27 April 2012


I am sure you've heard about the Logical or New German school — and hopefully it was in connection with chess problems. Searching the Internet in order to get more information about this subject might rather lead you to articles that refer to music. And adding the search word "Problem" will not really be helpful as this gives you links to sites dealing with certain aspects of social science. In fact it's quite hard to get the desired information at all, the more if you have no concrete idea what you're searching for. Anybody interested in Web Content Mining?

The chess problems I have chosen for this post are logical. That term refers to the way in which the solution is structured. In the initial position, White has a so-called main plan, a series of moves with which he wants to checkmate. At first, the execution of this plan fails to a refutation that Black has up his sleeve. Therefore, White first executes a foreplan, whereby Black's defence to the main plan is negated in some way. Roughly speaking, that's what logical problems are about.

Let's start with a lightweight example.

Jörgen Möller
Skakbladet, 1920
    The main plan is to play the queen to the b-file and give checkmate on b8. But the attempt 1. Qb1? Bg3! is premature. Another idea that fails is 1. Qg2+? d5!.

1. Qg7! (2. Qxd7 3. Qc6/Nb6#) Be7 2. Qb2 Bd6 3. Qg2#

The bishop was lured away to another diagonal and thus was forced to replace the good defence Bg3 with the bad defence Bd6. This caused the interference with the pawn d7. This theme is called Interference Roman (translation found here).

Stefan Schneider
Austria-Switzerland Match, 1977
1st Place
1. Re7? with the idea 2. Qxe2+ Bxe2 3. Rxe2+ shows that queen and rook are the wrong way around. Hence, the main plan must be Qe8, followed by Re7 and Rxe2+. But how to do it? 1. Qe8? is much too slow, for the black queen can leave c1 not being bound to defend against Qxd2# anymore. We must find a way to play Qe8 with gain of time — very hard to imagine. Here we go:

1. Ka8!!

Wow! True, an experienced solver might consider this move even without exactly knowing how to proceed thereafter — it's the feel. Otherwise, deep thinking is required.

White now threatens 2. Rh7! 3. Rxh2 4. Ng2#. The point of going to a8 is to avoid 2. Rxh7 being check. In doing so the king has to avoid b8 because of the potential pin by the black bishop coming to h2. Why 1. Kc8? is wrong will be explained later.

1. - Rh8+

Black is so tied down that this is the only way to challenge White's idea. White continues with another incredible move:

2. Qe8!!

2. Rxe8+ 3. Ka7!
Not 3. Kb7? Rb8+ 4. Kxb8 Bh2! This also makes clear that in case of 1. Kc8? the white king would not have been able to escape the h2-b8 diagonal in time.
Black can now no longer guard g2, so that after
3. - Ra8+ 4. Kxa8
there is no way to prevent 5. Ng2# or (when Nf2 moves away) 5. Nd3#.

Alternatively, the rook can only return.

2. - Rh2

By now, we have achieved our goal, so that the main plan can be executed.

3. Re7 ~ 4. Rxe2+ Bxe2 5. Qe2#

Y. Vladimirov
Macleod Memorial Tourney, 1994
1st Prize (Version)
    This one is probably easier to solve despite its length.

White's main plan is Rf8 followed by Rc8#, but Black is stalemated. The foreplan is to build a bishop-rook battery on g1,f2 with the black king on c5 and play Rf8+. But this requires the protection of the pawn d6, so that playing the pawn e2 to e5 is another foreplan. Important things to observe: White always has to a) protect d6 and b) give a check when the king is on c5. See and enjoy how all this is accomplished.

1. Bc1 Kc5 2. Be3+ Kc6 3. Bf4 Kc5 4. Rf5+ Kc6 5. Be5 Kc5 6. Bh2+ Kc6 7. Rf6 Kc5 8. Bg1+ Kc6 9. e3 Kc5 10. e4+ Kc6 11. Bh2 Kc5 12. Rf5+ Kc6 13. e5 Kc5 14. Bg1+ Kc6 l5. Rf2! Kc5 16. Rf8+ Kc6 17. Rc8#

We see a variety of self-interferences employed by White to relieve the stalemate. A very nice puzzle.

A.Lobusov & A.Spirin
E.Zepler Memorial Tourney, 1985
1st Prize
    Black to move allowed White to mate on d4 or d5. But there is no waiting move. The goal of the foreplan is to lose a move.

1. Ne8! (threat 2. Nf6 3. Ng4#) Ng8 2. N6c7! Nfe7 3. Ng7!

White now threatens 4. Nxd5+ and 5. Nf5# or vice versa.
3. - Nf6 4. Nce6! and 5. Nxd4# or 5. N(x)f5#.

3. - Nxh6 4. Nge6 Nhf5 5. h6!

There is the waiting move! The diagram position, without the pawn h5, has been repeated. It is Black to move and mate follows on the next move.

Did you notice? During the solution, the two white knights have
swapped places. Moreover, the black knights also performed such a Platzwechsel!

No comments: