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A little piece of heaven - 2

The studies of Yochanan Afek - Inspiration from the Gulf War

von Eric van Reem, November 2001

more chess by Eric van Reem


Solution to study Nr 1:

Y. Afek, 2. Preis, Tidskrift för Schack, 1972


Simplification leads to nowhere: 1.Ne5 Kxb6 2.Nd7+ Kc6 3.Nxf8 Bxg4 4.Ld3 Bd1 5.Bc2 Bxc2 6.Kxc2 g4 draws. Straightforward action is required:

1.Rxb5+! Kxb5 2.Ne5+ Ka4 3.Nd7 Be2! 4.Bxe2  Meeting the threefold threat with stalemate counterplay. Declining the offer is oversophisticated: 4.Bg2 Rf2 5.Bc6+ Bb5+! and black wins. 4...Rb8+ 5.Bb5+!! Out of the blue! 5...Rxb5+ 6.Ka2! Wherever the rook moves, it is either captured or forked.

Themes: Zugzwang, stalemate, mutual bishop sacrifice, anti-stalemate, forks.


   When I asked Yochanan Afek what inspires him to compose his beautiful studies, he answered: "Sometimes I get inspiration from practical play, although that does not happen very often. I like to play through studies made by other composers and I often get inspired by themes they use in their studies. But sometimes, inspiration comes from a completely unexpected source. The Gulf War of January 1991 caught me, like many others, in the town of Ramat-Gan, the favourite target of Saddam´s missiles. I could not leave my house, because it was far too dangerous, so what else could I do but composing problems and studies? Between missiles and "Patriots" (an anti-missile weapon), my lost composing sense returned for a while and I managed to create a few selfmates as well as the following study:"



Yochanan Afek in action


2nd Prize, Israel Ring Tourney 1991



White draws

The solution will be presented in the next issue of Chess Studies.

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