Vitaly Halberstadt

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Vitaly Halberstadt

Vitaly Halberstadt (20 March 1903, Odessa – 25 October 1967, Paris) was a French chess player, theorist, tactician, problemist, and, above all, a noted endgame study composer.[1]

Born in Odessa, in the Kherson Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine), he emigrated to France after the Russian Civil War.

Chess games[edit]

Chess games during Halberstadt's career[2]
Year Placement Competition or location Victor of year
1925 1st place (shared with Abraham Baratz) Paris City Chess Championship Halberstadt and Baratz
1926 2nd place Leon Schwartzmann
5-6th places Hyères Abraham Baratz
1st place (shared with Peter Potemkine) Paris Halberstadt and Potemkine
1927 5-7th places Paris City Chess Championship Abraham Baratz
1928 10-11th places
1st-3rd places (tied with Marcel Duchamp and J.J. O'Hanlon) Hyères Halberstadt, Duchamp and O'Hanlon
1930 8th place Paris City Chess Championship Josef Cukierman
1931 6th place Eugene Znosko-Borovsky
1932 3rd place Oscar Blum
1938 9th Paris (L'Echiquier) Baldur Hoenlinger


In 1932, Halberstadt published with Marcel Duchamp "L'Opposition et les cases conjugées sont réconciliées", a chess manual dedicated to several special end-game problems, for which Duchamp designed the layout and cover.[3] In this book, Duchamp and Halberstadt addressed the complication of the so-called "heterodox opposition", which is a precisely organized endgame that involved two kings and a handful of pawns.[4] This concept has established a figure of immobilized reversibility between two subjective positions and two players.[4] Within a condition where only two kings remain,[5] the duo described the move in the following manner:

The king 'may act in such a way as to suggest he has completely lost interest in winning the game. Then the other king, if he is a true sovereign, can give the appearance of being even less interested.' Until one of them provokes the other into a blunder.[6]

Halberstadt was also the author of "Curiosités tactiques des finales" (1954).


  1. ^ "Halberstadt".
  2. ^ "Amsterdam (NED-ch10th) 1938". Archived from the original on 2010-12-15. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
  3. ^ Art, Philadelphia Museum of. "Philadelphia Museum of Art - Archives : Finding Aids".
  4. ^ a b Joselit, David (2001). Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp, 1910-1941. Cambridge: MIT Press. p. 174. ISBN 9780262600385.
  5. ^ Witham, Larry (2013). Picasso and the Chess Player: Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and the Battle for the Soul of Modern Art. Hanover: UPNE. p. 327. ISBN 9781611682533.
  6. ^ McEvilley, Thomas (1999). Sculpture in the Age of Doubt. New York: Allworth Press. pp. 56. ISBN 1581150237.

External links[edit]