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Aron Zlobinskiy

Position of the Century

December 3, 2003

The first time I saw this position by the Dutch genius Tony Sijbrands was in 1987 in the city of Yurmala (Latvia) during the session at the Grandmaster School conducted by grandmasters Vladimir Vigman and Alexander Mogiliansky, where I brought my students.

Grandmaster Mogiliansky called the position on the right the "Position of the Century". Perhaps he was correct. I do not wish to torment you with a test, and am going to show the solution, but... you can try to solve it on your own without getting any clues.

But don't get too upset if you fail - neither some World Champions (I promised to keep the names in secret) nor some of the best computer programs like Dam or Truus - could solve it.

T. Sijbrands
Solution to "Position of the Century"

Let's look again at the diagram.
Taking into consideration many "holes" in the black's position, T. Sijbrands invented an original plan, with the main idea to prevent the 18-23 exchange. White pitch a checker and then make a "quiet" move!
1.37-31! 27:36 2.35-30!!
Brilliant and unorthodox beginning! Nothing can stop the coming firestorm, even while giving the opponent the right to move and the ability to win another checker via 2... 20-24 3.29:20 15:35. On that follows:
4.26-21 16:27 5.38-32! 27:38 6.39-33 38:29 7.34:3x.
2... 19-23 is met by:
3.29-24! 20:29 4.47-42! 36:47 5.42-37 47:33 6.39:28x.
Villem Lüüs from Tallinn, Estonia discovered a fantastic shot on
2...12-17 (we originally quoted a general win after 29-24):
3.47-42 36:47 4.29-24 20:29 5.34:03 25:32 6.03:43! 47:50
7.49-44!! 50:33 (or 28) 8.26-21 16:27 9.43:38x.

After the publishing of this shot Mr. Zlobinskiy recalled that it was in fact a part of the original solution - he just forgot it.
Nevertheless we give credit to our Estonian friend for his independent discovery.

Both of the 2... 4-10 and 2...5-10 (expecting 3.29-24) are met with:
3.26-21 16:27 4.38-32 27:38 5.29-24 20-29 6.34:3 25:43 7.3:42x.

Strangely, the best defense is after 2....22-27 but still white win after 3.29-24.
And now, the main line with 2...9-14 that seems to close the holes - but it is met with the eleven! moves bombardment!

2... 9-14 3.30-24! 19:30 4.47-42 36:47 5.42-37! 47:24 6.26-21! 16:27 7.37-32! 27:38 8.34-29! 24:33 9.39:10 5:14 10.49-43! 38:49 11.40-35 49:40 12.35:24 20:29 13.45:01x.
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