03 February 2012

Samuel Loyd

In February, I start another little series. This time, I write about some famous American problemists starting with Samuel Loyd.

Of course, you can find tons of information on the Internet and in books. So, I won't bore you with things you might already know and just pick a few details regarding his life and his compositions which I consider to be quite interesting.

I read that early on he showed a liking for mime, ventriloquism, magic, card tricks and sleight of hand — and chess. He became interested in chess problems before entering his teens. This might apply to many problemists among my readers, I don't know. Anyway, I see myself in it.

By the age of sixteen he was America's leading composer and magazines worldwide published his problems. He was incredibly productive but nearly stopped all chess activities before the age of twenty because he was about to become the Puzzle King.

There's a similar course of events in my life. Several years before my first original was published, I had composed very many problems just for myself. Sure, there was a lot of rubbish, mainly incorrect and anticipated stuff. Nevertheless, some nice things were left and until about the early 1990s, I created more and sent in the works. But then, similar to Loyd, I concentrated on something else. In my case it was correspondence chess that occupied me so much that I rarely composed new problems and just used the material from the previous years.

Only in 2010, I had sort of a comeback and since then try to be more active again. I even got inspired by doing research for this blog. However, I am still heavily involved in correspondence tournaments of high(er) categories and for the national team. Being close to the GM title, it's hard to not try to get the required second norm.

Back to the Master who introduced lots of new ideas and forms like twins and retros. Moreover, he was the first to show the Plachutta interference and he composed the first correct(!) example of the Turton doubling (Turton's version some months ago turned out to be unsound). Now, let's enjoy some of his chess problems!

La Strategie, 1867

American Chess-Nuts, 1868

1st American Chess Comgress Problem Tourney, 1857

Paris Tourney, 1867
Second Prize Set

11. a8=B!
1. - Kf8 2. b8=Q+ Kf7 3. Bd5#
1. - Ke8 2. Ke6 Kd8 3. b8=Q#
1. - Kg8 2. Kg6 Kh8 3. b8=Q,R#
21. Rg2+!
1. - Kxg2 2. Nh3 Kxh3 3.Bf1# or 2. - Kh1 3. Bf3#
1. - Ke3 2. Bc4 Ke4 3. Re2#
Very nice model mates.
31. Kg3!!
1. - Be5+ 2. Qxe5+ Kxe5 3. Nxf7#
1. - Bxh5+ 2. Kf4 Be5+ 3. Qxe5#
1. - Bxf5+ 2. Kf4 and 3. Qb6#
1. - Rg1+ 2. Kf4 d2 3. Qb6#
A set of three problems was the required entry for each participant in that tournament.
The motto for Loyd's set was "Certum pete finem". Easy to spot that this three-mover is a prototype of the famous "Steinitz-Gambit" problem which was published only 46 years later.
41. Bxa6!
1. - bxa6+ 2. b7 Qe6 3. Qc8 Qxc8+ 4. bxc8=Q,B#
1. - Qc5 2. Qe8 Qc6 3. Qxc6 bxc6 4. Bc8#
1. - Qc2 2. Be2 Qxe2 3. Qc8+ Qg4 4. Qxg4#
1. - Na,bc3 2. Bxb7 Qxb7+ 3. Kxb7 and 4. Qc8#

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