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A little piece of heaven - 3

Grandmasters and endgame studies

von Eric van Reem, Dezember 2001

more chess by Eric van Reem


   In Wijk aan Zee, during the Corus tournament in 2001, GM Alexey Shirov and Yochanan Afek could be seen in the press room, analysing endgame studies. Afek: "I met Alexey a couple of years ago in Wijk, when he told me that he saw a study of mine in a book or magazine. He asked me if I could show him some more of my products." Your reporter was so lucky to be present during some of these amazing solving sessions. Afek showed us one of his new studies, then Shirov took just a short look at the position and tried to solve the studies without moving the pieces on the board. After a short while he smiled and came up with the solution.Afek: "Shirov is a fantastic solver of studies. He plays the endgame very well, because he knows a lot about endgame studies. He doesn´t compose studies, though." Well, we all know Alexey´s abilitiy to play study-like moves, like the amazing Bh3 in his game against Topalov in Linares, so maybe he will surprise us in the near future with some nice studies.

Amazing move by Shirov


   Afek: "Jan Timman is a good composer and a lot of people do not know that Judit Polgar composed some fantastic studies. She showed me some of her studies some years ago. Salov, Nunn, Speelman and Benko also composed interesting studies. In the past Botvinnik and Keres made some beautiful studies. And lets not forget Richard Réti, he is one of the best composers ever."



Yochanan Afek


   This is a nice example of an innocent looking position, yet even masters have encountered difficulties in cracking it. According to Afek this is an excellent position to show during training sessions.


Y.Afek, 3rd H.M., Israel Ring Tourney 1983


Chess Study



Solution to study nr. 2:


Yochanan Afek
2nd Prize, Israel Ring Tourney 1991


1.Nd1! f1Q 2.Ne3+ Kg6 3.Nxf1 Rxa4 4.Kh8 Ba2 5.c4!! The Nowotny theme, sacrificing on the crossroads of a rook and a bishop. 5.h7? is premature in view of  5...Rh4 6.g8Q+ Bxg8 7.Kxg8 Rxh7 8.Ng3 Re7 9.Kf8 Re3 etc. 5...Bxc4 6.h7 Bg8!! 7.hxg8N!! [7.hxg8Q Rh4+ 8.Qh7+ Rxh7+ 9.Kg8 Rxg7+ 10.Kf8 Rf7+ ] 7...Rh4+ 8.Nh6 Rxh6+ 9.Kg8 Rh3 10.Nd2  draw. Not 10.Kf8 Rf3+ 11.Ke7 Kxg7 12.Nd2 Re3+ winning.

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