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]

In 1925, Halberstadt shared 1st with Abraham Baratz in the 1st Paris City Chess Championship,[2] tied for 5-6th in the 2nd Paris-ch 1926 (Leon Schwartzmann won), tied for 5-6th at Hyères 1926 (Baratz won),[3] shared 1st with Peter Potemkine at Paris 1926, tied for 5-7th in the 3rd Paris-ch 1927 (Baratz won), tied for 10-11th in the 4th Paris-ch 1928 (Baratz won), tied for 1st-3rd with Marcel Duchamp and J.J. O'Hanlon at Hyères 1928, took 8th in the 6th Paris-ch 1930 (Josef Cukierman won), took 6th in the 7th Paris-ch 1931 (Eugene Znosko-Borovsky won), took 3rd in the 8th Paris-ch 1932 (Oscar Blum won), and took 9th at Paris 1938 (L'Echiquier, Baldur Hoenlinger won).[4]


In 1932, he 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.[5] 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.[6] This concept has established a figure of immobilized reversibility between two subjective positions and two players.[6] Within a condition where only two kings remain,[7] 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.[8]

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


  1. ^ "Halberstadt".
  2. ^ "CHAMP PARIS".
  3. ^ Archived 2008-04-23 at the Wayback Machine Britbase
  4. ^ "Amsterdam (NED-ch10th) 1938". Archived from the original on 2010-12-15. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
  5. ^ Art, Philadelphia Museum of. "Philadelphia Museum of Art - Archives : Finding Aids".
  6. ^ a b Joselit, David (2001). Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp, 1910-1941. Cambridge: MIT Press. p. 174. ISBN 9780262600385.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ McEvilley, Thomas (1999). Sculpture in the Age of Doubt. New York: Allworth Press. p. 56. ISBN 1581150237.

External links[edit]