The January magazines contained the text of two lectures, one by John Rice on the series of tourneys run by the BCPS and financed by the BCF between 1929 and 1980, the other by American composer Bob Lincoln, who presented a personal selection of his favourite problems. A number of recent British awardwinners were highlighted, and informal tourney awards published for Studies 2002-2003 and Fairies 2003. In the Library featured a review by Stephen Emmerson of the classic selfmate collection Fata Morgana.

Vincent L. Eaton & Gerald F. Anderson

1st Prize, BCF Ty. No. 88, 1957-1958


Mate in 3

1.Se3    (2.Se7+ Kb6   3.Sc4,Sd5)

1...Rgxe3 2.Qf3+ Rxf3  3.d5
                 Kb6   3.Qb7
1...Rexe3 2.Qe2       (3.Qxa6)
                 Rxe2  3.d5
                 Rd3   3.Qe6
1...Bxe3  2.Qf4       (3.Qd6)
                 Bxf4  3.d5
                 Kb6   3.Qd6
1...Sxe3  2.Qc2+ S any 3.d5
1...Kb6   2.Sc4+ Kc6   3.d5

The 1957-58 tourney for three-movers was one of the strongest of the BCF Tourneys, and first prize went to the famous Anglo-American partnership of Anderson and Eaton. After the flight-giving key, captures of the knight lead to four queen continuations which draw the capturing piece off the line to allow 3.d5.

C. J. Feather

1st HM., Orbit, 2001


Helpmate in 2: 2 solutions

1.Rh3 ??         2.Rb3 B mates

1.Qb1 Sg7 (Se7?) 2.Qb3 Be5
1.Rg3 Se7 (Sg7?) 2.Rb3 Bd6

A lucid scheme from the leading British composer of helpmates. Something must block b3 before the white battery can open. An attempt with the h-rook fails because White has no waiting move. Queen and g-rook can block, leaving White to close the seventh rank. In each line the mating move reclaims a square unguarded by the shut-off.

Dr. Werner Speckmann

Shakhmaty v SSSR, 1965


Mate in 2
(b) Remove wPc6
(c) Further remove wBb7
(d) Further remove wBa5

a) 1.c8S+ Kb8 2.c7
b) 1.c8B  Kb8 2.Sc6
c) 1.c8R  Ka6 2.Ra8
d) 1.c8Q  Kb6 2.Qb7

As a noted composer of miniatures in his own right it is natural that Bob Lincoln should quote from the work of the late expert on the genre. There are a number of miniature two-movers which combine the four promotions, but the unified twinning (which has been called the “striptease” theme...) makes this problem memorable.

The March issue reported on the Final of the 2004-2005 Winton Capital British Chess Solving Championship. Five Solving GMs (including three ex-World Champions) took part, and the event was won by Jonathan Mestel with a perfect score. Amongst the awards published were Longer Helpmates 2003, Fairies 1999 and the Norman Macleod Award for 2002-03, which was shared by Wilfried Neef and Marjan Kovacevic. Also included were obituaries of British study expert Mike Bent, Austrian composer, columnist and publisher Friedrich Chlubna and Israeli solver Alex Ettinger. There were articles on “Static White Queen in the orthodox helpmate” by Mirko Degenkolbe, and the “Schiffmann Attack” by Chris Handloser. In the Supplement Michael Lipton examined a cross-check scheme employed by, amongst others, Mansfield and Wurzburg.

K Grabowski (v. Geoff Foster)

5th Comm., Brisbane Courier, 1916


Mate in 2

1.Rh2    (2.Rc2)

1...f6    2.Sxd4
1...f5    2.Re6
1...d3    2.Rc4
1...S any 2.Qc7
1...Bxe4+ 2.Rc2

A two-mover from the BCSC Final. There are prominent set variations 1...Bxe4+ 2.Bxe4 and 1...gB any 2.Rxd6 to distract the solver from the key.

Wilfried Neef

Norman Macleod Award, 2002-2003


Selfmate in 16

1.Bh8 Qxb1 2.Rhg7+ Kxh8 3.Rg8+ Kxg8 4.Rg7+ Kh8 5.Rg8+ Kxg8 6.Qe6+ Kh8 7.Sf7+ Kg8 8.Sh8+ Kxh8 9.Qe5+ Kg8 10.Sf6+ Kh8 11.Sg8+ Kxg8 12.Qh8+ Kxh8 13.g7+ Kg8 14.e8R+ Kf7 15.g8Q+ Kf6 16.Qg6+ Qxg6

Judge Marjan Kovacevic (who did not judge his own joint-awardwinner!) wrote “Everything is inspired: the colourful initial position, the quiet thematic introduction, and the main part of the play completing a record number of 7th WCCT sacrifices. The icing on the cake comes at the end, when the last white soldiers promote to become heroes on the empty battlefield.”

Mike Bent

3rd HM., Schakend Nederland, 1965


White to play and win

1.d7 Bxe2+ (If 1...Ra1+ 2.Kf2 Rd1 3.Sd3 wins) 2.Sxe2 Ra1+ 3.Sc1! Rxc1+ 4.Ke2 Rc2+ 5.Ke3 (Not 5.Kd3? Rc6!) Rc3+ 6.Ke4 Rc4+ 7.Ke5 Rc5+ 8.Ke6 Rc8 9.dxc8R! wins.

An artistic study by the late Mike Bent, Britain’s most prolific composer of the genre.

The May issue contained reports on two problem meetings, the BCPS weekend at Derby and the Dutch meeting at Nunspeet. The awards for Fairies 2003 and Longer Helpmates 2000 were published, and articles included “A Helpmate Record Challenge” by Sir Jeremy Morse, “Fond Memories, a personal reminiscence” by Cedric Lytton, “A survey of queen and Imitator mates” by Ladislav Belcsak, and in the Supplement “Avoidance of white mate in the reflexmate” by Paul Valois. John Rice and Barry Barnes gave a full obituary of the late Finnish composer and former PCCC President Jan Hannelius, while David Shire reviewed The Complete Studies of Genrikh Kasparyan for In the Library. John Rice reviewed a new book, The Wangling Wizards, a collection of problems by the Warton brothers, compiled by Michael McDowell.

Jan Hannelius

1st Prize, Suomen Tehtäväniekat, 1952


Mate in 2


1...Sed6 2.Rh6
1...Sfd6 2.Rgxg5
1...Kxh5 2.Bf7

1.Qd5  (>2.Qf7)

1...Sed6 2.Rgxg5
1...Sfd6 2.Rh6
1...Kxh5 2.Qf7>

The set half-pin is abandoned, leading to a reciprocal change of mates after the knight defences. Jan Hannelius made over 1000 problems in a composing career that spanned 73 years.

Thomas & Joseph Warton

1st Prize, British Chess Magazine-75 JT, 1955


Mate in 3


1...e4   2.Rg2 Kf3 3.Rxf5

1.Bb7 ()

1...e4   2.Ba6 Kf3 3.Rxf5
1...exd4 2.Bxa3   (3.Bd6)
               e2  3.Bc1

A mutate whose key prepares for an ambush against e2. The Warton brothers delighted solvers for over fifty years with their distinctive problems, built around odd keys and well-hidden manoeuvres.

T. R. Dawson

Hamburger Correspondent, July, 1924


Reflexmate in 4

T.R. Dawson pioneered many themes in the reflexmate. This problem is an early example showing avoidance of White mate. The key is 1.Ke5, and if Black does nothing, White continues 2.Ke4 3.Kf3 and 4.Se2, forcing 4...g1Q mate. Note that 3.Qe5? for 4.Se2 g1Q fails because after 3...Kd8! White must mate with 4.Qb8. Black defends by 1...b5 2.Ke4 Rb6, and now the intended 3.Kf3? fails to 3...Rb8!, forcing 4.Qd7. However 2...Rb6 eliminates the potential queen mate at b8, and White can safely continue 3.Qe5 for 4.Se2 g1Q.

The July Problemist contained a report on the 1st European Chess Solving Championship, won by Finland ahead of Great Britain and Serbia & Montenegro. Historical articles dominated, with Australian problemists Bob Meadley and Geoff Foster selecting from the work of their late countryman J.J. O’Keefe, and Michael Lipton unearthing some “buried two-move treasure” from the period 1914-1928. In the Supplement Michael McDowell went back further to rework a problem by the famous mid-19th century player Lionel Kieseritzky. Chris Reeves continued his investigations into Tertiary Threat Correction, and the Ukranian duo of Valentin Rudenko and Viktor Melnichenko summarized the results of their research into en passant defences. Yochanan Afek stepped in as judge to make the rather belated award for studies from 1990-1991, while John Beasley’s In the library article reviewed B.H. Wood’s collection of 19th century problems from the column of the Illustrated London News.

In the Supplement David Shire explained the popular fairy piece the grasshopper, and strong solver Fred Holt revealed his thought processes while solving a moremover from the January issue. Paul Valois corrected an old Havel three-mover, and John Rice quoted from the three-movers of the late Friedrich Chlubna.

Robert Thomson

1st Prize, Midweek Sports Referee, 1928


Mate in 2

1.Qh8 Waiting

1...Kxd5     2.Qa8
1...S random 2.Qd4
1...Sxe3     2.Sc3 (2.S5f6?)
1...B random 2.S5f6 (2.Sc3?)
1...Bxd5     2.Qh4 (2.Bd3?)
1...exd5     2.Qe8 (2.Qh4?)
1...f2       2.Qh1
1...e5       2.S7f6

A well-keyed problem from one of Scotland’s finest composers, with some intriguing line effects and dual avoidance.

J. J. O'Keefe & W. J. Smith

1st Prize, Good Companions, 22/02/1917


Mate in 2

1.Rf2      (2.Qe6)

1...d5+     2.Qe7
1...Kd5     2.Qf5
1...Ke3     2.Rf4
1...bS any  2.Qd4
1...Sd3,Sf3 2.Qf3

An excellent solving problem, with a double-flight-giving key which disrupts the three set variations 1...d5+ 2.Sc5, 1...bS any 2.Rd4 and 1...eS random 2.Bg2.

Vitaly Kovalenko

5th Comm., The Problemist, 1990-1991


White to play and win

Black is threatening mate, and 1.Bh3? fails after 1…Re8+ 2.Bc8 Rxc8+. White plays for mate by 1.Bc6! Rh5 2.Be8! Rh8 3.a8S+ Ka6 4.Sc7+ Kb6 5.Sd5+ Ka6 6.b5+ Ka5 7.b4.

In the September issue Jeremy Morse presented the eighth update of his book Chess Problems: Tasks and Records, while Russian composer Andrei Spirin detailed his researches into strategic combinations with promoted pieces. John Rice continued his review of recent British awardwinners and reported on this year’s meeting at Messigny. The informal awards for Retros 2003-2004 and Twomovers 2003 were published. The Supplement included a selection of problems by Petko Petkov, and an explanatory article by David Shire on the popular fairy piece the Nightrider.

Yakov Rossomakho

3rd Place, Baltic Sea Ty., 1991-1993


Mate in 2

1.Qf3  (>2.Qe4)

1...Kxd3 2.Bf5
1...Rxd3 2.Kf5
1...Sxd3 2.Sf5
1...cxd3 2.f5
1...Bd5  2.Qxd5

A notable task, showing 4 defences on d3 met by mates on f5.

Petko Petkov

1st Prize=, Shakhmatna misl, 1979


Mate in 5

1.Rf7 (>2.Sxc7+ Kf4 3.Se6+ Kf5 4.Se8+  Ke4 5.Sd6

1...Qb8 2.Sxd4+ Kf4 3.Se6+ Kf5 4.Sxd5+ Ke4 5.Sc3
1...Bg4 2.Sxh7+ Ke4 3.Sf6+ Kf5 4.Sf8+  Kf4 5.Sxg6

A clear-cut example of Petkov’s composing skill. In three variations the front piece of a battery captures on the second move to free a square from which the other front piece will deliver the mating check three moves later.

Mike Bent

Sp. Prize, diagrammes, 2002-2003


White to play and draw

A simple but elegant idea typical of the late Mike Bent. It was awarded a Special Prize by judge Jonathan Mestel to mark Mike’s lifetime achievement as Britain’s most prolific study composer. 1.Bd1+ Kb5 2.Ba4+ Kxa4 and now the line is cleared for the white queen 3.Qd1+ Kb5 4.Qh5+ Qxh5 stalemate.

The November issue contained various reports on events at the 48th World Congress of Chess Composition, held at Eretria, Greece, where, in the solving World Championship Great Britain won the team title, with Jonathan Mestel and John Nunn taking silver and bronze respectively in the individual event. The duo were also successful in the Open solving event, Nunn winning gold and Mestel silver. Geoff Foster and Bob Meadley presented an article on Australian composer Arthur Mosely and his column in the Brisbane Courier, while In the Library reviewed the famous mid-19th century work Collection des plus beaux problèmes d’échecs by Aaron Alexandre.

In the Supplement Juraj Lörinc examined the fairy piece known as the Lion, John Rice annotated a selection of the work of the late Alex Casa, and Steve Giddins presented some studies with which to torment your team-mates.

Arthur Mosely

1st Prize, Northern Whig, 1912


Mate 2

1.Se4   (>2.Re8)

1...Kxe4  2.Re8
1...dxe4  2.Bd4
1...Bxe4  2.d4
1...fxe4  2.Qe6
1...Scxe4 2.Rxd5
1...Sfxe4 2.Sxd3
1...Rxe4  2.Qxf5
1...Qxe4  2.Qh8

A famous problem, showing an eight-fold sacrifice of the white knight.

Julius Mendheim

Taschenbuch für Schachfreunde, 1814


Mate in 5 with the pawn,
without capturing the rook

Not many problems from the early 19th century are still worth a diagram today, but this conditional, with its superb second move, is one. 1.Qc8+ Rb8 2.Ke7!! Rxc8 3.Bg2+ Kb8 4.Ba7+ Kxc7 5.b6

Alex Casa

2nd HM., Tidskrift för Schack, 1953


Mate in 2

Set play:

1...Sbxd4 2.Bd5
1...Scxd4 2.Bd3
1...Qxd4  2.Qg2

1.Sd5   (>2.Qh4)

1...Sbxd4 2.Sxf6
1...Scxd4 2.Sc3
1...Qxd4  2.Qf3

A problem showing selfblocks with dual avoidance, known as Stocchi blocks. In the diagram, if a dummy piece blocked d4, White would have three mates, 2.Bd5, 2.Bd3 and 2.Qg2. Various effects contained in each black capture ensure that only one mate works each time. After the key move the arrival of a dummy piece on d4 would allow three new mates, 2.Sxf6, 2.Sxc3 and 2.Qf3, and again these are accurately separated.

Developed and maintained by Brian Stephenson.