Solvers in action in the Helsinki Chess Arena
The 44th Finnish Championship in solving took place in the Chess Arena in Helsinki. The longtime director of the competition, Neal Turner, carefully selected the 12 problems to be solved within three hours. In solving competitions, the problems should not be just challenging; they must be of good quality, showing interesting and original ideas in an artistically satisfying way. The chosen problems met all these requirements, so Neal Turner did an excellent job! All 18 participants received points for their solutions and were also able to enjoy the beauty of chess compositions.
Take, for instance, this mutual firework in two moves only:
Mate in 2 moves
The selection included two problems of each type: 2# (mate in two moves), 3#, more-movers (mate in four or more moves), endgame studies, helpmates and selfmates. The top finishers were close to the maximum of 60 points. For every correct solution, a solver received five points, but it was difficult to find all variations in the allotted time.
Those who think a helpmate is easy to solve because Black helps to be mated may try the following problem from the competition in Helsinki:
Helpmate in 2 moves (4 solutions)
Black plays first and cooperates to be mated in the 2nd white move. As usual in helpmates, there are more intended solutions as parts of the overall concept. There is a powerful white battery Qa2-Nc4, suggesting it should be used for the mating move, but it gets paradoxically abandoned each time to create four other batteries.
One of the solutions works this way: 1.Qb4! (Black has to take care of his own checking battery Qc5-Kd5) Rb3! 2.Kxc4 Rc3#. Can you find the other three solutions?
In the close contest for the top honours, five solvers managed to score more than 50 points. Dutch GM solver Dolf Wissmann missed only 1.5 points and emerged as a deserved winner, ahead of two other GMs, Martynas Limontas of Lithuania and Jorma Paavilainen of Finland, who shared the 2nd place. Both netted an equal number of points and used the maximum time, but for the ex-World champion in solving Jorma Paavilainen, that was enough for the 11th domestic title, bringing him closer to the record holder with 14 Finnish titles, the multiple World Champion Pauli Perkonoja.
Jorma Paavilainen (2nd-3rd), Dolf Wissmann (1st) and Martynas Limontas (2nd-3rd)
Experienced Finnish IM Kari Karhunen, the holder of ten Finnish titles, finished only one point behind this duo, followed by the rising Lithuanian talent Kevinas Kuznecovas. Vidmantas Satkus, on the 6th place, rounded out a great performance by the Lithuanian squad.
The youngest participant Kevinas Kuznecovas (18), was by far the fastest of all 18 solvers in Helsinki, using only 142 minutes. However, being that fast, he missed 5 out of 10 possible points in two endgames. For the maximal score in the following endgame, the solvers had to find all 13 White’s moves in a surprising King’s corner-to-corner walk!
White to play and win
Final standings: 1. Wissmann 58.5 points (166 minutes), 2-3. Limontas and Paavilainen 57 (180), 4. Jarhunen 56 (180), 5. Kuznecovas 54 (142), 6. Satkus 46 (180), 7. Tanner 43.5 (180), 8. Mockus 35 (180), etc.
Is my solution correct? The strong Lithuanian team
The best six solvers significantly rose in the overall standings of the World Solving Cup 2022/23: 1. Martynas Limontas (LTU) 29 points (+10 points), 2. Kevinas Kuznecovas (LTU) 17 (+4), 3. Arno Zude (GER) 16, 4. Dolf Wissmann (NED) 13 (+13), 5. Vidmantas Satkus (LTU) 12 (+2), etc.
The next legs of the WSC 2022/23 will be the open championships of Poland (Sekocin Stary, March 4-5) and the Netherlands (Nunspeet, March 4).
Position 1 (Vjacheslav Kamenskij)
Position 2 (Fadil Abdurahmanovic)
1.Qb4 Rb3 2.Kxc4 Rc3#
1.Q×d4 Qb1 2.Ke4 R×d4#
1.Qd6 Rc3 2.Kc6 Na5#
1.Qe7 Qxb2 2.Ke6 d5#
Position 3 (Aleksander Maskimovskic, Yu. Makletsov)
1.Re7+ Kh8 2.Re8+ Kxh7 3.Rxe4 Ra1+ 4.Kxa1 bxc2 5.Re7+ Kh8 6.Rh7+ Kg8 7.Bc4+ Kf8 8.Rf7+ Ke8 9.Bb5+ Kd8 10.Rd7+ Kc8 11.Ba6+ Kb8 12.Rb7+ Ka8 13.Rb1
Text: Marjan Kovačević, WFCC President
Photos: Hannu Harkola
Official website: wfcc.ch/