25 May 2012

I am sorry

Once again, I didn't manage to write more than this ... it's too hot and I am too busy, excuse me.

Enzo Minerva
The Problemist Supplement 09/2009
  How many solutions?

Okay, did you see that the position is illegal? Good. You have to remove a black pawn to make it legal. But you have to be careful. Taking away bPd5 in order to play 1. d5# or removing bPf5 with the intention 1. f5# are no options — the position is still illegal! But you can dispose of any of the remaining pawns:
I) -bPd7: 1. Qc8#
II) -bPd6, 1. Nc5#
III) -bPe7, 1. Qe8#
IV) -bPe5, 1. Re1#
V) -bPf7, 1. Qg8#
VI) -bPf6, 2. Ng5#

So there are six solutions.

18 May 2012

Not much

Sorry, today I have just some moremovers that I find interesting. Maybe, you like them as well.

  1Kay Soltsien  
Kieler Nachrichten, 1956

  2Wilfried Neef  
Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 1999

  3V. Savchenko  
Shakhmatnaya Moskva, 1970
1st Prize

11. Rd5! c6 2. Ra5 c5 3. Bxc5 Kxg5 4. Be3#
1. - c5 2. Bc1 c4 3. Rd2 Kxg5 4. Rd5#
Twice the Indian theme with changing funcions of rook and bishop.
21. Ng7! Bxg7 2. Rf6 Bxf6 3. Be5 Bxe5 4. Rc7 5. Bb7#
2. - Bh6 3. Bf4 Bxf4 4. Rc7 5. Bb7#
White must prevent the black bishop from going to b6, so that the wPa7 would not be protected anymore. A funny composition.
31. Rd1? Nd2! 2. Kxd2 gxh5 3. Nxh5 h1=Q 4. Rxh1 Ng5 5. Kd3 Bf1+ 6. Rxf1 Nf3 7. Bd4+ Nxd4 8. Re1+ Ne2 9. Rxe2# and White is just one move too late.
1. 0-0-0! axb2+! 2. Kc2! b1=Q+ 3. Kc3!! Qb2+! 4. Kd3!! Qe2+! 5. Kxe2 f3+ 6. Ke1 Nd2 7. Nd7+ Ke4 8. Bc2#
Fantastic journey of the white king back to his original square.

11 May 2012

Colliding with the masters

This one is about three ideas which not only I had.

The first is the flight task which I already mentioned in a post last year. My aim was to compose a threemover miniature where the black has eight flight squares after the key move. The great Shinkman even managed to use a white queen to accomplish this. The keymove of his 1a gives five more flight squares. Depending on Black's play queen and rook change their functions. Unfortunately, there are several duals on move three. You may judge yourself whether and how much this adversely affects the chess problem. 1. Rc2! (threats 2. Rxg2+ 3. Q#) g1=Q 2. Qxg1+ 3. R# is the solution. My 1b is probably easier to solve, but there are no duals: 1. Rc2! ~ 2. Rg2(+) Kf~/Kh~ 3. Rf1/Rhxh2#. I didn't know Shinkman's composition at that time, that's all I can say.

  1aWilliam A. Shinkman  
Checkmate 12/1901

  1bGerson Berlinger  
Der Tagesspiegel, 1994

The Hinterstellung has always been one of my favourite themes. I once had found the very same position that you see in No. 2. Too bad. 1. Rh2! Kxa4 2. Bc6+ Kxa3/Ka5 3. Bc5/Rh5#.

  2William A. Shinkman  
Checkmate 07/1903

The third part of this post has quite a long history. It starts back in the early 1990s when I bought my first PC. Until then, already a bunch of my chess problems had been published. And there was still a lot in the queue or in the making. All this stuff only existed on paper and I started to collect the data in text files and databases. Of course, from time to time, you buy a new personal computer and transfer some of the files that have accumulated to the new machine.

Apparently, you don't always know what stuff you keep throughout the years, right? So, rather by chance, in Summer 2010, I detected some old ChessBase databases with which I had worked in 1995 for the last time! Quite a nice surprise, as some of them contained ideas and composing attempts where I got stuck. I hope I can further develop those rudementary orthodox moremovers and endgame studies. I've already started doing so with the aim to show a march of the white king from one corner to another, e.g. from a1 to h1 or a8 but not to h8. For some months, I experimented with diferent setups and also discussed the subject with the young Dutch problemist Jokim van den Bos who published his best result in Probleemblad in April 2011. I still was not satisfied yet with my own approaches but had less time on my hand to search further. Some months later, though, I made an important discovery. Look at the following moremover which could be an endgame study as well.

  3Jonathan Levitt  
? 1996

You can also find this composition online on his web site. First the black king is driven across the bottom rank. 1. Bd5+! Kg1 2. Bc5+ Kf1 3. Nd2+ Ke1 4. Nf3+ Kd1! 5. Bb3+ Kc1 6. Ba3+ Kb1 7. Nd2+ Ka1. In the second phase the white king must also make a corner to corner king march. 8. Bc2 Rxh7+ 9. Kg8 Rh8+ 10. Kf7 Rh7+ 11. Ke8 Rh8+ 12. Kd7 Rh7+ 13. Kxd8 Rh8+ 14. Kc7 Rh7+ 15. Kb8! Rh8+ 16. Kxa7 Ra8+ 17. Kxa8 Now, there is nothing left that can delay the mate 18. Nb3#.

After having learnt this, it doesn't seem to make much sense to further look for a corner-to-corner king march, does it?! Anyway, that really discouraged me for a while. Nevertheless, I won't give up until I have found my version of that theme, I promise.

04 May 2012

Go All The Way

Wow, this is already my 100th post. Time goes by. 100 ... reminds me of the neutral pieces which were introduced in 1912. They are those chessmen that belong to that side which chooses to use them. Do you remember? It was exactly one year ago today that I mentioned them in a blog post.

Now the question of the day: Is it such a bad idea to Go All The Way? That depends, right? How about chess problems with everything neutral? As for me, I am absolutely fascinated by them. Others, even hard-core fairy problemists, prefer not to touch such compositions at all. But are they really so alien? Let's start with a simple diagram to see what is allowed and what is not.

  Legal moves?(0+0+3)  
a) White to move
b) Black to move
Though there are only neutral pieces on the board, we still have to think in black and white. That may be the first psychological barrier. It's important to know which side has the move.
a)The nK must not go to e6 or g6 due to an illegal self-check (the nPf7 has to be considered to be black)! For the same reason nBh7 is not allowed. Neutral pieces can capture each other. Neutral pawns promote to neutral pieces.
nKe4,e5,f4,f6,g4,g5; nBxf7; nPf8=nB,nN; nPxg8=nQ,nR,nB,nN are legal.
b)This time, the nK can go anywhere he likes. The moves nKe6,g6+ are no self-checks! Of course, they are checks to the neutral king thereafter. He is then considered to be white and the nPf7 to be black. But that's not illegal, for it is White's turn and so the check is parried by moving the king away (e.g. nKf6, but not nKxf7) or by making a legal pawn move (nKe6: nPxg8=nN,nR; nKg6: nPf8=nQ,nR,nB or nPxg8=nB,nN).
Legal moves are nK~(+); nBxf7; nPf6.

I hope you are prepared for some real chess problems with neutral pieces only. All of them result in checkmates given by a pawn. I recommend that you take a closer look at the mate positions. Observe how and why it is impossible for those pawns to move away and thus spoil the checkmate in each case.

  1Henning Müller  
The Problemist, 1988

  2Henning Müller  
Hans-Peter Reich
Sinfonie Scacchistiche 12/1988

  3Jerome Auclair  
harmonie 04/1993

  4Manfred Rittirsch  
The Problemist 05/1988
Dedicated to Walter Wittstock
1st Prize
a) Diagram
b) nNe3 → f8

1*1. - Ka5+ 2. b3 Nb4 3. c3 cxb4#
1. Qb8 Ka5+ 2. Ka6 Nc3 3. Nb5 cxb5#
A perfect echo that results from the fact that it is not possible to make a tempo move. Also notable are the two ways to answer the check. In the setplay the pawn moves, in the solution the king does.
2I) 1. nPd1=nR nPf7 2. nRd7 nPf8=nB 3. nBd6 nPxd7#
II) 1. nPd1=nQ nPf7 2. nQd6 nPf8=nN 3. nNd7 nPxd7#
Sure, the ever-present Allumwandlung mustn't miss! A very nice composition.
3b) 1. nPd5 nQa7 2. nPd4 nBd5 3. nPd3 nPxc4#
w) 1. nBd5 nPc2 2. nRc6 nPc1=nQ 3. nQa3 nPxc6#
Once again the pawns are starring! In both solutions the nPd7 gives mate. The other pawn is also very active.
4a) 1. - nNeg4 2. nPf5 nKg6+ 3. nKh7 nBd4 4. nPg5 nPxg6 e.p.#
b) 1. - nQb8 2.nKf6+ nKe7 3.nPg5 nBh4 4.nPf5 nPxf6 e.p.#
Beautiful ideal mates with en passant capture.