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Dr. Ds Check-up Print E-mail
By Steven Dowd   
March 14, 2007

by Dr. Steven B. Dowd

The Other Fritz

Some business items first: thanks to all my well-wishers amongst the solvers who helped me get well with their positive attitude while I was one of the sufferers of the "peanut butter salmonella" last month. Also, I have started a supplement to the column for those who want or need a weekly problem "fix" at chessproblem.net, a wonderful site run by Alexander George. It is called, of course, Dr. D’s Problem of the Week, and answers count toward ladder points. It is also a great place to drop in and ask questions – many of the world’s best composers “hang out” there.
This new feature has allowed me to also determine the number of points needed for an ascent on the “new” ladder – from the beginning of my column, it will be 400 points. That includes any left-over points you may have had on David’s ladder, so be sure, if you think you have earned an ascent at any time, and I don’t tell you that you have when I answer your mails, don’t hesitate to speak out!

As I noted, book prizes are going to go to solvers who participate in the bonus, and the prizes for the previous two competitions will be in the form of $10 gift certificates to the USCF store – the previous two winners will be notified early next week, to those solvers, and the future winners, have fun! Again, 70% or more on the bonus – and I am a lenient grader, so please try! – qualifies you for the drawing.
This week I want to feature a problemist that I think of as the German Sam Loyd – Fritz Giegold, who lived from 1903 to 1978, and was a much beloved composer in Germany. His problems were popular amongst those who didn’t like problems, normally, as they had optical appeal and often featured sacrifices.

Next month we’ll feature “Ole Sam,” as I like to call him, and that isn’t a royal “we,” instead solver Gary Kevin Ware has stepped in to co-author with me, a column of Loyd fixes to some of his problems that had great ideas but turned out to be cooked. In the computer age, this isn’t too hard, and many of these “busted” problems deserve to be shown as Loyd intended!

Giegold could compose modern problems with the best of them, but his “smaller” efforts, often featured in newspaper chess columns, were what gave him his great popularity. He is less known in other countries for this reason – that his most popular problems didn’t appear in the big chess magazines.

So if you never have been entertained by “the other Fritz” before, this column is designed for that – pure entertainment and solving pleasure. Many Giegold problems only show one or two lines, which would not be seen favorably today; however, that one line is often so bizarrely beautiful in its execuction!

The basic idea I have for the column is to alternate between “serious” problems – as in the British Invasion piece, and those that are more puzzle-like in their approach, so serious solvers who love thematic pieces, don’t worry, we’ll return to those soon! Computers, as always, are not allowed in the solving competition, and anyone who does is not only cheating, but robbing themselves of the pure fun of trying to solve these gems. So no fair using Fritz to solve Fritz!

Twentyseven (27) points for the ladder are available; remember, I only need the key for that! Submit your solutions to [email protected]. Solutions to this column will be published at the end of this article on April 2, so get your answers to me before that.

Fritz Giegold
Kristall 1962

White to play and mate in 2

The two-mover was never Giegold’s best domain, he shined in the 3 and 4 move genre, with his combinative-like problems, but I can’t help but enjoy this gem. Bonus – placing the WQ anywhere else on the diagonal (for example, h1) leads to what cook here?

Fritz Giegold
Die Stern 1965

White to play and mate in 3

Here is where the master begins to shine. For a clue, long-time Chess Life readers will realize that both problems 1 and 2 would be a favorite of the popular writer Jerry Hanken! Bonus – In the two main lines of this problem, white mates from which square ?

Fritz Giegold
Oberoesterreichische Nachrichten 1962

White to play and mate in 3

No less than three pieces are sacrificed in the various lines here. For the bonus, however, a more technical question: A drawback in this sparkler is that the defense after the key 1. … Rh4 leads to a short mate, what is that mate?

Fritz Giegold
Die Stern 1978

White to play and mate in 3

I’ve often said that chess problemists live long lives, and have great productivity throughout their life. Not to be morbid, but this shows that even in the year of his death, Giegold was still producing fun problems. And as was noted in a 1978 Schwalbe, the German problem magazine, Giegold published his first problem at the age of 13 (!). One thing that makes me compare him to Loyd, is like Loyd, he was a decent player, and followed no “school” but simply made his problems for maximum solver interest in a time when many more players were also solvers.

Fritz Giegold
DSB 1952, 2nd prize

White to play and mate in 3

This one won 2nd place in a problem competition sponsored by the Deutsche Schachbund, the German equivalent of the USCF. Just as Loyd was called the Puzzle King, Giegold earned a similar moniker in Germany – der Raetselonkel (“Puzzle Uncle” in direct translation; think of the beloved Uncle you had who did magic tricks to amuse you, and it will make a lot of sense! – or if you didn’t have one, TV sitcoms certainly are full of them!). The key is what makes this flow, it is puzzling until you get the point, after that it is easy. Bonus – what little trick on the second move here, a rule of chess that often baffles beginners to the game, makes everything work?

Fritz Giegold (v. Steven B. Dowd)
Die Stern 1967

White to play and mate in 4

Zugzwang, or move compulsion, was one of Giegold’s favorite themes in his problems and this is featured here. This, and the above were both used to show Giegold’s skill in the 1978 issue of Schwalbe that noted his death. However, as originally presented this was cooked; I added a black pawn on e6 to prevent the cook; however, for the bonus, two questions, since I think solvers derive maximum pleasure when they understand the construction of a problem: 1. What is the cook without the BPe6; and perhaps more difficult, 2. This problem can also be fixed by not adding the black pawn, but instead shifting what white piece, and to where?

Fritz Giegold
Die Welt 1956

White to play and mate in 4

In addition to zugzwang, Giegold often used a thematic (some would call it schematic, not seeing it as a true problem “theme”) device called Hinterstellung – placing behind. For the bonus, another thematic device we have spoken of before in this column is shown in one of the two mates – what is the name of this device?

Fritz Giegold
Solving Tournament of the Bavarian Broadcasting Company 1952
White to play and mate in 5

Zugzwang and Hinterstellung are also used here in our last Fritz. For the bonus, the white pawn on g3 prevents what short mate? Again, predicting how the mate will occur is baffling until you get it, then it looks simple. Although many would fuss at Giegold being a “true problemist,” I think, like Paul McCartney, that “silly little love songs” can be as much art as Mozart – just a different form of art!


1.Qd5+ Kxd5 2.Rb5# ; 1...Rxd5 2.Se4#; 1...Bxd5 2.Sxd3#. Each of the 3 captures of the queen results in a different self-block that leads to mate. Bonus: if the White queen were not on e4, 1. Se4+ cooks the problem.

002 1.Qh2 g2 2.Bb8+ Kxb6 3.Qg1# and if 1...gxh2 2.Bxh2 Kxb6 3.Bg1#, so the bonus should now be easy to see: two mates from the g1 square. This should start you off seeing how Giegold placed pawns strategically to achieve his bewildering sacrifices. And if the hint didn’t help, one of Jerry Hanken’s first and most popular Chess Life pieces was on “Parting with the Lady,” devoted to queen sacrifices, and he still makes occasional reference to that by showing games with queen sacrifices in his articles.

003 1.Bc6! d5 (or dxc6) 2.Kc2 Rg3 3.Bxd2# Even more spectacular is the continuation if black takes the knight: 1...Kxd3 2.Qe4+ Sxe4 3.Bb5# (switchback! – and the sacrifice of S and Q) Bonus: the one drawback here, which is forgiveable given the pyrotechnics, is the short mate after 1. … Rh4 2. Qf3#. You can’t have everything……

004 1.d4! threatens Qd3#, thus black must play either 1...c4 2.Qd2 c3 3.Qd3# (anyway!), or the variation I find the most pleasing, leading to two symmetrical mates: 1...cxd4 2.Qb4! Kxe5 3.Qe7# or if black takes the other knight, 2...Kxe3 3.Qe1#.

005 1.Bd4 Kxh4 2.f4 exf3 3.Bf6# if 1...Kh6 2.Ra5 Kh7 3.Rxh5#. Bonus: the trick is of course the en passant rule, which leads to the precise discovered mate of 3. Bf6, and I am sure we have all played beginners to whom the e.p. rule was hard to grasp!

006 1.Ra3 b4 2.Ra4 b3 3.Rh4 Kxh4 4.Sf3# , another one-liner but one that sacrifices a rook and relies on a pin you need to see – which is not all that easy! Bonus – without the black pawn e6, 1. Rc1 also leads to a mate in 4 with a push of the white e-pawn to e6 and after the forced capture, 4. Sxe6#. A more economical solution – the only one I see now, but others are perhaps possible, is placing the WR at b3, although then the possibility of the white rook coming to the first rank is excluded, and probably wouldn’t be the intended solution of the author. When fixing problems, this is an important consideration to remember.

007 1.Be1! Kb6 2.Bf2 Ka5 3.Kb7 Kb4 4.Be1# if 2...Ka7 3.Sc4! dxc4 4.d5#, and the reason for placing the bishop on f2 becomes clear. Bonus: the first variation shows a switchback of the white bishop for mate.

008 1.Bb1! b3 2.Qa1 d3 3.Ba2! bxa2 4.b4 cxb4 5.Bg7# Bonus: The White pawn on g3 prevents the short solution 1. Qd3, mating on h3 with the queen. Quite mundane, if allowed, in comparison to what white must do in the actual solution! If the battery mate came to you quickly, consider yourself a better solver than me!