10 February 2012

The Wizard of Grand Rapids

Along with his contemporary Samuel Loyd, William A. Shinkman was the best known composer of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Did you know that he also used the pseudonym M. Ham Nawki? He composed some thirty-five hundred problems which makes him the most prolific American composer. Shinkman contributed a lot to the area of selfmate problems, but I'll stick to the regular mate in three or more moves which often have a surprising key move.

Loyd frequently was content with showing a single example of a theme whereas Shinkman experimented with various illustrations of it. Alain C. White wrote: "Loyd toyed with themes, Shinkman masters them."

Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1875

Dubuque Chess Journal, 1890

Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1907

The Gazette Times, 1916

11. Qd4! exd4 2. Rf7 ~ 3. Rc7#
1. - Kb7 2. Rf7+ Ka6/Ka8 3. Qa1/Qh8#
1. - Kd7 2. Qg4+ Kd8/~ 3. Rf8/Qc8#
A surprising key move, right?
21. Be2! Kb7 2. Qc8+ Kxc8/Kb6 3. Ba6/Qc7#
1. - Kb6 2. Qa5+ Kxa5/Kb7 3. Bc7/Qa6#
Two queen sacrifices leading to chameleon echoed model mates in a miniature!
31. Rb7! h6 2. Qa2 h5 3. Qa8 Kxg2 4. Rb2#
1. - h5 2. Rb2 Nxe2 3. Rxe2 and 4. Rb1#
2. - Nh3 3. gxh3
2. - Nf3+ 3. gxf3
The pericritical maneuver is one that Shinkman featured in several of his problems. The key and the continuation in the mainplay are especially subtle.
41. N7c5! (thr. 2. Na4# and 2. Qb4#)
1. - Rcxc5 2. Nb2 Ra5/~ 3. Qc4/Na4#
1. - Rhxc5 2. Nf4 Rc4/~ 3. Nd5/Ne2#
We see a Plachutta interference with only eight pieces, another example of Shinkman's outstanding ability to illustrate a strategic theme with a minimum number of men.

No comments: