02 March 2012

Looking back again

First, some lines about the yearly solving contests I participated in once more. I mentioned them here and here but haven't written about my results yet.

This year, the ChessBase contest was quite easy. And when I have almost no trouble spotting the solution, it's very likely that I become careless. So, in puzzle #2, I overlooked the better defense 1. - Kh4! and chose 1. - Kxg4. As I was so focussed on those knight promotions, I continued exactly with the moves of the solution, although 11. d8=Q would have won quicker. Naturally, I highly enjoyed the helpmate and the serieshelpmate. Normally, I have great respect for proof games with more than seven moves and am rather not touching them. With the one that was to be solved on December 31st it was totally different, though. I can't say why nor how, but in a matter of seconds it was all so clear to me. Okay, almost ... there was just this detail about how/where to get rid of the wBf1. In case you haven't seen this retro yet, I give you the diagram (the lazy/impatient can peek here for the solution):

Bernd Gräfrath
Die Schwalbe April 2009
Dedicated to Cedric Lytton
  SPG in 12,0 moves(10+15)  

To sum up, it was a nice set of chess problems to solve. On the other hand I was not too sad to not get a prize (you know why). Clearly trickier puzzles challenged the solvers of the Stuttgarter Zeitung (surprise, surprise). It's incredible, I made nearly the same experience as in the other contest. Many experts failed to crack puzzle D. This and also the other chess problems were not a stumbling block to me. Oddly enough, I overlooked one tiny detail: a pawn to prevent retro-stalemate. Despite this mental blackout, I received a book prize. It was this retro, a Proca retractor, because of which I missed the 100 percent by a narrow margin. Could it have been closer?

Werner Keym
Stuttgarter Zeitung Dezember 2011
Retract 3 moves, then mate in one.

The solution goes like this: Take back (Black has no choice) 1. e5xd6 e.p. d7-d5 2. Nh6-g8 0-0-0+ 3. Nf5xPh6!, then 1. g8=Q#. Inevitably, you have to un-capture a pawn on h6, so that, for instance, h7-h6 was possible before, for both Ke8 and Ra8 never moved in order to castle! Once again, Keym presented his pet theme, the Valladao-Task (promotion + castling + en passant capture), this time in an orthodox miniature.

A third look back concerns my post One more time. There, as in all October 2011 posts, I had written about various twinning methods in helpmates. Especially diagram #1 had fascinated and inspired me. This week, on Wednesday, I received the latest issue of Probleemblad with the two originals I had sent to Gerard Smits in October and November 2011. Here they are (I won't give the solution to not spoil the fun):

Gerson Berlinger
Probleemblad 1/2012
a) Diagram
b) wNNg7/h7
c) wBBg7/h7
d) wRRg7/h7

Gerson Berlinger
Probleemblad 1/2012
a) Diagram
b) wNNd2/g2
c) wBBd2/g2
d) wRRd2/g2

The first diagram was only the second correct version of what I wanted to show. The second diagram shows an improvement. From time to time, I work on further versions and there is already another one ready with sort of an extension.

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