14 December 2010

Too late (1)

It happens to all of us. Whether you're a beginner or an expert in composing, one day the inevitable occurs. You create a nice chess problem and are proud of your work — but you are not the first who comes up with that brilliant idea, someone else was quicker.

Just a few days ago, when looking around for some humorous chess problems, I saw the famous "caterpillar" (diagram A). This term can be traced back to Tim Krabbé who wrote a whole article about it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it in the archives of www.chesscafe.com. Anyway, I immediately recalled that in the early 1980s, as a result of some composing, I had the very same position on my chessboard. I had been totally unaware of it for quite some time until I learned about the predecessor.

A similar experience, not much later than the previous one, is connected to diagram B. I had sent in a Selfmate which was cooked by Alybadix. After some attempts, Dr. Ulrich Auhagen managed to find a correct version and, in 1985, this coproduction became my first published chess problem. But ... it was almost identical to Pauly's composition, just without the two pawns on the c-file and thus demanding two solutions. Therefore, it was undoubtedly anticipated and our diagram can only be accepted as a version of his.

  AWilliam A. Shinkman  

  BWolfgang Pauly  
Eskilstuna Kuriren, 1920

A 1. 0-0-0! Kxa7 2. Rd8 Kxa6 3. Rd7 Kxa5 4. Rd6 Kxa4 5. Rd5 Kxa3 6. Rd4 Kxa2 7. Rd3 Ka1 8. Ra3#
but 1. Kd2! also solves.
B 1. e3! Kd1 2. e4 Kc1 3. e5 Kd1 4. e6 Kc1 5. e7 Kd1 6. e8=N Kc1 7. Nd6 Kd1 8. Nc4 Kc1 9. Nb2 axb2#
If you take away the pawns on c5 and c6, you get this additional solution: 1. e4! Kd1 2. e5 Kc1 3. e6 Kd1 4. e7 Kc1 5. e8=R Kd1 6. Re2 Kc1 7. Nb5 Kd1 8. Nc3+ Kc1 9. Rb2 axb2#

There are some more recent examples of anticipation in which I have been involved. I'll write about them in another post.

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