International Chess Federation
Friday, 02 Jun 2023 06:08
Kuznecovas rolls on the way to European Chess Solving Championship in Bratislava

Solving hall in the old building of the Nottingham High School | Photo: British Chess News / John Upham Photography 

A perfect month of the World Solving Cup 2022/23 events is behind us, with six national championships held in less than 30 days. After 11 out of 17 competitions, differing in the average Solvers rating from 4th to 12th Category the top two places in the WSC Standings are still in the firm hold of Lithuanian solvers, but they switched their places, thanks to a series of outstanding results by Kevinas Kuznecovas

The 18-years old has been rolling this year, reaching the top 5 places in all nine tournaments he entered. The icing on the cake was his back-to-back wins in Slovakia, Great Britain and France. On the way to it, Kevinas has instantly completed norms for solving titles of FIDE Master and International Master. His Next goal is the title of Grandmaster, and the next station is the European Chess Solving Championship in Bratislava (June 2-4).

Martynas Limontas is still in a good position to regain the top place since he hasn’t used the quota of six tournaments yet. In fact, nobody else except the leader has done it, and the final standings will heavily depend on two main yearly events: the Bratislava ECSC (June 1), and the World Chess Solving Championship in Batumi (September 4).

According to the WSC Rules, the number of points in a competition correlates with the average rating of the ten best participants. In the lowest, 14th Category, the winner gets only 2 WSC points, while the win in the 1st Category event scores 46 points. That explains the high positions of the five solvers who took part in only one WSC leg and still made it in the top 10! 

The Open Solving Championship of Serbia was the strongest national competition since 2019, with seven solving grandmasters taking part and an average rating of 2477. Danila Pavlov, double World and European Solving Champion pulled off a convincing victory that brought him 31 points – enough for the current third position in the WSC race. The 2nd and 3rd places in Belgrade secured the top 10 WSC positions for GM Solver Marko Filipović (on his successful return after several years) and to the double Grandmaster (in chess and solving) Bojan Vučković, the Serbian champion once again.

Winners in Belgrade Bojan Vučković, Danila Pavlov & Marko Filipović 

This solving competition was a part of the program of the traditional Belgrade Problem Chess Festival revitalized after three years of the COVID break. With B Category for juniors, composing tournament and lectures, it was held in the Chess Club Beograd, on the top of the Football Stadium OFK Beograd. This is where all gatherings of Serbian chess problemists as well as literary evenings devoted to the great chess personalities and events, happen.

The week after, the 44th Lithuanian Chess Problem Solving Championship was held in Kėdainiai, a small town on the banks of the Nevėžis River. Over the last two decades, the championship constantly pulsates between the capital and the countryside, occasionally wandering into the bigger cities – Klaipėda and Kaunas. At the end of the last millennium, the representatives of Kėdainiai began to dominate and, not less than 17 times, became the individual national champions. Curiously, the solving event had the same surrounding as in Belgrade – in the administrative building of the local football club.

The fight between the two WSC leaders ended with Martynas‘ scoring his eighth national victory. One of the most titled participants of the World Solving Cup, he won this event in 2017/2018, took second place in 2018/2019, and came third three times. The record holder Vidmantas Satkus, 11-time Lithuanian champion, earned the bronze medal. The biggest surprise happened in the team competition, where the Vilnius II team (A.Mockus, K.Kuznecovas and V.Paliulionis) ended the eternal rivalry between Vilnius and Kėdainiai main chess problem-solving teams.

Winners of the Lithuanian championship V. Satkus, M. Limontas and K. Kuznecovas with the arbiter R.Krolikowski | Photo: Vilimantas Satkus 

With the 16th European Chess Solving Championship ready to begin, the 31st Slovak Championship in Bratislava was of special importance as it served as a preparation stage for the solving hot team and the organizing squad. 

Among several parallel competitions, the Blind Solving was an interesting novelty in the 16th ECSC program. Using only the notation of the given problems, the top-rated Slovak GM Jerguš Pecháč dominated, the same as in Quick Solving where the shortest problems in 2 moves are presented on a big screen, one by one.

Blind Solving in Bratislava: the arbiter Ľubomír Širáň, Marek Kolčák (3rd place), the winner Jerguš Pecháč and Stasys Steponavičius (2nd place) | Photo Richard Dobiáš 

Although GM Jerguš Pecháč made his debut in a rated solving competition, he did very well in the 31st Slovak Championship, too. Only because of rushing during the moremovers round, when he spent only 30 out of 80 minutes, he missed the 3rd place. The tourney ended with the first out of three consecutive WSC wins for Kevinas Kuznecovas, ahead of Slovaks Tomáš Peitl, Marek Kolčák and Richard Dobiáš.

The main ECSC organizer Marek Kolčák has taken part in all 31 Slovak championships and holds the record with 9 national titles, 11 silver medals and 5 bronze ones. He made it to the podium again, despite all the demanding organizing work this year.

The final of the Winton British Chess Solving Championship 2022/23 was organized at Nottingham High School and had a very special atmosphere. The second back-to-back win by Kevinas Kuznecovas hardly surprised anyone, but the way he did it was really impressive. David Hodge was the first recipient of the Paul Valois Trophy, for the best British solver, presented by Paul’s sister Andrea Holt. The former World Champion in solving Jonathan Mestel finished only one point behind him, and the bronze went to  Kamila Hryshchenko.

David Hodge became the first recipient of the Paul Valois Trophy

Text: Marjan Kovačević, WFCC President

Official website: WFCC – World Federation for Chess Composition