The Study of the year 2013.
The endgame study committee of the World Federation for Chess Composition traditionally selects the Study of the Year. It is not a selection of the best study of the year, but the study is best suited to popularize our art in the general chess world.
The late IuriAkobia hosted the tourney on his website (with the deadline of December 1st, 2013) and also acted as tourney director, but when he passed away early November something had to be done. The Dutch/Flemish endgame study society (Alexander RuebVerenigingvoorEindspelstudie, ARVES) kindly offered to host the selection on its website (www.arves.org), and I volunteered to be tourney director. The endgame study committee members agreed and accepted the new deadline of January 1st, 2015. The judges then had to submit their scores (0-4 with 0.5 increments) before February 1st.
Some composers were unhappy with the rule that a maximum of two studies were allowed, and that they would have to negotiate themselves with the co-authors of joint studies which study to submit. This is somewhat curious as last year only a single study was allowed for each composer. I had to exclude one study because it was published in 2014 as a version of a 2013 study. The announcement explicitly stated that the Study of the Year 2013 (SOY2013) has to be published during 2013. Another study was added later because I overlooked it in the myriad of e-mails discussing the maximum number of studies allowed, and was indeed submitted before the deadline.
The judges (all members of the endgame study committee) were David Gurgenidze (Georgia), Oleg Pervakov (Russia), GadyCosteff (USA/Israel), IlhamAliev (Azerbaijan) and Harold van der Heijden (the Netherlands). YochananAfek (the Netherlands/Israel) acted as reserve judge and judged 3 studies submitted by one of the other judges.
In total 33 studies were accepted and judged for the SOY 2013 selection. When this would have been a standard tourney, the judge would have considered the level as extremely high. But still not all composers submitting studies seem to understand that the SOY has to be a study that appeals to a general chess public. That means that it should be solver friendly, and have clear points, surprise elements, etcetera. By the way, such elements are also appreciated by endgame study experts, so certainly sometimes the SOY could well be the best study of the year!
All studies and the score by each judge are available on the website. The reserve judge supplied the scores for study 8, 22 and 23. This report is final.
Dr. Harold van der Heijden (the Netherlands)
Spokesman of the Endgame Study Committee of the WFCC
Tourney director of SOY 2013
February 13, 2015
The report: PDF
And the winner is: