17 December 2010

No limits

How about a trip into the world of fairy chess? It won't be the last one, I promise. In fact, we'll go there quite often.

One of the prominent persons who produced a lot in this area was Thomas Rayner Dawson. He introduced new conditions and invented many fairy pieces, among which grasshopper and nightrider are the most popular.

For someone being curious about this new world with totally new pieces, boards, conditions and stipulations, the bilingual book Schach ohne Grenzen / Chess Unlimited by Dr. Karl Fabel and C. E. Kemp might be interesting. It deals with unorthodox chess problems and is a tribute to T. R. Dawson. Unfortunately, the book (from 1969) is no longer being published. But there are still used copies being sold.

The following helpmate is the very last diagram in the book and demonstrates that sometimes you need a different board than just the one with eight files and eight ranks you are used to. For instance, in certain cases, it is actually necessary to change its dimensions. Therefore, we see a board of 11 files (a–k) and 15 ranks (1–15), the minimum size to realize the author's idea.

T. R. Dawson  
Schach ohne Grenzen / Chess Unlimited, 1969
[8r2/11/8n2/2r1b6/7k3/5p5/11/8n2/11/11/11/11/bK9/6q4/N10]
  h#7(2+9)  
Solution:

1. Qg11 Ka2
2. Bg10 Nb3
3. Rh12 Nc5
4. Ng12 Nd7
S. Ri10 Ne9
6. Bi11 Nf11
7. Nh10 Ng13#
final position:
[11/11/6N4/6nr3/6qkb2/5pbnr2/11/11/11/11/11/11/11/K10/11]
The book comments it is "the ultimate self-block matebuild, expertly controlled with absolute economy" and the composer called the problem "The Whirlpool". By the way, the black pawn is necessary to prevent the knight mating at g9.

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