Lockdown Solving Tournament
May 09, 2020
Special times require special measures. About the origin and the rules of the first (and hopefully the last) Lockdown Solving Tournament you can read in an earlier article. The response was very nice: 67 solvers took part last Saturday. The level was quite high: 6 out of the top 10; some 40 out of the top 100.
At first glance, it was easy for the participants: making a few e-mails, looking for a place to solve and throwing kids and animals out of the room (witnessing some pictures this was maybe the most difficult part of the day), solving for 2 hours, transmitting the solutions, and a few hours later receiving the complete results.
And life continues.
But this tournament gave them the feeling of coming together, meeting friends and enjoying a mutual hobby. A real relief in this unpleasant times. And that was very much appreciated.
With 8 problems in 2 hours and without any twomovers, this would never been an easy tournament. Except those who grabbed a few minutes, everybody used the full time.
The struggle for points was hard. Remarkably, every problem had its victims: not many solvers mastered all the lines in the #4; the #8 looked not difficult and was solved rather well, except by … Nunn and Murdzia; only a few avoided the thematic try in the study. The H#3 and the two selfmates went rather well, but probably many solvers invested quite some time to get them correct.
The H#4 was something special. In my selection I never take problems which are already used in older solving tournaments. But because this was not a rated tournament I broke this rule for once. The problem featured very prominently in the British Championship 1993 and the Belgian Championship 1994, creating of course havoc. But it seemed that several solvers of the Lockdown Tournament couldn’t remember this at all. In The Problemist of March 1993 (available at their website) you can read the complete story.
The results of the first session with many strong solvers were revealing: the Russian junior Maksim Romanov had the lead with “only” 32,5 points (out of 40), before John Nunn (31,5), Evgeny Viktorov (30,5) and Boris Tummes (30). Piotr Murdzia stranded on 27 (that #8 made all the difference). In the second session only the other young Russian Danila Pavlov scored more than 30 points. But his result (37,5) looked enough to win the tournament. In the third session Eddy Van Beers seemed the most important candidate to surpass Pavlov, but the few points he lost on the #4 proved fatal, and he had finally to settle for second place. Congratulations to Danila for winning the tournament!
That the world has turned completely upside-down is made clear by the final results: there were even solvers who scored only points in the long selfmate!
Some solvers performed below par. This is understandable. Nothing beats a big room with the 100 best solvers in the world competing for the highest honours. The special conditions of this lockdown tournament are surely not ideal for everybody to show his A-game. Some solvers also admitted that their time management was completely wrong; something which probably would never happen to them in a live tourney. But for once, participating seemed more important than winning.
From a technical point of view the tournament ran perfectly and there were no issues with transmitting the documents and the results. All the solvers followed the rules closely and at nine o’clock in the evening the preliminary results (which also were the final results) could be published.
Diagrams, solutions and results are all available on the website. Those who didn’t participate can always try their hand on the problems.
Thanks to Axel Steinbrink for his help on a very hectic day. And what would we be without the Solving Tournament Manager (where you also can find the results) from Misha Mladenović?
It is difficult to image that in the near future we will have again our regular competitions, organised with the same conditions we used to have. Modifications surely will happen. The solving committee, the organisers and the solvers have to look for some creative solutions.
Finally I would like to finish with a few comments of participants:
“It was a real relief to focus on solving chess problems instead of the unsolvable Covid issues.” (Vlaicu Crisan)
“Thank you for making our days brighter!”
(Tadashi Wakashima. He solved from midnight to 2 in the morning!)
“While I hope that we won’t need to have another one, I think it was an interesting and successful experiment.” (John Nunn)
But my favourite is:
“Boah war das schwierig! Hat aber Spass gemacht.” (Roland Baier)
I hope you all enjoyed it. Keep safe.
− Luc Palmans, Spokesman of Solving Committee