typical H#2 with cyclic play of white pieces: after the black royal battery fires capturing one piece, the second captures the black Rook and the third mates. Although the cyclic pattern is already known, the usage of the black royal battery in this context deserves recognition.
Commendation - G413 Mykola Vasyuchko (Ukraine)
Two pairs of pieces (nSf6/nSe5 and bRh5/bBh4) exchange functions. The order of moves is nicely forced, justifying the usage of three neutral pieces.
Commendation - G420 Misha Shapiro (Israel)
Black needs to block a7 and a8 before locking the cage with 17.b6 and throw away the key. The long sequence ending with a mixed Phoenix promotion has solving appeal.
Commendation - G431 Francesco Simoni (Italy)
This is a very elegant composition typical for the class of the Italian specialist. The HS stipulation feels slightly artificial here, as the whole play suggests a genuine helpmate. However the high quality interplay will satisfy the most exigent connoisseurs’ tastes.
Judge: Vlaicu Crisan (Romania)
January 03, 2022Судья: Влайку Кришан (Румыния)