What are Chess Problems? Recommended Books


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Recommended Books
Written by Michael McDowell   

Books on chess composition published by commercial publishers are rare. Most problem books are published by small specialist publishers and are not to be found on the shelves at local book shops. Many are out of print, and consequently acquiring problem books can take some work. The BCPS provides a specialist book shop service for its members.

Chess Wizardry:
The New ABC of Chess Problems
by John Rice
Batsford 1995
ISBN 0 7134 8013 0; 352 pages

An updated edition of a 1970 classic, and quite simply the best guide in English to problem terminology. Fully illustrated with example problems.

Schach für Nußknacker by Friedrich Chlubna
Friedrich Chlubna, Vienna 1994
ISBN 3 9500310 0 6; 144 pages, in German

‘Chess for Nutcrackers’ is an up-to-date guide to chess problems, written not for problem experts but for over-the-board players, to show them the beauties of ‘chess without a partner’.

Pick of the Best Chess Problems compiled by Barry P. Barnes
Revised edition, Elliot Right Way Books, 1991
ISBN 0 7160 2002 5; 158 pages

White to Play and Mate in Two compiled by Barry P. Barnes
Elliot Right Way Books, 1991
ISBN 0 7160 2001 7; 156 pages

Two entertaining collections of Meredith two-movers (using from 8 to 12 pieces) containing 200 and 150 problems respectively, fully explained in light-hearted style by the compiler.

Mostly Three-Movers: Collected Chess Problems 1939-1993
by R. C. O. Matthews
EDITIONS feenschach-phénix, 1995; 184 pages

Robin Matthews is one of the world's leading composers of three-movers. This volume contains all of his published problems up to 1993.

Das Matt des weißen Königs by Friedrich Chlubna
Friedrich Chlubna, Vienna 1995
ISBN 3 9500310 3 0; 160 pages, in German

Books devoted to selfmates are rare. This instructive introduction illustrates the wide variety of ideas characteristic of the genre. Also includes chapters on the selfmate maximummer and the reflexmate.

Black to Play: Schwarz am Zug by C. J. Feather
Friedrich Chlubna, Vienna 1994
ISBN 3 9500310 2 2; 200 pages,
text duplicated in English and German

An essential work for fans of the helpmate. This book, the only general introduction in English, is written in a questioning and sometimes subversive style, challenging the solver/reader to look deeper into the workings of the hundreds of examples shown.

Endgame Magic by John Beasley & Timothy Whitworth
Batsford, 1996
ISBN 0 7134 7971 X; 192 pages

An excellent introduction to studies by two experts in the genre.

Endgame Challenge by John Nunn
Gambit, 2002
ISBN 1 901983 83 8; 256 pages

A superb collection of the author's choice of the best 250 studies ever composed, fully analysed.

Solving in Style by John Nunn
Gambit, 2002 (reprinted from the 1985 edition by Allen & Unwin)
ISBN 1 901983 66 8; 238 pages

A thorough guide to the techniques of solving chess compositions. John Nunn won the Solving World Championship in 2004 and is one of only three holders of both the over-the-board and solving Grandmaster titles.

Versunkene Schätze:
Problemkunst von 1891-1913
by Friedrich Chlubna
Friedrich Chlubna, Vienna 1998
ISBN 3 9500310 6 5; 160 pages in German

The ‘Sunken Treasures’ are 350 chess problems from the period 1891-1913; forgotten masterpieces which deserve to survive even in the 21st century. The period before 1914 is extremely poorly documented in modern chess problem literature, so this book fills a gap!

Chess Problems: Tasks and Records by Jeremy Morse
Revised edition, Faber & Faber, 2001
ISBN 0 571 20454 6; 390 pages

The chess problem equivalent of the Guinness Book of Records! Task problems are positions which feature maximum effects, and Sir Jeremy Morse is the world's leading expert on the subject. A thorough survey of two-move tasks, with supplementary chapters on other fields.

Miniature Chess Problems by Colin Russ
St. Martin's Press, New York 1981
ISBN 0 312 53370 5; 262 pages

Miniature compositions (using 7 or fewer men) are a great favourite with both solvers and composers, and this volume containing 400 directmates of all lengths is one of the most entertaining collections.

The Chessboard Adventures of Norman Macleod
edited by John Rice
EDITIONS feenschach-phénix 1997; 308 pages

A collection of the work of Norman Macleod (1927-1991), the most versatile British composer of his time and one of only two British composers to gain the title of FIDE Grandmaster of Composition. Includes a biography, tributes and obituaries, and a selection of lectures and articles by the late GM.

Secrets of Spectacular Chess
by Jonathan Levitt & David Friedgood
Batsford. 1995
ISBN 0 7134 7721 0; 222 pages

A highly original and thought-provoking work in which the authors expound their theory of chess aesthetics. They discuss the elements of chess beauty and offer a wide range of examples of spectacular chess from games and various types of composition.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 October 2011 16:34
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