Uri Avner (1941-2014)

Terrible news of Uri Avner's death has reached the world of chess composition mostly by surprise. Besides being the president of the international organization of chess problems from 2006 to 2010 and grandmaster for chess compositions, Uri Avner was also a very active participant of chess composition meetings around the globe. He went regularly to Marianka and every year he claimed to come the next year too. It is sad that he was wrong last year...

Short obituaries appeared e.g. at Julia's Fairies as well as Jewish Chess History, so here I am going to concentrate on some of his highly awarded compositions in various genres. Of course, you can find already much more under A in the CCM index of authors.
Uri Avner
1st Prize Springaren 1993

1...Kxe6 2.Qd7#
1...Qxe6 2.Se3#

1.Qa2? th. 2.Sd6#
1...Kxe6 2.Se3#
1...Qxe6 2.Qf2#

1.Sf4! th. 2.Se3#
1...Kxf4 2.Sd6#
1...Qxf4 2.Qd7#

Impressive play well using space of the board. I especially like D-O echo of lines between try and solution, with threat cutting vital lines of the same Rd3. Just the refutation of 1.Qa2? is probably unacceptable for some experts.

#2 (11+7)

Uri Avner
1st Place Israel - Serbia 2009

1.S5xe4? th. 2.Qg5#
1...Bxe4 2.Bg5#
1...Qxf6 2.Qxf6#
1...Sxe4 2.Sxe2#

1.Sh7? th. 2.g5#
1...Sxg3 2.Qg5#
1...Be6 2.Bg5#
1...g5 2.Sh5#

1.Sxf7! th. 2.Bg5#
1...Qxf6 2.g5#
1...Sc~ 2.Sxe2#
1...Qh5 2.gxh5#
1...Qxh4,Qh6 2.axb8=Q#

Difficult theme of the match (mates on the same square by different units) is shown in three phases. Keys vacate g5 and always have additional motifs making choice of the three possible threats, one other mate then shows in variations.

#2 (12+10)

Uri Avner
4th Prize MatPlus.Net-5 JT 2011-12

a) 1.Rxa4 Qa8 2.Rd4 Bb2#

b) 1.Rxg5 Qh6 2.Rg7 Rb2#

Magic of indirect halfbatteries is shown with one of my favourite twinning methods - exchange of two pieces that do not move during solutions (see the 10th TT CCM). Black rooks open bend lines of wQ twice, including annihilation of wPs. The play is finished by model mates on the same square.

h#2 (10+9)
b) a1 «-» b1

Uri Avner
1st Prize Israel Ring Tourney 2003

1.Sge5 Qg1 2.Rb5 Kxh2#

1.Sge7 Qg2 2.Qd8 Kxh3#

White royal battery is fired on the g-file. It can be checkmate only if bS cannot return to this line and if black pawns cannot capture the checking queen. Thus the pawns must be liquidated by wK and in turn black line movers Rb2/Qd7 must unguard h2/h3. As a result we get unpin-pin manoeuvre on two lines with precise hideaways of Rb2/Qd7.

h#2 (10+11)

Uri Avner
1st Prize J. Figueiredo-90 & M. Figueiredo-60 MT 2010-11

a) 1.Sc3 Sa4+ 2.Sd5+ Sc3#

b) 1.Sd6 Sb7+ 2.Sf5+ Sd6#

Finely motivated captureless pursuit of knights in both solutions. Although two of pins are static (these of Bb4 and Qc6), the final triple-pin checkmates make an appropriate finish of the cross-check affair.

h#2 (11+10)
b) c1 -» f8

Uri Avner
1st Prize The Problemist 1992

1.Qc8! th. 2.Qxc5+ Kxc5 3.Rc8+ Kd4 4.Sc6+ Kc5 5.Scb4+ Kd4 6.Sc2+ Rxc2#
1...Sf6 2.Be5+ Kxe5 3.Rxg5+ Kd4 4.Sf5+ Ke5 5.Sxg3+ Kd4 6.Se2+ Rxe2#
1...Bxe7 2.Rxd5+ Kxd5 3.Qf5+ Kd4 4.Be5+ Kd5 5.Bxg3+ Kd4 6.Bf2+ Rxf2#

Uri Avner was a master of selfmates and the present is just one example of his mastery. Very airy position after the key with white officers on edge of the board or almost there, wK near center, sacrifices and wealth of batteries created and fired during play.

s#6 (10+11)

Uri Avner
1st Prize 6th Sake, Eretria 2005

1.Rd2! th. 2.Bh3+ gxh4#
1...Sxf6 2.Qa6+ Rxa7#
1...Sh6 2.Sc3+ Sxd2#
1...Sf8 2.Se3+ Kf3#

Annan chess is slightly difficult to grasp, for me and for some other fairy chess lovers.

Here the key and threat use it fully - Rd1 rookizes bishop that in turn bishopizes Ph4, that must be captured by knighted Pg6, firing a battery. Sg7 defends by moving anywhere, neutralizing pawn battery in the process.

Move to f6 creates special battery, fired by moving Rf7 away. Move to h6 creates attack on d2. And move to f8 guards d6 and g5 by knighted Rf7, thus White can knight even his own king.

Although the variations are not unified, the whole play is very specific and pleasant.

s#2 (12+11)
Annan chess

Uri Avner
2nd Place TT Nunspeet 2006

1.Rg7! zz
1...Ra8 2.dxe8=B(Bf1)+ Kxe8 3.bxa8=R(Rh1)+ Bxg2(Sc8)#
1...Rb8 2.dxe8=Q(Bd1)+ Kxe8 3.axb8=R(Ra1)+ Bxc2(Bc8)#
1...Bxd7 2.Rh7! th. 3.Rxh8(Sa1)+ Sxc2(Bg8)#

The main point of this Couscous Circe problem is a creation of batteries on the first rank. The first moves of Rc8 determine the square where the black rook would be reborn (h1/a1) and in turn also the square where Be8 should ne reborn (f1/d1). The additional variation has a special touch of inevitability with its quiet 2.Rh7.

s#3 (13+10)
Couscous Circe

Uri Avner
1st Prize TT Messigny 2008

1.Qe3! th. 2.Qxe4 Sxe4(Qd1)#
1...Sd1 2.Qxb3(Ra8)+ Kxb3#
1...Sa2 2.Rxa5(a7) Kxa5(Ra1)#
1...Se2 2.Bxb5(b7) Kxb5(Bf1)#
1...Sb1 2.Sxa4 Kxa4#

Demi-wheel of Sc4 is motivated by need to withdraw from e4, where the knight plays in the threat. The variations form two pairs based on the defences' errors: 1...Sa2 and 1...Sb1 avoid guarding of Qa3 by possibly reborn white pieces, while 1...Sd1 and 1...Se2 allow captures by bK.

r#2 (12+12)

Comments to Juraj Lörinc.
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