Selection of studies out of more than 200 composed by

Vitaly Halberstadt

(Ukraine, 20.3.1903 - 18.10.1967 France)

Articles about him: Vitaly Halberstadt and on Wikipedia.

Halberstadt (left) and Duchamp, Marcel 1887-1968

He was International Judge of the FIDE for chess compositions since 1957.

Also information in: Problem Forum 66

On the French Heritage website you may also find more info about him.

Books written by him:


(1932, with Duchamp)


Halberstadt is a very famous study composer. He got 33,33 points in the FIDE Album. 
About his life:
Halberstadt, son of the international lawyer Emmanuel Halberstadt, grew up as an only child. In 1905 or 1906 the Odessa family left Odessa for reasons that are no longer known and moved to the Russian capital of Saint Petersburg. It is possible that the pogrom in October 1905 was the trigger, in which at least 300 to 400 Jews were killed and as a result about 50,000 Jews left Odessa. Vitali Halberstadt received piano lessons in Saint Petersburg and remained a passionate piano player throughout his life. Presumably in 1919 the family left Soviet Russia and settled in Berlin, since Halberstadt's father Emmanuel, as a Menshevik, did not want to stay in Russia. Vitali Halberstadt, who spoke Russian, English and German at the time, completed his Abitur here. The early 1920s saw the family move to France. It is unclear whether the family initially lived in the south of France before moving to Paris. In 1935 he married Marie Lewitt, a Jekaterino woman who was one of five sisters in a large family. Marie Lewitt completed her PhD at Grenoble INP together with her older sister and twin sister. Lewitt's older sister was the founder of Mariac Enterprise, where the five sisters worked. Halberstadt himself first studied law in Paris and worked for Mattress Simmons before the Second World War.
From a census it is known that 33,600 Russians lived in Paris and the suburbs in 1936.
In February 1942, the marriage resulted in the daughter Tatiana. During a mass arrest under the Vichy regime in July 1942 at the Vélodrome d’Hiver, the French police arrested more than 13,000 Jews on orders from the Nazi German occupiers of France. Halberstadt's wife, daughter and mother were imprisoned. A gracious French police officer made it possible for the wife and daughter to escape through a back door, but Halberstadt's mother was deported to Auschwitz, where she died in 1943.
After the mass arrest, Vitali Halberstadt and his wife lived under a false identity in Bagneux, while their daughter was housed with a foster family in Poitoi. In 1944 their son Emmanuel was born, who also spent the first few months with the foster family. It was only possible to return to Paris after the end of the war.
In 1957 Halberstadt and his wife took on French citizenship, which may have been required for the 1958 congress of the PCCC World Chess Composition Association in Piran in 1958. Besides chess, Halberstadt had many other intellectual interests in the field of art. So he was interested in philosophy, literature and painting. Halberstadt also had contacts to important and well-known people of French culture and chess.
On Christmas Day 1961, Halberstadt's wife Marie was killed in a taxi accident and their son Emmanuel was seriously injured. Affected by this, Halberstadt gave up the game of chess and, at the offer of a sister-in-law in worsening health, worked as general secretary for Etablissements Mariac.
On October 18, 1967, he suffered a fatal heart attack. Halberstadt's date of death is usually given incorrectly in the literature, so the information given on October 8 or 25 is to be found. In the summer of 2014, however, Halberstadt's children made it clear in an email conversation with Alain Pallier that October 18, 1967 was correct. [1] Halberstadt's grave is in the Auteuil cemetery in Paris.
Chess player and chess composer
Halberstadt also achieved success in practical chess in his younger years. In 1925 he won the championship of Paris with Abraham Baratz, tied on points. In January 1926 he first took part in Hyères, where he finished in midfield, but had defeated David Janowski. Then he was split first in Paris at the Cercle Philidor. Halberstadt stayed in Nice for two short tournaments in August and September, where he won the first tournament and finished second in the second. He could not maintain this form, although he also achieved decent results at later city championships and French tournaments, for example in 1928 in Hyères he was joint tournament winner with Marcel Duchamp and John O’Hanlon. In total, Halberstadt took part in the Paris championship eleven times from 1925 to 1935.
Since 1924 he has authored more than two hundred studies, 19 of which were included on the FIDE album. His first study appeared in Marseille in 1925. [2] In 1957 Halberstadt became the international arbitrator for chess compositions. Together with his friend, the famous artist Marcel Duchamp, who, as mentioned, was also a strong chess player, Halberstadt wrote a book on pawn endgame studies in three languages, whose French title is L'Opposition et les cases conjugées sont réconciliées. The manuscript was probably initially rejected and finally published by Edmond Lancel in June 1932 at Éditions de l'Échiquier in an edition of one thousand copies. In addition, Halberstadt wrote various chess columns, was a founding member of the Union des Problémistes de France and an active propagandist for the art of chess.
At the PCCC congress in Piran in 1958, Halberstadt became a member of the sub-commission for chess studies with Harold Lommer and Alexander Kazantsev. 
About his style:
Like André Chéron, Halberstadt preferred analytical studies; he rarely worked in the romantic style.  He was the editor of the study section in the chess magazine Thèmes-64. In 1954 he published a collection of his studies in Paris. It comprised 77 of his works.
A study by Vitaly Halberstadt is explained from Armenien Explorer ( "Suren"):

(All his studies, more exact dates, possible corrections or cooks and exact details about sources can be found in the

Harold van der Heijden (HHdbVI))