26 December 2013

GM Benko's Last Column

In the December 2013 issue of Chess Life (CL), the column 'Endgame Lab / Instruction' announced,

After 45 years, GM Pal Benko has decided this is his last "Endgame Lab" column. We hope that his well-earned retirement is long and fulfilling.

A Benko column has appeared in CL for as long as I can remember. The Wikipedia page on Pal Benko informs,

Benko is a noted authority on the chess endgame. He had a column on endgames in Chess Life magazine, which is published by the United States Chess Federation, for decades: In the Arena (1972–1981), Endgame Lab (1981–2013), and chess problem column Benko's Bafflers. In 2003 he revised the classic book Basic Chess Endings, by Reuben Fine. In addition to his success as a player, Benko is a composer of endgame studies and chess problems. He was awarded the title of International Master of Chess Composition by FIDE.

I am certain that Benko's Bafflers started before 1972, a fact confirmed last year in USchess.org's 45 Years of Bafflers: A Magazine Preview:-

In the April [2012] Chess Life, arriving in your mailbox soon and available online now, Dr. Steven Dowd celebrates the 45th anniversary of GM Pal Benko's "Benko's Bafflers." [...] For a blast from the past, read Benko's first column from April 1967, available for PDF download.

GM Benko's last CL column was titled 'The Secrets of Study Composing' and started,

I am occasionally asked where I get my ideas for studies. For my last column, I thought it would be instructive to give my thoughts on this subject.

A two part article with similar content is available online from Chessbase.com: 'Pal Benko: Secrets of Study Composition', Part 1 and Part 2. Benko is one of those people who is easily taken for granted. I will miss his monthly column and would like to thank him for the many years of valuable chess instruction.

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