The January issue featured a lecture report by John Rice on the problems of the late Norwegian composer Nils van Dijk, and an article by the eminent Ukrainian duo Viktor Melnichenko and Valentin Rudenko on the Schiffmann theme in three-movers. Historian Chris Ravilious recounted attempts in the newspapers of a century ago to identify the favourite composers of the day. George Jelliss recalled his fairy magazine Chessics for “In the Library”, and the awards for moremovers of 2001 and threemovers of 2002 were published. In the Supplement Geoff Foster examined the role of luck in composition.

Nils G. G. van Dijk

American Chess Bulletin, 1958


Mate in 2

1.b3 Waiting. The main variations are

1...bxa6 2.Rxa5
1...b6   2.Sc7
1...b5   2.Rc5
1...bxc6 2.Rd4
1...exd6 2.Qxe4
1...e6   2.Bxe4
1...e5   2.Qd2
1...exf6 2.Sxf6

One of van Dijk’s most famous problems, showing eight different mates after the moves of two pawns – the Pickaninny theme doubled. The by-play variations 1...e3 2.Qd4 and 1...Qb6 2.Sxb6 round off an excellent task achievement.

Lev Loshinsky & Evgeny Umnov

Tijdschrift vd NSB, 1934


Mate in 3

An early example of a three-mover featuring Schiffmann strategy. After the key 1.g5 there appear to be three ways of creating a threat; however 2.Qc6?, threatening 3.Rf5, fails to the Schiffmann defence 2...Rxg6! 3.Rf5? Rxc6!, and 2.Qg4?, threatening 3.f5, fails to 2...Sxg6! 3.f5? Sf4!. The correct threat is 2.Rf5!, threatening 3.Qc6 or d5. Now after defences on g6 White exploits the mutual obstruction: 1...Rxg6 2.Qg4! and 3.f5 (2...Sxg6??), and 1...Sxg6 2.Qc6! and 3.Rf5 (2...Rxg6??). The by-play defence 1...g2 prevents a potential check for 2.Re5+ Kxf4 3.Qg4.

Jean-Marc Loustau

4th Prize, The Problemist, 2002


Mate in 3

In the words of the judge, Franz Pachl: “A problem of classical beauty and unity.” The checking tries 1.Se4+? and 1.Re5+? fail simply to captures. After the key 1.Qb8, threatening 2.Qxc7+ Sxc7 3.b4, Grimshaw defences on f4 lead paradoxically to Nowotnys on the square on which Black has just placed an additional guard. 1...Rf4 2.Se4+ Bxe4 / Rxe4 3.Rc1 / Sxd3 and 1...Bf4 2.Re5+ Rxe5 / Bxe5 2.Qf8 / Rd5.

The March issue featured a report on the Final of the 2003-2004 Winton Capital British Chess Solving Championship, won by the leading Dutch solver Dolf Wissmann, with David Friedgood taking the British title. Chris Feather contributed the second part of a comprehensive article on two-move helpmates where a pinned black piece captures the pinner, and Michael Lipton reviewed two-move miniatures featuring the Zagoruyko theme. Other articles included Rene Millour’s examination of a Sam Loyd classic, and John Rice on changed play following Schiffmann defences. John Beasley’s “In the Library” article covered Im Banne des Schachproblems by Ado Kraemer and Erich Zepler, one of the best problem collections ever published. In the Supplement, Colin Russ presented compositions by composers who are better known as players and Brian Stephenson completed his discussion of how to solve proof games.

Yochanan Afek

Journal, 2004


White to play and win

An attractive composition by the studies editor of The Problemist which was used in the British Solving Championship Final. White will win easily on material if he manages to save the trapped knight. 1.Bg2 is necessary to prevent 1...Bf1 followed by 2...g2, and now Black can only attempt to draw by winning the knight: 1...Kc8 2.Kc5 (aiming for 3.Kd6 and 4.Sc7) 2...Kb8 3.Kd6 (White’s move order must be exact; not 3.Sb4? Bh7 4.Kd6 a5!) 3...Kxa8 4.Sb4 Bb5 5.Sa6! Bxa6 6.Kc7 B moves 7.Bxb7 mate. If 5…Bc6 then 6.Bxc6 bxc6 7.Kc7 g2 8.Kc8 g1Q 9.Sc7 mate.

Ado Kraemer & Erich Zepler

Deutsche Tageszeitung, 1932


Mate in 4

To quote John Beasley: “At their best these composers offer a surprising key, piquant play, and a clear logical motivation for what happens: just what the customer is looking for.” If the white bishop tries to approach f3 via, say, d3 and e4, Black defends by simply promoting the b-pawn. 1.Ra1 decoys the black bishop by threatening 2.Bg2 mate. After 1...Bxa1 White returns to his original plan with 2.Bd3, and after 2...b2 3.Bb1! puts Black in zugzwang, forcing 3...f2 4.Be4.

Paul Keres

3rd Prize, Suomen Shakki, 1944


Mate in 2

1.Sd4      (2.Rd7)

1...Rxd4    2.Sc3
1...Bxd4    2.Qb3>
1...Rf6     2.Re5
1...Bf6     2.Bxf7
1...Qh4     2.Sxe3
1...Bc6,Bc8 2.Bc6
1...Be5     2.Rxe5

The famous Estonian grandmaster Paul Keres was also a competent composer, and a collection of his problems was published in 1999. This prizewinner combines an unusual Nowotny at d4 (unusual because the mates only become possible after the captures) with a Grimshaw at f6.

The May issue contained a full report on the BCPS Residential Weekend at Pitlochry. Jeremy Morse presented the seventh update of his books Tasks and Records, and John Rice introduced a new fairy piece, the Equistopper. For the historically minded there were articles examining early examples of threemovers featuring the Schiffmann theme, and early problems featuring en passant keys. Various awards were published: Retros for 2001-2002, judged by Thomas Brand; Helpmates in Two for 2003, judged by David Shire, and Fairies for 2001, judged by Christian Poisson. In the Supplement Barry Barnes discussed alternative versions of a famous two-mover by Godfrey Heathcote.

D. Stojnic & M. Babic (after A. C. White & A. Bell)

The Problemist, 2004


Mate in 13

1.c8S++ Kf6
2.Rg6++ Kf5
3.Rf6++ Ke5
4.Rf5++ Ke4
5.Re5++ Kd4
6.Re4++ Kd3
7.Rd4++ Kc3
8.Rd3++ Kc2
9.Rc3++ Kb2
10.Rc2++ Kb1
11.Rb2++ Ka1
12.Rb1++ Kxa2

If 10...Ka3 11.Bb2+ Ka4 12.Sc5++ Kb4 13.Ba3# or 11...Kxa2 12.Sb4++ Kb1 13.Ra1#

A new record of 13 consecutive double checks (with a 14th in a side variation).

Jean Haymann

1st HM., The Problemist, 2003


Helpmate in 2: 2 solutions

1.Sc5 Be4 2.Rb3 d3
1.Rc4 Be5 2.Sb2 d4

A helpmate whose elegance appealed to the judge. The critical moves and subsequent shut-off of the initially half-pinned black rooks are combined with anti-critical moves of the white bishops.

Michel Caillaud

1st HM., The Problemist, 2001-2002


Proof game in 7.75 moves: 2 solutions

1.e4 Sh6 2.Qg4 Sf5 3.Qxg7 Sh4 4.Qxh7 Bh6 5.Qxh6 f5 6.Qe3 f4 7.d3 fxe3 8.Sd2 Kg8 (=½ O-O)

1.d3 Sh6 2.Qd2 Sf5 3.Qh6 Sh4 4.Qxh7 f5 5.Qxg7 f4 6.Qxf8+ Kxf8 7.Sd2 Kg8 8.e4 f4-e3 (=½ fxe3 e.p.)

Articles featured in the July issue included Chris Reeves on “Tertiary Threat Correction”, Allan Bell on “Proof game promotion effects after 5/6 ...d1S” and David Shire on “Developments in battery play in the two-mover”. John Rice reported on the problemist meetings at Andernach and Messigny. In the Supplement Ignaas Vandemeulebroucke discussed the 19th century origins of the Plachutta theme.

Andrei Lobusov

5th HM., The Problemist, 1975


Mate in 2

1.Qc5   (2.Sf3)

1...Kd2  2.e4 (2.e3?)
1...Rxe2 2.Qc2
1...Sxe2 2.Sc2
1...Sxd3 2.Sxd3
1...Sxg2 2.Sxg2

From David Shire’s article, a one-phase two-mover in ‘traditional’ style, built around an excellent flight-giving key and ensuing Schiffmann strategy.

Marko Ylijoki

Prize, The Problemist, 2002


Helmpate in 6.5

2.Kb5+ Kb8
3.Qc6  Bc8
4.Kb6  Bxd7
5.Qb5  Bxe6
6.Kc6+ Kc8
7.Qb6  Bd7

Judge Piotr Murdzia was impressed by this combination of rundlaufs by both the black king and queen.

N. Glinski

1st Prize=, Zadachi i Etyudy, 2002


Mate in 3

1.Kg2  (2.Sf3+ Ke3  3.Qe5)

1...Sf6 2.Qb6+ Kxe5 3.Bd6
               Kc3  3.Qb4
1...d2  2.Qc3+ Kxc3 3.Se2
1...Ke3 2.Sg4+ Kd2  3.Qa5
               Kd4  3.Qc5

An old-fashioned Bohemian-style problem quoted by Don Smedley in his selected three-movers. After a flight-giving key, two anticipatory selfblocks are followed by sacrifices to produce model mates. A third model follows when Black takes the flight.

In the September issue Chris Reeves gave his team-leader’s report on the British performance in the 7th WCCT, where Great Britain finished 11th of the 30 participating countries. Jeremy Morse presented the seventh update of his book Chess Problems: Tasks and Records, while Michael McDowell annotated a selection of the work of C.G. Watney. Book reviews covered the FIDE Album for 1995-97 and new collections of the works of Paros, Guidelli and Gamage. The Brian Harley Award for threemovers published in 2000-2002 was published along with the moremovers and helpmates in two awards for 2002. The Supplement featured problems from the Solving Tourney at the Mindsports Olympiad in Manchester, and more from Barry Barnes on the reworking of a Heathcote two-mover.

Peter Olszewski

2nd Prize, The Problemist, 2002


Mate in 4

  (2.Bxg4+ fxg4 3.Rxh4+ gxh4 4.Qe5)

1...e5  2.Rf1 (3.Qxh4+ Kxh4 4.Rh1
                       gxh4 4.Rxf5)
1...Rb5 2.Bd3 (3.Qxg4+ Kxg4 4.Be2
                       fxg4 4.Bg6

A paradoxical idea. Twice White sacrifices his queen on a square just unguarded by a lesser piece, following up with a switchback mate. In the threat it is the bishop and rook which sacrifice themselves to allow a queen mate.

Charles G. Watney (after C. Promislo)

2nd Prize, Class B, Our Folder, February, 1922


Mate in 2

1.Sxd6        (2.Qc8)

1...Qxd6+      2.Sc5
1...Sxd6+      2.Rd4
1...Qd4+       2.Sc4
1...S random + 2.Sc4
1...Qxd5       2.Sf7
1...Sb6,Sc7    2.Sc7
1...exd6       2.Qe8

Watney was one of Britain’s most successful contributors to the magazine of the Good Companions in the early 1920s. This highly complex two-mover features three variations combining half-pin with cross-checks, and there are three double-pin mates.

Walter Byas

The Observer, 1934


Mate in 2

1.Qh5    (2.Sf3)

1...Ke5   2.Sf3
1...gxh5  2.Sf5
1...f any 2.Qh8
1...Qxd5  2.Sxb5
1...S any 2.Se6

A two-mover which served as a gentle and pleasant starter for the solvers in the Mindsports Olympiad Solving Tourney. There are set knight mates at b5 and e6 after random moves of the black queen and knight, but strong moves such as 1...Se4, 1...f3 and 1...fxg5 must be catered for. A pretty flight-giving ambush key does the job.

The November issue was dominated by a report on the 47th WCCC, held at Halkidiki, Greece, the highlights of which (from the British viewpoint) were the solving successes of John Nunn, who won the individual World title, and the GB trio of Friedgood, Mestel and Nunn who took silver medals in the team event behind the Israelis. Various new books were reviewed, including Conquering Kings, a collection by Barry Barnes of British problems featuring white king play, the second volume of Lu Citeroni and Geoff Foster’s collection of problems by Ottavio Stocchi, and Timothy Whitworth’s updated collection of studies by Leonid Kubbel. Colin Russ reviewed the 1967 book Spectacular Chess Problems by Kenneth Howard for In the Library. In the Supplement Charles Frankiss discussed proof games where the black pieces shift along the back rank, and John Rice presented a selection of prizewinners by one of the great names from the Good Companions period, Giorgio Guidelli.

Leonid I Kubbel

Leningradskaya Pravda, 1927


White to play and win

1.a6 e3 2.a7 e2 3.a8Q e1Q 4.Qd5+ Kb4 5.Qd3! and now 5...Qc1 6.Qa3+ Kc4 7.b3+ or 5...Qa1 6.Qc3+ Ka4 7.b3+. Twice the black queen falls to a discovered attack.

William A. Shinkman

Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1875


Mate in 3

1.Qd4 ()

1...cxd4 2.Rf7  and    3.Rc7
1...Kb7  2.Rf7+ Kc6    3.Rc7
                Ka6    3.Qa1
                K else 3.Qh8
1...Kd7  2.Qg4+ Kd8    3.Rf8
                K else 3.Qc8

From Spectacular Chess Problems. A typical Shinkman key.

Giorgio Guidelli

1st Prize, Our Folder, February, 1916


Mate in 2

1.Bf4       (2.Rg5)

1...Bxg2,f3+ 2.Re5
1...Bd3+     2.Se3
1...Bxf5+    2.Be3

A blend of favourite Good Companions themes – cross-check, self-pin and interference, prefaced by an ideal unpinning and line-opening key.

Developed and maintained by Brian Stephenson.