Friday, January 27, 2017

Self Forks

Children grow up fast. Last month I bought already the 3rd bike for both my children. Funny I never bought a new bike for myself. Today I use the city-bike of my late mother and before I biked 20 years on the dismissed one of my dad. Despite lacking luxury I always liked to bike a lot. From the moment it becomes warmer, I bike every day to my work which is there and back nevertheless more than an hour/ 22 km biking.

20 years younger I even used such city-bike to do quite some distances. I remember that I more than once biked from Roeselare to Bruges and back which is nonetheless 70km. In Bruges I visited the chessclub still located in the center (Beenhouwerstraat ?). It was the first time that I met a still very young Steven Geirnaert following lessons given by Walter Kardinaal. Next I also almost always visited the problemist Sylvain Kellner at that time still living in the center of Bruges. I composed some problems myself (see e.g chesscompositions) and he always had something interesting to share.

I wrote for many years every month to Sylvain via the ladder match in the column for problemists published at the clubmagazine of Bruges. Unfortunately I lost contact with him. First he moved out of Bruges to the nearby village Assebroek but we stopped corresponding after the board of the club of Bruges decided to forbid non-club members to take a subscription at their club-magazine. In the meanwhile I already was playing for Deurne so some people found it inappropriate that a competitor for their first team could read their club-magazine. Briefly this was a kind of password avant la lettre (see this blogarticle).

I don't know if Sylvain is still alive as I guess he must be otherwise already above 90 years old (somebody knows something more?) but I remember the most his impressive collections of peculiar problems. He called it  his rariteitenkabinet (collection of curiosities). I suspect some of the problems published on this blog like Excelsior can be found in his collection too.

Today I play almost exclusively standard chess but I never lost my interest for curiosities. Last I encountered a very strange theme self-forks in one of my games. My opponent Frederic Decoster (playing coincidentally for Bruges) produced a fantastic idea in our game played at Leuven attracting a number of kibitzers around our board.

It is pity that this well played game was destroyed at the end by both players running out of time otherwise this self-fork would have got more attention.

After the game I looked for similar examples from standard practice. I learned there exists different types of self-forks. Frederics is one in which you provoke the fork but it also possible that you put the pieces yourself in a fork. Some readers will for sure recognize the high-level game below played a few years ago.

Less known but definitely as cute is the game played at pokerstars isle of man international chesstournament 2015. Here there was no preparation/ opening-knowledge at all involved.

A wonderful collection of all kind of self-forks from standard games can be found on the site I fork myself, or let the the fork happen.

All examples in this article are about a pawn giving a useless fork. Now I wonder if this is also possible with other pieces. Likely except knights we have to call it rather double attacks instead of forks.

Brabo

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