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45 Years of Bafflers: A Magazine Preview Print E-mail
By Dr. Steven Dowd   
April 2, 2012
In the April 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." Here is a preview of what you can expect in the article with a section that didn't make it into the main article.

For a blast from the past, read Benko's first column from April 1967, available for pdf download at (page 1) and (page 2). Check this article next week for solutions.

Victor Baja

Victor Baja was a much-feared master in California who appears to not play much these days.  He is one of those player-composers who also is not so well-known, although he produced many interesting works, especially as a teen-ager, for Benko. In fact, I have not seen any of his compositions outside of the Bafflers, which is a bit of a shame, since I think he could have easily matured into a world-class composer. He also started composing as a teenager.  This one, published when he was twenty-one, is one of my guilty favorites. Given as a "to win" study, it actually is a mate in six.

Victor Baja
Benko's Bafflers 1980
White to Play and Win

Benko1.jpg
Black is about to queen. Isn't White lost?

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His all-time favorite study of mine is the following. I have always liked studies where there is an imbalance of material, here White pieces fighting a Black queen. Baja was still a teenager when he composed this.
Victor Baja
Benko's Bafflers 1980
White to Play and Win

Benko2.jpg
Here White is slightly ahead in material, but how does he win? By giving up his two most powerful pieces!

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Finally, a directmate that appeared the same year.

White to Play and Mate in Two

Benko3.jpg

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Find the article in the pdf viewer for April's Chess Life Magazine and look for more from Dr. Dowd later this month on CLO.
 
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