Problem Potpourri
By Gary Kevin Ware   
December 17, 2008
Before presenting and explaining 20 holiday problems, I have a few announcements to make. If you can't wait for my bi-monthly CLO articles, I'm happy to announce that Gary's Gems has launched on chessproblem.net. Please bookmark it. I will also keep you updated on the top scorers on my bimonthly CLO articles- scroll down for standings up to the 41st ladder*. You can check chessproblem.net for more updated standings.

Those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas know, even after a large turkey dinner, there are usually still a large number of leftovers. Well, the same is the case after my article, 64 Square Problem Tour . I stated, in that article, that unlike Bart Gibbons' excellent article, 64 Square Tour, I was not going to include alternate positions in that article, but was going to present them in a future article. Well, here is that article. Financial factors inhibited me from including in the original article some of the problems presented here. I had previously sold a lot of my chess books, including ones on chess problems. When I started contributing regularly to CLO, I went about reacquiring all my old chess problems books, along with new ones that I had never read before. During the interval between beginning that article and its publication, to the chagrin of my editor, Jennifer Shahade, upon seeing new and better problems, I would submit them as alternates to her. Also, Jennifer initially wanted me to have more endgame studies instead of directmates but when she saw the impracticality of that, I substituted more directmates. Some of the problems presented here are ones that I discovered after the first article but most of them just didn't quite make the 'cut' for the last article because I was constrained to one problem a square.

In Alain C. White's Sam Loyd and His Chess Problems, I first read about Reverend Loveday's Indian Theme problem, c1 in the 64 Square Problem Tour. Sam Loyd described the Indian theme as: "first, the withdrawal of a piece, the critical move; second, its ambush to prevent a stalemate; and, finally, the mate." Sam Loyd thought, "that by the skillful use of the pieces, it would not be a difficult matter to illustrate how half-a-dozen little Indians might dwell harmoniously in the one wigwam."  Although Double Indians exist galore, and (Wolfgang) Pauly has succeeded in getting a three-fold combination, Loyd's "half-dozen Indians in one wigwam" are still in the remote future, and even the four-fold Indian appears well-nigh impossible, since we no longer have Loyd to show us how it is done. I had been trying to find Wolfgang Pauly's Triple Indian, and only recently did I finally find it online. In the age of the Internet there are numerous resources for the chess player and chess problemist, including e-books of numerous classic books that are now in the public domain. If I had had Pauly's Triple Indian, at that time, I certainly would have given it preference over a 'mere' Double Indian by P. A. Boorer at H8.

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Wolfgang Pauly Chemnitzer Day Sheet 1925,
 White to Mate in Five


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Now, here are a couple more problems that I could have easily used for H8, if not for my affection for the Indian Theme.

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D. Joseph British Chess Magazine 1922,
White to Play and Win


  In John Rice's Chess Wizardry: The New ABC of Chess Problems, he says that this position is not strictly a chess problem. It is a composed position but the stipulation, "White to play and win" means that it is an endgame study. As Jennifer Shahade said in her blog, Jen on Problems, 9 Queens and a Study , an endgame study's first move,   is not necessarily the most important move.

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Leon-Martin 1930,
 White to Mate in 3


 

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In my original article, I tried to show a lot of problems that were pioneers in various tasks and themes. An excellent book  that I have found since then, 100 Classics of the Chessboard by A.S.M. Dickins and H. Ebert, has many excellent problems including some pioneering ones. It not only has directmates but also has famous games, endgame studies and unorthodox problems such as helpmates. The title is a bit deceiving; there are actually more than 100 positions since some of the 'chapters' have supplemental positions.

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Frank Healey Bristol Tourney 1861 1st Prize,
White to Mate in 3

 


This original Bristol Clearance is not named after anyone named Bristol but after the problem tourney to which it was submitted and won first prize. In the Bristol Clearance, a piece is moved along a line, clearing the way so that another line-piece may follow.

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Walter Grimshaw Illustrated London News 1850,
White to Mate in 5


 Grimshaw interference shows reciprocal interference between a Rook and a Bishop. This original Grimshaw is named after its composer, Walter Grimshaw (1832-1890).

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Walter von Holzhausen Deutsches Wochenschach 1908, White to Mate in 4

This is the original Holzhausen Theme, a term used to denote interference between pieces with the same movements, Rook and Rook, Queen and Rook or Queen and Bishop, but without the sacrifice of a blocking piece on the cutting-point square, as in the Plachutta theme (see F3, 64 Square Problem Tour). Here, the cutting-point is f5, controlled by both Black Rooks.

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Also in F3, 64 Square Problem Tour , I mentioned that Sam Loyd had anticipated Joseph Plachutta's Plachutta Theme. Possibly because Plachutta's problem, being published in Europe, may have attracted more attention than Loyd's earlier rendering of the theme, the mutual interference came to be known as Plachutta interference. Loyd's problem shows mutual interference between the Black Rooks.
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Sam Loyd Chess Monthly November, 1857 White to Mate in 4

 

 


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For H4 in the 64 Square Problem Tour , I showed Yarosh's pioneer problem for the Babson Task, as a direct mate. Since captures are frowned upon as key moves, Yarosh slightly modified his problem  a few months later to show a non-capture, and even more spectacular key.

Joseph Ney Babson, inspired by Alain C. White's The Theory of Pawn Promotion (1912) formulated the task, in each of four variations, different promotions by one side, usually Black, are answered by similar promotions by the other side, a reciprocal omni-promotion or in German, Allumwandlung which is the source of the acronym AUW. In 1914, Babson, using three White pawns, achieved the task, but only as a self-mate. Subsequent improvements were made but for some 70 years, it had been thought that it might be impossible to achieve in a directmate until Soviet composer and football coach Leonid Yarosh achieved it in 1983.
 
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Leonid Yarosh Shakhmaty v SSSR 1983
White to Mate in 4


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Even great pioneering problems like Reverend Loveday's Indian Theme sometimes have forerunners.
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The Proto-Indian Adolf Anderssen Aufgaben 1842

 


Adolf Anderssen was a well-known problemist before he became the unofficial World Champion.

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In my original article, for the square B7, I highlighted Conrad Bayer's "Immortal Problem", in which White sacrifices 5 pieces and a pawn to mate with the lone pawn. Here is the "Immortal Endgame", composed by A.A. Troitsky, author of 360 Brilliant and Instructive Endgames.
 
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A.A. Troitzky 1879, White to Mate in 6


 

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In my original article, I featured some extremely old problems, the oldest being for H5 by Abun Naam c. 840AD. Originally, there was little differentiation between composed endgames and problems, and manuscript collections of these are known to have been made a thousand years ago. Even up to the last century, the solutions of a majority of these compositions consisted of a series of checking moves with many sacrifices of white pieces, which would be considered brilliant in a game. One of the manuscript collections of such early problems was made in the thirteenth century by a compiler who used the pseudonym, Bonus Socius. James F. Magee, Jr. (1867-1955), when in Florence, Italy, became acquainted with the Bonus Socius collection, a part of which he edited and published in a privately printed volume. This explains how Magee came to call his chess problem club the "Good Companions" (Bonus Socius).

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Bonus Socius Manuscript c. 1266,
 White to Mate in 2


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This maneuver has become known as the Bonus Socius Theme. Otto Wurzburg doubled the theme in the following problem.

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Otto Wurzburg The Pittsburgh Gazette-Times
February 17, 1918, White to Mate in 4



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Speaking of Otto Wurzburg, he had this to say about the following problem, "There are no less than twenty-six 'tries' that are defeated each by only one move of Black....This is probably a record seldom approached." The problem is a complete block with two added mates, mates not in the set play, made possible by the startling key. The composer, William Meredith, lent his name to a mate in two problem in which there are 8 to 12 men.

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William Meredith Dubuque Chess Journal
 
December, 1886,
White to Mate in 2


 

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Sladek 1955,
 White to Mate in 4

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Petrovic 1960
White to Mate in 4


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Kraemer 1948
White to Mate in 4

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The next problem is by John Brown (1827-1863), usually known as J.B. of Bridport to avoid confusion with John Brown of the Temple, another problemist active at the same time.

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J.B. of Bridport Chess Strategy, J.B. of Bridport 1865 White to Mate in 3

 

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Few white men, all of which take part, fewer white pawns, and elegant mates are all factors said to have influenced the founding of the Bohemian style.

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Johannes Kohtz and Carl Kockelkorn Deutsches Wochenschach 1905, White to Mate in 4


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The composers called this the Roman Theme in honor of Augusto Guglielmetti (1864-1936) of Rome, principal founder of the first Italian Chess Foundation. Decoy themes were known long before 1905, but publication of this problem greatly stimulated further developments. For more on the Roman Theme, see F2, 64 Square Problem Tour.

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Andre Cheron Journal de Geneve 1964,
White to Mate in 10


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Cheron composed both studies and problems, but above all he investigated the endgame. His four-volume treatise, Leehr-und Handbuch der Endspiele (1952-1971) was the culmination of many years of work.

For our last problem, here is one more by my favorite composer, Sam Loyd, but this one requires retrograde analysis to solve. A few retro-analytical problems were composed in the 1850s but there was little advance until Loyd made his Souvenir problem in 1894. It was the republication of this, in Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1907, that led to an extensive development of the art of retrograde analysis.

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Sam Loyd Souvenir Problem New York Chess Association 1894, White to Mate in Four

 

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For those of you interested in further pursuing the study of retroanalysis, I would recommend Raymond Smullyan's books, The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes and The Chess Mysteries of the Arabian Nights. This should keep you busy well into the New Year and my first column of 2009, which will go into greater detail on the Indian theme. Until, then you can always email me at garykevinware@yahoo.com.

*Here are the most up-to-date standings of the Active Solvers into 41st Ladder. My thanks to David Brown, former Key Krackers columnist, for sending them to me. Those with asterisks by their names are those who have taken advantage of my offer to update their scores through sending me a calculation or estimate of their scores during the Steven Dowd era. As you can see, not too many of you have done so, but the offer is still open. My e-mail address is garykevinware@yahoo.com. For those of you who are former solvers, but are not on the Active Solvers list, you can e-mail me for your score. If you have never solved, all you have to do to get on the Active Solvers list is to start solving! I will have 1-4 problems per week with the deadline being one week after they are posted and points rewarded based on how many moves that it takes to checkmate. One innovation that I liked from the Dr. Dowd era was the concept of bonus points. That would involve extra questions that further test your understanding of the concepts involved. Happy solving!

Active Solvers into 41st Ladder

Kenneth Davenport (M14) 284
D. Dana-Bashian (M14) 268
Matthew Dickey (M11) 563
Eugene Levin (M11) 539
Paul Birnbaum (M11) 336
*Barry Keith (M10) 540
Peter Szusz (M10) 0
Stanley Perlo (E8) 419
David Moulton (E8) 326
Paul Salem (E8) 325
Martin Lubell (E8) 183
Martin Moskowitz (E8) 142
Dailon Stauvers (E8) 64
Gabriel Balinth (E7) 522
Maurice Leysens (E7) 441
Anatoly Goldberg (E7) 362
*Dan Maxwell (E6) 321
Alex Markevitch (E6) 81
Mario Pachajoa (E5) 350
Renato Casalino (E5) 149
Albert Bobb (E5) 143
Yefim Treger (E5) 59
Fletcher Gross (E5) 0
*Gary Kevin Ware (E4) 604
Robin Taylor (E4) 45
Jose Antonio Pagan (E4) 0
Edward Boyle (E3) 528
Jacob Nemchenok (E3) 338
Ladislav Belcsak (E3) 332
Joseph Bohac (E3) 315
William Fraser (E3) 294
Frederick Kagan (E3) 276
T. Louis Meaker (E3) 259
Walter Anthony (E3) 250
David Robinson (E3) 158
Paul Steiner (E3) 156
Jerry De Gattis (E3) 125
Terry McManus (E3) 69
Ricky Shepherd (E3) 45
David Funston (E3) 11
Robert J. Williams (E3) 0
Peter Chicarello (2) 476
Yutaka Satoh (2) 438
Alan Bishop (2) 333
Christopher Myers (2) 306
Frank Lee (2) 272
John Carson (2) 93
Kerry M. Redinger (2) 86
Harry Ryklewitz (2) 26
Mark Baranowski (1) 528
Thomas Cunningham (1) 473
Dave Wolz (1) 292
J. Schindler (1) 262
Ray Tomanek (1) 252
David Lenhart (1) 247
Ernest Hunt (1) 185
Theran Huntley (1) 181
Doug Reynolds (1) 179
Andy Forster (1) 165
Thomas Clark (1) 162
John Mogler (1) 115
Joseph R. Kazimir (1) 111
Francisco Solis (1) 70
Jaroslaw Czypinski (1) 67
Matthew Crane (1) 47
Clemons + Ferrell (1) 37
Phil Marglitz (1) 8
Adam Knight (1) 0
Jon Leisner 592
Don Woodhouse 564
Robert F. Bua 525
Pierre Espenan 452
John Bosse 371
Chet Sygiel 360
Dale Royer 287
John Ragan 270
Terry Donoghu 263
Kenneth Hunsucker 256
Charles Fortner 221
J. Fields 209
John Coffey 209
C.J. Sanjurjo 178
Allen Duldulao 169
*Otis Lewis 168
John D. Wells 157
J. Elliott 155
Derek DeMerchant 139
John B. Smaltz 129
Marvin J. Johnson 129
John Dutemple 124
Archie Martin 118
John Woolard 114
Cory Bryant 102
Jan A. Van Hummel 99
Frank Metz 96
Mark Lewis 91
Phillip Norman 90
J. Paul Ciarrocchi 88
Jim Geary 88
Carl Aridas 85
Ron Celio 74
Keenan Moore 49
Marvin Lee 46
Cole Dykstra 46
Theresa Torricellas 45
Chris McDermit 41
Paul Adcock 34
William Li 32
Max R. Luikart 28
Sebastian Fernandez 27
David Ortiz 18
Jessie Dunaway 18
Richard Chambers 18
Everette Luoma 16
Andy Veh 15
Christopher Sayers 15
PA Buggs 15
Java Joe 15
Matt Peach 14
David M. Anderson 14
Carlos Bellamy 12
Darin Neagle 10