Thursday, December 25, 2008

Puzzles of the season

Best Wishes for all!

As is customary this time of the year, riddles and problems have started to appear (one per day from 25-12-2008 to 01-01-2009) at the web address Chessbase Puzzles.

Problems for year 2008 :
25-12-2008 : Play Santa-giving-presents. Read biographical details of John Nunn, who selects and annotates this year's problems. Solve the direct-mate moremover. Do not hesitate to give Knight (easy) and Queen (where?) in order to achieve eventually mate with subpromotion of c7.
26-12-2008 : In the five-mover helpmate (where black plays first) close for a while the Bishop, which will go finally to g8.
27-12-2008 : The study can start with a checking-key, (since Black can mate in 3 moves), let us say with the Bishop on h4.
28-12-2008 : In the six-mover selfmate, (White plays and forces Black to win with mate,) two knights are sacrificed first.
29-12-2008 : To avoid the diabolical trap of stalemate in this study, give the Rook on the fourth move and the Queen on the tenth.
30-12-2008 : Eleven Black moves (begin with Re5, end with Be8) and then one White move (dxe8=Q) stalemate! It is very interesting to discover the intermediate moves.
31-12-2008 : For the five-mover selfmate, the Bishop makes a big clockwise round to d2 and the Queen is sacrificed on the other side.
01-01-2009 : Starting from the initial placing of the pieces for playing a game, we reach the position of the diagram after the ninth move of the White. The Shortest Proof Game is a nice problem with Retroanalysis. (The page that shows this problem contains a form on the upper left corner for everyone wanting to send solutions and comments to John Nunn).

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
You may read the solutions with comments here or you may replay the solutions here.

(This post in Greek language).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Harry Fougiaxis (1)

The International Master on Composition of chess problems Harry Fougiaxis writes about himself (from "Harry Fougiaxis 40 Jubilee Tourney" pamphlet edited by the Greek Chess Problem Committee, December 2006) :

"I was born on April 20th 1966 in Athens. I graduated as an electronic engineer from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and I am currently working as an instrument and industrial automation engineer in oil and gas applications. I am not married.
My father taught me the moves of chess at the age of 7 or so, and three years later I joined a local chess club. I was soon hooked and quite liked the friendly atmosphere there. So I started studying intensively, but after some time I realised that I could not really withstand the pressure of competitive OTB chess.
Meanwhile I was frequently finding that I was more and more thrilled by the chess problems that I encountered in Triantafyllos Siaperas's weekly newspaper columns, even if I was just average as a solver. My very first attempts to compose were when I was about 15. The Greek chess problemists' society had announced a national competition for beginners and I sent in a couple of entries. Thus I came to meet Byron Zappas, Dimitris Kapralos, Pantelis Martoudis and Nikos Siotis, who used to have regular meetings; they all helped me a lot with their comments and with chess literature. However, my first "true" teacher turned out to be living some 500 km away: it was Pavlos Moutecidis who influenced me the most. We exchanged letters continuously for more than 5 years and we eventually became close friends, despite the distance and the age difference. Strangely, I was not particularly attracted by selfmates (Pavlos's specialty), but by helpmates, which I have studied continuously for the past 25 years.
I have so far published about 150 problems, certainly not many, the vast majority being h#2s, some with orthodox and some with fairy units. I should admit that I have been rather lazy lately, composing only occasionally (during PCCC meetings, for instance), but my interest to chess problems has never faded. It was a great honour and pleasure to host the PCCC congresses in Greece in 2004 and 2005, with the support of the Greek Chess Federation and of the few, but hard-working Greek problemists. I was awarded the title of International Master in 2001 and I have acted as a FIDE Album judge four times".

The untired Harry Fougiaxis continues supporting various events, as you may see in the recent Solving Contest in Patras, doing his best for the Greek Chess.

(Problem 271)
Harry Fougiaxis,
First Prize, Rex Multiplex, 1985
Helpmate in 2 moves. Two solutions.
h#2, 2111, (9 + 5)

Key : 1.Rf4-f2! Rf7-f3 (A) 2.Be6-d5 Bg4-d7# (B)
Key : 1.Be6-c8! Bg4-d7 (B) 2.Rf4-d4 Rf7-f3# (A)

Masked white batteries. Bi-colour Bristol manoeuvres. Black interferences. Black moves along the pin-lines. Diagonal / Orthogonal echo.

(Problem 272)
Harry Fougiaxis,
Second Prize, U S Problem Bulletin, 1988
Helpmate in 3 moves. Two solutions.
h#3, 211111, (4 + 6)

Key : 1.Bb6-c5! Sa5-c6 2.Kd5-c4 a2-a4 3.Rd1-d5 Sb3-a5#
Key : 1.Rc3-c4! Sb3-d4 2.Kd5-c5 a2-a3 3.Ba8-d5 Sa5-b3#

Changed self-blocks on bK initial square. White pawn 1-2 step moves. Diagonal / Orthogonal echo. Model mates.

(Problem 273)
Harry Fougiaxis,
Second Prize, U S Problem Bulletin, 1989
Helpmate in 2. Grasshoppers a8, g4, g8. Nightriders b3, b4, c1, h6, h7.
Twin with wGa8 => wGa7.
a) h#2, (4 + 6), Grasshoppers (3 + 0), Nightriders (3 + 2)
b) wGa8 => wGa7

The Grasshopper is a hopper (moves on a row or file or diagonal and goes exactly behind a hurdle). (Explanation here together with another problem by Harry Fougiaxis).
The Nightrider is a rider (linear piece moving with multiple Knight-steps).
The problem (a) is shown on the diagram.
To create problem (b), the white Grasshopper of a8 is placed on a7.

(a) Key : 1.Nb3-f5! Nh7-d5+ 2.Kc4-d4 Gg4-g7#
(b) Key : 1.Nb4-f6! Nh6-d4+ 2.Kc4-d5 Gg8-g5#

Interesting geometrical play including Nightrider moves with opposite vectors. Note that in b) the pin of bNf6 by the wNh7 plays no active role in mate!

(This post in Greek language).

Monday, December 15, 2008

White - Black

I can not write about chess and chess problems, when a certain fact presented to us without proper study as isolated, keeps running in my thoughts.
Perhaps a composer would decide to transcribe the tragic theme into a slow-playing music, but he should not be surprised if this music actually sounds like a march.
The key-word these days is anger and it will be a task if they can manage to repress the reaction - already growing as if touched by a fairy - without significant changes.
Even with the help of a perverter of justice they can not present the facts with reverse meaning, saying that the victim itself was guilty and the shooter was innocent.
The uniqueness of a boy has a fabulous value, that no economy can estimate.
It has a beauty, that even the art can not easily describe.
Since I have a special interest for Greece, I find it very difficult to function as solver or as problemist using the grey cells of my brain.
What I see is white - black.

White coffin – black future.

2008-12-06, Athens Greece, a peaceful Saturday afternoon :
A 15-year old boy was deadly wounded in the middle of the street with a bullet in the heart, when a cursing policeman fired at it three times.
Many by-standers have testified that this happened without any provocation from the boy.
The reaction is in the news.

(This post in Greek language).

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Greek Compositions in the World Congress 2008, Jurmala

The 51st World Congress of Chess Composition (WCCC) took place in Jurmala of Latvia, 30 August - 06 September 2008.
The Greek colors in the area of composition were represented by the composers mr Kostas Prentos from Salonica and mr Panagiotis Konidaris from Meganissi Lefkadas.

Champagne Tourney (Champagne is a beverage from France)
Judge : the French Michel Caillaud, GM in composition and GM in Solving, who has specified the following theme:

Theme : Retroanalytic problem where a piece is pinned in two different lines.
Group A : Shortest Proof Games (SPG).
Group B : Any other kind of Retro problem.
Mythical conditions are allowed (at most two in any phase of the problem).

In Group A, Second Prize was awarded to a composition by Kostas Prentos, who is champion of Greece in Solving chess problems, for a long series of years.
In Group B, a Prize was awarded to a composition by four composers, the Romanians Vlaicu Crisan and Eric Huber and Paul Raican and the Greek Kostas Prentos.

(Problem 266)
Kostas Prentos,
Second Prize, Champagne tourney group A, Jurmala 2008
Position after the 19th move of the Black. Which were the moves of the game?
SPG 19 (13 + 16)

"SPG 19" means "Shortest Proof Game in 19 full moves (white and black)". We must start the chess game from the initial position of the 32 pieces and reach the position of the diagram in 19 moves.

1.Key : e4! h5
2.Be2 h4
3.Bh5 (pin line 1 : h5-f7-e8) a5
4.Qg4 a4
5.Se2 a3
6.0-0 axb2
7.a4 Rh6
8.Ra3 Rg6
9.Rf3 f5
10.d3 Kf7 (pin line 2 : f3-f5-f7)
11.Bg5 Ke6 (pin line 3 : g4-f5-e6)
12.Sd2 Ke5
13.Rb1 fxe4
14.Sc1 Kd4 (pin line 4 : g4-e4-d4)
15.c4 Kc3
16.Sdb3 exd3 (pin line 5 : f3-d3-c3)
17.Qe4 Kc2 (pin line 6 : e4-d3-c2)
18.g4 Kd1
19.Kg2 d2

Judge's comment : A record presentation of 6 different pin-lines for the thematical Pf7 cannot be ignored by the judge. The first pin shows some strategical play with unpinning; the following are of the shielding type, accompanying black king in its walk, some of them being hardly exploited (f3-f5-f7 is of little use as King has to escape g4-f5-e6 before fxe4 is played).

(Problem 267)
Vlaicu Crisan, Eric Huber, Paul Raican (Romania) & Kostas Prentos (Greece)
Prize, Champagne Tourney group B, Jurmala 2008
We retract 7 moves and then Mate in 1 move. Condition [Circe assassin].
-7 Proca Retractor, #1 Circe assassin (5 + 8)

Here are some needed explanations :

-n Proca Retractor : White takes back n legal moves. Black is not helping, but selects moves that will bring difficulties to the plan of the White. After the retraction of the moves, the solution proceeds forward.
This specification took its name from the composer Zeno Proca (1906-1936).
(A different type of retractor is Hoeg Retractor, where a helpful Black decides if the black move was a capture and chooses the type of the white piece that were captured. This specification took its name from the composer Dr. Niels Hοeg (1876-1951)).

Circe assassin : The captured piece appears on its square of regeneration even if the square was occupied. The piece that had occupied the rebirth square is lost. If the occupier before the capture is a King, he is in check. (See here and here for the condition Circe).

The solution starts with moves backwards :

-1.Sc5-b3 Bb1-a2+ (The Sb3, which were pinned on b3 closing the threat of Ba2, returns to c5. The Ba2, which was checking since Ba2xe6(+wPe2) assassinates the white King, returns to b1)

-2.e5-e6 Bc1-b2+ / Ba3-b2+ (The Pawn e6 returns to e5. The Bb2, checking from there since Bb2xe5(+wPe2) assassinates the white King, returns (let us say) to c1)

-3.Se6-c5 Rb6-b5+ (The Sc5, which were pinned on c5 closing the threat of Rb5, returns to e6. The Rb5, which was checking since Rb5xe5(+wPe2) assassinates the white King, returns to b6)

-4.Kf2-e2 g4-g3+ (The Ke2 returns to f2. The pawn from g3 (from where was checking) returns to g4)

-5.Sd8-e6 Rb5-b6+ (The Se6, which were pinned on e6 closing the threat of Rb6, returns to d8. The Rb6, which was checking since Rb6xf6(+wPf2) assassinates the white King, returns to b5)

-6.f5-f6 Ba2-b1+ / b2-b1=B+ (The Pawn f6 returns to f5. The Bb1, which was checking since Bb1xf5(+wPf2) assassinates the white King, could be a Pb2 promoted to Bishop on b1, but let us say that is a black Bishop which comes from a2)

-7.Sf7-d8 (The Sd8 returns to f7).

And now the solution proceeds with forward moves for [Mate in 1 move] :

1.Key : Kg3!# ([2.Kg3xh3(+bPh7)] with instant assassination of the bK)
The black King is mated! The squares h6, h8 are guarded by the wSf7 and the square g6 is observed by the wPf5. Also 1...Kg7 2.Kxg4(+bPg7) and 1...Kg8 2.KxSg2(+bSg8).

Judge's comment : Nice use of Circe Assassin condition with typical pins and mating move. White Knight is pinned on 3 different lines.

Sixth Tzuica Tourney (Tzuica is a beverage from Romania)
Judges : the Romanians Vlaicu Crisan and Eric Huber, who proposed the following theme :

Theme : Helpselfmates (hs#n) or Helpselfstalemates (hs=n) with Orthogonal / Diagonal Transformation (ODT).
All fairy conditions and pieces are allowed

(Problem 268)
Kostas Prentos,
Second prize, Tzuica Tourney, Jurmala 2008
Helpselfmate in 4 moves.
hs#4 2111... (6 + 7)

Notes :
Helpself - problem is a help-problem in the initial n-1 moves (Black plays first and helps), which becomes self-problem in the last move (Black is forced to play). The final goal is mate (for hs#n problems) or stalemate (for hs=n problems).
ODT : Orthogonal / Diagonal Transformation : That which happens on rows and columns, happens again on diagonals.

Key : 1.Re7! (blocks a future flight) Rh8 (prepares a Rook – Bishop battery)
2.Bg8 (covers, to allow the King to take position) Bd5
3.Ke8 Bxg8 (the battery is complete, with annihilation of the white piece)
4.Qc6+ (the Queen gives check) Be6# (the battery is activated)

Key : 1.Bb5! (blocks a future flight) Bh1 (prepares a Bishop - Rook battery)
2.Rg2 (covers, to allow the King to take position) Rg8
3.Kc6 Rxg2 (the battery is complete, with annihilation of the white piece)
4.Qf8+ (the Queen gives check) Rg7# (the battery is activated)

Judge's comment : Reciprocal black batteries obtained in a very economical setting. In each solution the white piece shielding the wK is captured by its black counterpart, creating a battery. The black battery is activated by wQ checks. Mates are model and are achieved by simple (not double) check. An amazing achievement by the Greek composer for his first helpselfmate problem!

8th Sake Tourney (Sake is a beverage from Japan)
The Japanese Sake Tourney this year is dedicated to the memory of Masazumi Hanazawa
(1944-2007), who was one of the pioneering composers in Japan.
Judge : Tadashi Wakashima from Japan, who proposed the following theme :

Theme : Fairy Helpmate#n (n <= 4). Exact Echo. Zeroposition is not allowed.

Note : Zeroposition is an initial position, from which (with small changes) twin problems are produced.

(Problem 269)
Kostas Prentos,
First Prize, Sake Tourney, Jurmala 2008
Helpmate in 3 moves. Transmuted Kings. Four solutions.
h#3, 411111, Transmuted Kings, (2 + 2)

Note : When the Transmuted Kings are threatened by a piece, they move and capture in a way similar with the movement of the threatening piece. (If the wK is threatened by a bR leaves his square moving like a wR).

Key : 1.Rc3-c1! Re8-e7 2.Rc1-a1+ Ka8-h8 3.Ra1-g1 Re7-h7#

Key : 1.Rc3-b3! Re8-h8+ 2.Kh1-a1 Rh8-h7 3.Rb3-b1 Rh7-a7#

Key : 1.Rc3-c7! Re8-e1+ 2.Kh1-h8 Re1-b1 3.Rc7-h7 Rb1-b8#

Key : 1.Rc3-c8+! Ka8-a1 2.Rc8-c2 Re8-b8 3.Rc2-h2 Rb8-b1#

Judge's comment : Most suited to the spirit of the tourney. What is the most surprising is the fact that this could be done without any artificial twinning. I just love it!

Quick Composing Tourney, Helpmates section
Judge : The Greek Harry Fougiaxis, who proposed the following theme :

Theme : In a helpmate two-mover, with W1 (=first white move) a black piece is unpinned. Fairy conditions and pieces are allowed.

(Problem 270)
Kostas Prentos & Panagiotis Konidaris,
First-Second Honourable Mention, Quick Composing Tourney, Jurmala 2008
Helpmate in 2 moves. Two solutions.
h#2, 2111, (6 + 9)

Key : 1.Sf3-h4! (blocks a flight) Be7-b4 (unpins bRf6, covers bRa4)
2 .Rf6-f5 (the unpinned piece blocks a flight) Rg2xg3# (captures the pinned bSf3)

Key : 1.Bb1-g6! (blocks a flight) Rg2-b2 (unpins bSf3, covers bBa1)
2.Sg3-f5 (the unpinned piece blocks a flight) Be7xf6# (captures the pinned bRf6)

Judge's comment : Surprising and aesthetically very pleasing shut-offs in the W1 moves, but the black play (comprising of square blocks only) even if accurate is less sophisticated.

(This post in Greek language).

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Solving Contest 2008-11-23, Chess Club of Patras

Sunday 23/11/2008, from [Chess Club of Patras Greece] site

Mr Pountzas is the winner
The Solving Contest of Patras was succesful. First winner was mr. Pountzas Chryssanthos, second winner was mr. Manolas Emmanuel, third winner was the 14-years(!) old Konstantinos Smpoukis. Very promising was also the fifth place for miss Antzela Mavromati (the only woman among contestants). The always faultless organizer Harry Fougiaxis gave prestige to the contest, while new horizons were opened for Fairy Chess by mr. Manolas Emmanuel.
(photo: Left to write, the arbitre Harry Fougiaxis, Manolas, Pountzas, Smpoukis)

More photos and the problems can be found here.

Saturday 01-11-2008

After 20 years, the Chess Problem Solving reappears in Patras, which has seen great solvers in the past. A Solving Contest will be held in the Chess Club of Patras : Sunday 23-11-2008, 11:00 pm. See details (in Greek) at the site of the Chess Club.

(This post in Greek language).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Incoming links : 2008-02-07 to 2008-10-31

I would like to thank all the persons, who have honoured me by putting a link from their blog or their site pointing to my blog [] .

The links were not equally effective, and this was expected of course. Some visitors follow the link, take a peek and never see those pages again. Hundreds of others study systematically, re-entering over 250 times, and staying several minutes in the pages of my blog.

In the period of operation of this blog, from 07-02-2008 to 31-10-2008, 2454 persistent visitors came from the following addresses. (In front of each address we write the present ranking and in parentheses the ranking of the address three months ago).

01 (01) From (Chess Club Zenon Glyfada) came 675 visitors.
02 (02) From (Chess blog, Cat of Schroendinger) came 303 visitors.
03 (03) From (Writer – Solver Panagiotis Konidaris) came 212 visitors.
04 (06) From (english speaking version of this blog) came 186 visitors.
05 (04) From (school, 4th General Lykeio of Kallithea) came 161 visitors.
06 (05) From (Chess Club of Patras) came 129 visitors.
07 (11) From (Chess Club of Aegaleo) came 72 visitors.
08 (10) From (Science Fiction Club of Athens) came 69 visitors.
09 (07) From (Piotr Murdzia, Solver from Poland) came 54 visitors.
10 (09) From (Chess in schools, Ilias Economopoulos) came 45 visitors.

The following sources brought less visitors :

11 (18) (New Palamede, Club Avax and Pessi)
12 (08) (school, 6th General Lykeio of Kallithea)
13 (12) (Zatrikion, mr. Anyfantis)
14 (--) (Chess Club of Thesprotia)
15 (15) (Alice Montez)
16 (--) (Chess Club SOP - SMAOK)
17 (30) (Chess player – The official page of Chess Union of Salonika and ESK)
18 (--) (Chess Educational Club of Elefsina)
19 (28) (Chess Springtime)
20 (14) (Free Chess, Herakleion Attica)
21 (22) (Greekbase - Your Online Chess Supporter)
22 (16) (Weaver, mr Anyfantis)
23 (17) (mr Brian Stephenson, British Chess Problem Society)
24 (21) (Edessa – Chess Update)
25 (--) (Creation and Entertainment)
26 (--) (Greek Wikipedia)
27 (20) (Union of Chess Clubs of Attica)
28 (--) (Problemas de Xadrez - Roberto Stelling from Brazil)
29 (24) (Navigating up-stream I search for Hope, Alexandra)
30 (--) (Altathor)
31 (25) (Greek Chess Weblog)
32 (34) (ANemos)
33 (13) (Chess Club of Pyrgos Greece)
34 (19) (Digital Greece, Broadcasting with Nikos Vassilakos)

From the following addresses the visitors came only once.

35 (23) (Greg's page, Pitselos)
36 (26) (Patra Chess - Makis Loukeris)
37 (27) (Swimming Around - Angela Lucy)
38 (29) (Tales of a Crazy World - Panagiotis Koustas)
39 (31) (Sukumus Fabulus Est - Dimitris Arvanitis)
40 (32) (Foufoutos)
41 (33) (Staying awake...)
42 (35) (Chess Union of Volos Greece)
42 (--) (ChessVibes)
43 (--) (Chess Pellets - Joaquim Crusats from Spain)

If someone is not included by mistake, please leave me a message to correct the omission. Thank you again.

(Similar list for the blog in Greek language).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Emmanuel Manolas (2)

The problems we see here belong to Fairy Chess, because they all have the condition Madrasi, (which is my favourite).

Madrasi : Opponent pieces of the same type are paralysed when they threaten one another. Each piece loses all other properties and keeps only the power of paralysing the opponent similar piece. Each piece regains all its properties at the moment the threat is interrupted.

The condition took its name from the city Madras of India, from which came the famous composer Abdul Jabbar Karwatkar. We will see first an excellent problem of his.

(Problem 261)
Abdul Jabbar Karwatkar,
First Prize, The Problemist 1983,
Mate in 2. Madrasi condition.
#2, Madrasi, ( 11 + 10 )

Key : 1.Bf8! (bBh6 is paralyzed, the threat is [2.Se4xg5#], but the wK is exposed to four checks)
1...Qxb6+ 2.d8=Q#
1...Rxe5+ 2.d8=S#
1...Rd5+ 2.d8=R#
1...Bxb6+ 2.d8=B#

The problem shows the four promotions (it is an Allumwandlung (AUW) problem).

We see next original Madrasi problems by Manolas Emmanuel, (you may also see a Retro Madrasi 5-mover already presented here).

(Problem 262)
Manolas Emmanuel,
Mate in 2. Madrasi condition.
#2, Madrasi, (5 + 3)

Tries : {1.Ka8? / Ka7? Kc8!}, {1.Sf6-g4? / Sf6-h5? / Sf6-h7? / Sf6-g8? / Sf6xe8? Kd7!}, {1.Sf6-d7? Kxd7!}.

Key : 1.Sd5-e7! [2.Se7-c6# / Ba5# / Rd1#]
1...Bh6 2 Se7-c6#
1...Rxe7 2 Ba5#
1...Bxe7 2 Rd1#

With the key three threats are introduced but later they are separated.

(Problem 263)
Manolas Emmanuel,
Mate in 2. Madrasi condition.
#2, Madrasi, (6 + 5)

Tries : {1.Kc7? (zz) / Kd6? (zz) / Kc8? (zz) / Ke6? (zz) Ke8!}, {1.Sh6-f5? (zz) / Sh6xg8? (zz) Kf7!}, {1.Sh6-f7? (zz) Kxf7!}.

Key : 1.Sc6-d4! [2.Sd4-e6# / Ra8# / Ba3#]
1...Rh4~ 2.Sd4-e6#
1...Rh4xd4 2.Ba3#
1...Bh8~ 2.Sd4-e6#
1...Bxd4 2.Ra4-a8#

The key cuts two lines of paralysis with triple threat, but in the variations only one of the threats is valid.

(Problem 264)
Manolas Emmanuel,
Mate in 18. Madrasi condition.
#18, Madrasi, (10 + 11)

In this more-mover problem the bK has minimum mobility and the wK has the ease to go and free its piece which will give the mate.
We show only the moves of the White.

Key : 1.Ka4! 2.Ka3 3.Ka2 4.Kb1 5.Kc2
6.Kd3 7.Kxe3 8.Kf2 9.Kg3 10.Kh4
11.Kg5 12.Kxf5 13.Ke6 14.Kf7 15.Kxg8
16.Rd8-d2 17.Rd2-a2 18.Ra2xa6#

(Problem 265)
Manolas Emmanuel,
Mate in 3. Madrasi condition.
#3, Madrasi, (7 + 5)

The plan seems to be simple : One wR will sidestep to threat mate, the bR will stop it and then the other wR will be interposed... Let us see :

Try : {1.Rc5? Rc1!}.
Try : {1.Rc3? Rc1!}.
Try : {1.Re3? Bxe3!}.

Key : 1.Re5! [2.Re8+ Re1 3.Rd3-e3#]
1...Re1 2.Rd3-e3 [3.Re8# / Ba5#]
___2...Bxe3 3.Re5-e8#
___2...Bf4 3.Ba5#

(This post in Greek language).

Monday, November 03, 2008

Eight studies (Exercise 7)

A solution contest (De Feijter Study Competition) with eight studies was held in 2003, at Deventer in Holland. Several solvers participated, and some of them were champions in their countries.

What happened there was unprecedented. Mr Daniel Stellwagen, a 16 years old solver from Holland, solved all the studies in perfect manner. Today Stellwagen is Grand Master in chess, a solver and a composer.

The studies presented various grades of difficulty. The percentage of the solved studies is shown below :
Study 3rd: 81,25% (Zachodjakin, 1930)
Study 7th: 70,83% (Vukcevich, 1951)
Study 2nd: 65,58% (Bergqwist, 2002)
Study 6th: 56,67% (Clausen, 1927)
Study 5th: 45,83% (Bazlov, 1971)
Study 1st: 39,58% (Smyslov, 2000)
Study 4th: 35,00% (Stavrietsky/Ryabinin, 1999)
Study 8th: 30,00% (Smyslov, 2000)

The points of the solvers (7 points per study) were the following :
01 Daniel Stellwagen: 56
02 Marcel van Herck: 47, (4 times champion of Belgium)
03 Hans Boehm: 37
04 Eddy van Beers: 34
05 Harold v.d. Heijden: 32
06 Dolf Wissmann: 32, (champion of Holland in 1999)
07 Bert v.d. Marel: 26
08 Peter v.d. Heuvel: 25
09 Ed van de Gevel: 25
10 Harm Benak: 19
11 Andy Ooms: 12
12 Ward Stoffelen: 5

We took these studies (and the rest of the information) from the page with puzzle-17 of the Chessbase and we present them here. The impatient readers can see the solutions, prepared nicely by TD Rene Olthof, here.

Our proposal : Try to solve these studies. Take your time. After a few days we will post the solutions and you will compare these with your solutions. (Look at the end of this post).

Study 1st
(Problem 253)
Smyslov V.
Moi Etyudi #41, 2000
White plays and draws
= (4 + 5)

Study 2nd
(Problem 254)
Bergqwist D.
Tidskrift for Schack, 2002
White plays and wins
+ (9 + 7)

Study 3rd
(Problem 255)
Zachodjakin G.
First Prize, Shakmaty Listok, 1930
White plays and draws
= (5 + 4)

Study 4th
(Problem 256)
Stavrietsky / Ryabinin
Studium, 1999
White plays and wins
+ (4 + 4)

Study 5th
(Problem 257)
Bazlov Y.
First Prize, Shakmaty v SSSR, 1971
White plays and wins
+ (4 + 3)

Study 6th
(Problem 258)
Clausen S.
2nd/3rd prize, Sveriges SF, 1927
White plays and wins
+ (5 + 4)

Study 7th
(Problem 259)
Vukcevich M.
White plays and draws
= (3 + 4)

Study 8th
(Problem 260)
Smyslov V.
Moi Etyudi #44, 2000
White plays and draws
= (4 + 4)

(2008-11-07) Here are the solutions of the studies

Study 1st : Smyslov, V. - White plays and draws

Key : 1.Rg1! (the wR must stop the promotion of the Pawn) Bd3
2.h6 (planning 3.Rg7+ 4.Ra7, not 2.Ra1? Bb1 3.Kd6 h6!! –+ Black wins) Kf6
3.Ra1 Bb1
4.Kd6 (zz) Kf5 (or 4...Kg6 5.Kxe6 Kxh6 6.Kf6 Kh5 7.Kg7 h6 8.f5 Bxf5 9.Rxa2 = draw)
5.Ke7! (not 5.Kd7? e5! 6.fxe5 Kxe5 7.Ke7 Kd4 8.Kf6 Kc3 9.Kg7 Kb2 10.Rxa2+ Kxa2 –+ Black wins]) Kxf4
6.Kxe6 Kg5 (or 6...Ke4 7.Kf6 Kd3 8.Kg7 Kc3 9.Rxa2 Bxa2 10.Kxh7 Bb1+ 11.Kg7 = draw)
7.Kf7! Kxh6
8.Kg8! Kg6
9.Kh8 h5
10.Rxa2 Bxa2 = (stalemate!)

Study 2nd : Bergqwist, D. - White plays and wins

Key : 1.Qe7+! Rxe7
2.f8=S+ Rxf8
3.gxf8=S+ Kxe8
4.d7+ Qxd7
5.Sf6+ Bxf6+
6.Se6+ Kf7 (if 6...Bxh8 7.Rf8#)
7.Rf8+ Kxe6 (if 7...Kg6 8.R8xf6+ Kh7 9.Rxh5+ Kg8 10.Rf8#)

Study 3rd : Zachodjakin, G. - White plays and draws

Key : 1.g7+! Sxg7 (if 1...Kg8 2.Sg4 f1=Q 3.Sf6+ Kf7 4.g8=Q#)
2.Sf7+ Kg8
3.Bc5! f1=Q
4.Sh6+ Kh8
5.Bd6! = (and this is a positional draw, because if the bS is lifted then wB checks the bK from the square e6, where the wB cannot be captured by the bQ, because of the fork of the wS).

Study 4th : Stavrietsky / Ryabinin - White plays and wins

Key : 1.d8=S! [2.Sf7+ [3.Be4#]] (not 1.d8=Q? Rf4+! = draw)
1...Re8+ (not 1...Bxd8? 2.Bxe4 Be7+ 3.Rxe7 d1=Q 4.Rh7#, nor 1...Rf4+? 2.Sf7+ Rxf7+ 3.Kxf7 d1=Q 4.Rb8+ Bd8 5.Rxd8#)
2.Kxe8 d1=Q
3.Kf8 Bb4+ (not 3...Qxd3? 4.Sf7+ Kh7 5.Se5+ +– White wins)
4.Rxb4 Qf3+ (not 4...Qxd3? 5.Rh4+ Qh7 6.Sf7#)
5.Bf5 (not 5.Sf7+? Qxf7+ 6.Kxf7 = stalemate) Qxf5+ (if 5...Qh5 6.Rh4 Qxh4 7.Sf7#)
6.Sf7+ Kh7
7.Rh4+ Kg6

Study 5th : Bazlov, Y. - White plays and wins

Key : 1.Rh5+! (not 1.Sxa8? Ka6!) Ka4
2.Sxa8 Rc1 (not 2...Ka3 3.Rh2! +- )
3.Sb6+ (not 3.Rh6? Ka3 = ) Ka3
4.Rb5! Ka2 (not 4...Rxa1 5.Sc4+ Ka2 6.Rb2#)
5.Sb3 Rb1
6.Sc4! Rxb3
7.Ra5+ Kb1
8.Sd2+ + (White wins)

Study 6th : Clausen, S. - White plays and wins

Key : 1.f7! (not 1.Ba7? Rxg6 2.f7 Rf6 = draw, nor 1.gxh7? Ra2+ 2.Ba7 Rxh7 = draw) Rf1
2.gxh7 (not 2.f8=Q? Rxf8+ 3.Rxf8 Rxg6 = draw) Rh2
3.Bf2! Rfxf2
4.Rg2 (not 4.Rb8+? Kc6 5.Rc8+ Kd7 6.Rc2 Rxc2 7.f8=Q Ra2+ 8.Kb7 Rhb2+ -+ Black wins) Rhxg2
5.h8=Q Rxf7
6.Qe8+ (if 6.Qe5+ Kb6 7.Qe6+) +- White wins

Study 7th : Vukcevich, M. - White plays and draws

Key : 1.Bd3! (not 1.Kc3? Sd3 -+ Black wins, nor 1.Ka4? Sd3 2.Bxd3 e1=Q 3.Rb3 Qd1 -+ Black wins)
1...Sxd3 (not 1...b1=Q+ 2.Bxb1 Kxb1 3.Re8 = draw)
2.Kc2 [3.Ra8#] Sc1 (not [2...e1=S+ 3.Kd2 b1=Q 4.Rxb1+ Kxb1 = draw, nor 2...Se1+ 3.Kd2 = draw)
3.Rxb2 e1=Q
4.Rb1+ Ka2
5.Ra1+ Kxa1 = stalemate

Study 8th : Smyslov, V. - White plays and draws

Key : 1.a3! (not 1.Kf2? a3! 2.Ke3 Kc3 3.h3 Kc4! 4.Kf3 Kd3 5.Kf2 Ke4
6.Kg3 Ke3 7.Kh4 Kd2 8.Kg5 Kc2 9.Kxg6 Kb2 10.h4 Kxa2
11.h5 Kb3 12.h6 a2 13.h7 a1=Q -+ Black wins) Kd3
2.Kf2 Ke4
3.Kg3 Ke3
4.h3 Ke4
5.Kh4 [6.Kg5] Kxf4 = stalemate

(This post in Greek language).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Two more-movers by Garoufalidis

In the more-mover (German : lang-zueger) problems we must foresee how the mate is given (we must imagine the picture of the mate). In order to achieve the mate, we need to discover a series of moves (including possibly repeated series of moves).

In selfmate problems White plays first and forces Black to deliver mate.

Mr Ioannis (=John) Garoufalidis is an active composer with many publications and he is also an excellent solver.
We will see here two award-winning more-mover selfmates by Garoufalidis. (See please another of his compositions here).

(Problem 251)
Ioannis Garoufalidis,
3rd Honourable Mention, Quartz 2002
Selfmate in 29 moves
s#29, (4 + 6)

Key : 1.Rd4! Kb3 2.Qc4+ Ka3 3.Qc3+ Rb3 4.Qc1+ Rb2 5.h4 Kb3
6.Qc4+ Ka3 7.Qc3+ Rb3 8.Qc1+ Rb2 9.h5 Kb3 10.Qc4+ Ka3
11.Qc3+ Rb3 12.Qc1+ Rb2 13.h6 Kb3 14.Qc4+ Ka3 15.Qc3+ Rb3
16.Qc1+ Rb2 17.h7 Kb3 18.Qc4+ Ka3 19.Qc3+ Rb3 20.Qc1+ Rb2
21.h8=R Kb3 22.Rb8+ Ka3 23.Qe3+ Rb3 24.Qe7+ Rb4 25.Ra8+ Kb3
26.Qe3+ Kc2 27.Ra2+ Rb2 28.Qd3+ Kc1 29.Qb1+ Rxb1#

A comment by the composer : An Excelsior with subpromotion to Rook (Miniature), Switchback, Circuit de Dame, Circuit de Tour, Circuit lineaire, Sacrifice.

(Problem 252)
Ioannis Garoufalidis,
Commendation, The Problemist, 2005
Selfmate in 37 moves
s#37, (11 + 3)

Key : 1.Qd5+! Bf5+ 2.Rc2 Kg4 3.Qg2+ Kf4 4.Qg3+ Ke4 5.Qd3+ Kf4
6.Qe3+ Kg4 7.Qg3+ Kh5 8.Qf3+ Bg4 9.Qd5+ Bf5 10.Kc1 Kg4
11.Qg2+ Kf4 12.Qg3+ Ke4 13.Qd3+ Kf4 14.Qe3+ Kg4 15.Qg3+ Kh5
16.Qf3+ Bg4 17.Qd5+ Bf5 18.Kd1 Kg4 19.Qg2+ Kf4 20.Qg3+ Ke4
21.Qd3+ Kf4 22.Qe3+ Kg4 23.Qg3+ Kh5 24.Qf3+ Bg4 25.Qd5+ Bf5
26.Rc1 Kg4 27.Qg2+ Kf4 28.Qg3+ Ke4 29.Qd3+ Kf4 30.Qe3+ Kg4
31.Qg3+ Kh5 32.Qf3+ Bg4 33.Qd5+ Bf5 34.e3 Kg4 35.Qg2+ Kh5
36.Qf3+ Bg4 37.Bc2 Bxf3#

See the White King slowly preparing (every eight moves) his end.

(This post in Greek language).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nikos Pergialis (3)

We will see here helpmate problems by the "last rembetis" Nikos Pergialis. The problems have few pieces and some are accompanied by verses! (This is really artistic chess!)
The verses of rembetiko songs speak mainly about justice in life.
The verses here describe in a way the solution of the problem.

(Problem 245)
Nikos Pergialis,
original, 2007,
Helpmate duplex in 2.
h#2 duplex (3 + 3)

We note that duplex problems are helpmate problems with two solutions :
In one solution Black plays and helps White to mate Black.
In the other solution White plays and helps Black to mate White.

In the problem-245 we observe complete symmetry.

Key : 1.Kg2! Rc2xf2+ 2.Kh1 Be4#
Key : 1.Kb2! Rf2xc2+ 2.Ka1 Bd4#

(Problem 246)
Nikos Pergialis,
original, 2007,
Helpmate in 2. Two solutions.
h#2, 2111, (5 + 3)

In the problem we see symmetrical position.
The theme is Zilahi. (In one solution black captures the white piece, which checkmates in the other solution).

Key : 1.Rd4xc4! Sf3 2.Rc4-c5 e5#
Key : 1.Rd4xe4! Sb3 2.Re4-e5 c5#

(Problem 247)
Nikos Pergialis,
original, 2008,
Helpmate duplex in 2.
h#2, duplex, (3 + 3)

Relevant verses :
Re karfome'ni stratigi' (Hey you pinned generals)/
na min' anisihi'te (do not worry)! /
Tha'rthi i ano'mali stigmi' (An irregular moment will come) /
pou tha xekarfothi'te (and you will be unpinned)

Key : 1.Bg2! Rd7-d3 2.Re2-f2 Rd3-d1#
Key : 1.Bb7! Re2-e6 2.Rd7-c7 Re6-e8#

(Problem 248)
Nikos Pergialis,
original, 2008,
Helpmate duplex in 2.
h#2, duplex, (6 + 4)

Relevant verses :
Sto i'dio to tetra'gono (On the same square) /
sto i'dio to steno' (on the same narrow pass) /
kavgas' mega'los e'gine (a great quarrel happened) /
Diplo' to foniko' (and the murder was double)!

Key : 1.Kd4! Qxa4 2.Kd5 Qd7#
Key : 1.Ke6! Qxb5 2.Kd5 Qd7#

(Problem 249)
Nikos Pergialis,
original, 2008,
Helpmate duplex in 2.
h#2, duplex, (3 + 5)

Key : 1.Rg2-g1! Bc3 (White pins a piece) 2.Rg1-b1 (Black blocks a flight of his king) Rb4-a4#
Key : 1.Be1-f2! Bc3 (Black pins a piece) 2.Bb6 (White blocks a flight of his king) Rg2-a2#

(Problem 250)
Nikos Pergialis,
original, 1995,
Helpmate in 2. Two solutions.
h#2, 2111, (6 + 6)

The symmetry of the position is maintained also as symmetry of the solutions. White needs to find a tempo move in each solution.

Key : 1.Rd5-d3! Bd7 2.Rd3-e3 Bc6#
Key : 1.Rf5-f3! Bf7 2.Rf3-e3 Bg6#

(This post in Greek language).

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ioannis Kalkavouras (1)

“I was born in Kallithea (Attica Greece), in 1961, where I live.
I graduated, in Economics, from the Athens University and I work as an employee of Alpha Bank.
I started as a solver of chess problems, being influenced by the columns of Triantafyllos Siaperas in various newspapers of the eighties, and later I turned to composing, mainly as a means to express my creativity.
Now I have enough publications abroad, giving emphasis to Helpmates and Selfmates.”

Ioannis (John) Kalkavouras is a modest man with many prizes for his compositions. In the following, we will see three problems of his, having also his commentary.

(Problem 242)
Kalkavouras Ioannis,
Second Prize, Variantim (Israel), 2006
Helpmate in 2.5 moves. Two solutions.
h#2.5 21111 (4+12)

In helpmates having integer number of moves, the Black plays first. Here the moves are 2.5, thus we start with a move by White.

a) Key : 1...Qa2-d5! 2.Re2-e6+ Kd6xe6+ 3.Kg3-g4 Qd5-f5#
b) Key : 1...Qa2-e6! 2.Qf3-d5+ Kd6xd5+ 3.Kg3-f3 Qe6-e4#

I.K. comment : “Extended two-mover with exchange of places between wK and wQ on the squares d5/e6, interchange of sacrifices by half-pinned black pieces on the above squares and final pictures of mates with a pinned black piece.”

(Problem 243)
Kalkavouras Ioannis,
First Honourable Mention, Orbit (F.Y.R.O.M.), 2006
Helpmate in 3 moves. a) Diagramme, b) Twin -bPg2 +bPg3
h#3 (6+10) a) diagram b) bPg2 --> g3

a) Key : 1.Rb3-b4! (1.Bb5?) Ba2xc4 2.Bc6-e4 Bc4-d5 3.Rh4-f4 (Bf4?) Rc8-c3#
b) bPg2-->g3
Key : 1.Bc6-b5! (1.Rb4?) Rc8xc4 2.Rb3-e3 Rc4-c3 3.Bg5-f4 (Rf4?) Ba2-d5#

I.K. comment : “Line interferences of bQ with dual avoidance, elimination captures on c4, focal play, black Grimshaw with dual avoidance on f4”.

When there is a pair of answers but in every variation only one answer is valid we have dual avoidance.
We observe the similar strategy of the solutions : The Pawn c4 is captured by the wB, which continues his stride in order to pin a bB opening a line for the wR, which gives mate. The Pawn c4 is captured by the wR, which continues his stride in order to pin a bR opening a line for the wB, which gives mate.
Let us see the focal play : The bBc6, which stops Rc8-c3+ and guards Ba2-d5+, goes to e4 continuing to defend these, but unfortunately is pinned there allowing Rc8-c3+. The bRb3, which stops Ba2-d5+ and guards Rc8-c3+, goes to e3 continuing to defend these, but unfortunately is pinned there allowing Ba2-d5+.

Theme Focal play : A black linear piece (Queen, Rook, Bishop) focuses on two squares in two different directions, but when it moves it is forced to lose focus and abandon the guarding of one of the squares.

For the Grimshaw intersection, between linear pieces of unsimilar way of movement, we have already given many examples.

(Problem 244)
Kalkavouras Ioannis,
Die Schwalbe (Germany), 2005
Selfmate in 9 moves. There is set play. There are tries.
* s#9 (6+11)

Phase of the set play (*) : 1...b3? 2.Be4+ Ke2 3.Bxd3+ Kf3 4.Be4+ Ke2 5.Bg6+ Kf3 6.Rc3+ Bxc3 7.Bh5+ Rxh5#

Phases of tries : {1.Rc~? [2.Bh5+ Rxh5#] R(x)h5! 2.Bxh5# (of course it is completely wrong for a selfmate, the white to give mate, theme Berlin)},
{1.Be4+? Ke2! 2.Bxd3+ Kf3 3.Be4+ Ke2+}.

Phase of the actual game : Key : 1.Rd5! [2.Rxd3 Rxd3 3.Bh5+ Rxh5#] b3
2.Be4+ Ke2 3.Bxd3+ Kf3 4.Be4+ Ke2 5.Bg6+ Kf3
6.Qd1+ Kf2 7.Rxd2+ Bxd2 8.Re2+ Kf3 9.Bh5+ Rxh5#

I.K. comment : “Problem of Neo-German school (Logical) in combination with theme Berlin”.

The problems of the Neo-German school have a Preliminary plan (Vorplan), (which is needed for the General plan (Hauptplan) to be succesfully applied), which has appeared in the tries, but has failed. These problems are also called Logical problems. See the themes Roman, Hamburg and Dresden.
The move 2.Bxh5# of the try becomes 9.Bh5+ in the actual play. (Theme Berlin).

Theme Berlin : A move, which gives mate in a try, becomes a simple check in the actual play.

(This post in Greek language).

Saturday, October 04, 2008


During the 51st World Congress of Chess Composition, in Jurmala Latvia 30/08 - 06/09/2008, various composition contests were organized. In the Quick Composing Tourney, Helpmates section, with Judge Mr Harry Fougiaxis IM, the First Prize was given to the French Grand Master Michel Caillaud, for an Anticirce problem of his.
It is surely worthwhile for us to study this problem and see what this great problemist had composed in less than two hours.

The stipulation of the problem was " h#2 (7+14) Anticirce, Nightriders (1+2) ", that is help-mate in two moves, there are seven white and fourteen black pieces, there are five solutions, the condition is Anticirce, between the pieces there are Nightriders one white and two black.

Let us see all these one by one.
Help- problem is that where Black plays first and helps White to achieve a goal.
The goal here is Mate in two moves, (So this is a helpmate problem).
The problem has five solutions.
The problem belongs to Fairy chess, since there is an Anticirce condition and fairy pieces (Nightriders).
The condition Anticirce states : On making a capture, the captured piece is lost and the capturing piece is reborn on its initial- game- square, but if it cannot be regenerated there the capture is forbidden.
The squares for rebirth of white orthodox pieces are on line-1. The white Pawns are reborn on line-2. The white fairy pieces, which we believe that have appeared on the chessboard during a strange promotion, are reborn on line-8 on the column they made the capture. The lines of rebirth are respectively line-8 for black pieces, line-7 for black pawns, line-1 for black fairy pieces.
The Nightrider is a linear piece, a Rider running on a straight line, and its every step is like a Knight move.
We know that this composer is fond of the theme of multiple promotions (AUW Allumwandlung), where we see four promotions of a Pawn to Queen, Rook, Bishop and Knight. In the position of this problem appears one more kind of piece, the Knightrider. So, the composer will expand the theme AUW to five promotions, (super AUW), and that is why there are five solutions!

(Problem 241)
Michel Caillaud,
First Prize, Quick Composing Ty, 51 WCCC 2008
Helpmate in 2 moves. Anticirce. There are Nightriders.
h#2 Anticirce (10+4) Nightrider (1+2)

The white Nightrider wNc6 keeps the bQ pinned. If the black Queen moves, the Nightrider can capture the black King, because the square g8 for its rebirth is free. Just after the Pawn g7 goes to g8 to be promoted, the black Queen is unpinned!
If the bQ moves, a battery is formed. The threating piece is the wNc6 and covering piece is the promoted piece on g8. If the promoted piece leaves g8, the battery is fired and gives check to the bK.

Let us see the five solutions...

Key : 1.Rf3-h3! g7-g8=Q 2.Qe5-g3 (the bQ is unpinned and goes to g3) Qg8xd5[wQd5->d1]# (with a random move by the wQg8 the wNc6 checks but the bQ can return to e5 and stop it. What is needed then is a double check, and the wQ captures bSd5 and is reborn on d1 and gives also a check).

Key : 1.Nh1-g3! (the bNh1 goes to g3. The square h1 is now empty and a Rook from there can close the flight h3 of the bK) g7-g8=R 2.Qe5-e8 (the bQ is unpinned and goes to e8, helping wRg8 to leave g8 (now wNc6 checks) and capture on a white square and appear on h1. If the bQ had moved to black square b8, then wRg8 capturing the bQ there would appear on a1 and the bK would flee through h3 from the check of wNc6.) Rg8xe8[wRe8->h1]#

Key : 1.Nf1-g3! (the bNf1 goes to g3. The square f1 is now empty and a Bishop from there can close the flight h3 of the bK) g7-g8=B 2.Qe5-e6 (the bQ is unpinned and goes to e6) Bg8xe6[wBe6->f1]#

Key : 1.Rg1-g3! (the bRg1 goes to g3. The square g1 is now empty and a Knight from there can close the flight h3 of the bK) g7-g8=S 2.Qe5-e7 (the bQ is unpinned and goes to e7. The bQ does not capture the Pawn on f6 because the bQ will be reborn on d8 and, when the promoted Knight tries to move, the wS cannot capture and cannot be reborn on g1 and the flight h3 will stay open for the bK to flee from the check of wNc6.) Sg8xe7[wSe7->g1]#

Key : 1.Bh4-g3! (the bBh3 goes to g3 and the wQh6 holds h3) g7-g8=N 2.Qe5xf6[bQf6->d8] (the bQ is unpinned and captures wPf6 (to open a path for wNg8) and is reborn on d8 and pins wNg8!) Ng8xe4[wNe4->e8]# (the Nightrider leaves g8 (the bQ is not giving check - the white move is not yet finished) captures the bSe4 (the bQ is not giving check - the white move is not yet finished) and is reborn on the same file on e8 (the bQ finally is not giving check) giving double check together with wNc6).

The comment of the Judge Harry Fougiaxis was : Transformation of the set pin along the line c6-e5-g4 to a battery yields a super-AUW with five black pieces playing to the same square as additional formal element. A superb piece of work.

Our comment : Michel Caillaud has created a piece of art!

(This post in Greek language).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nikos Pergialis (2)

We will see here some more of the compositions by the 'rembetis' Nikos Pergialis. We have limited our selection to directmate chess problems. As you will note, he likes to create problems having few pieces. In some of the problems he has cooperated with Mr Manos Pantavos.

The two-mover problem-235 has theme Dombrovskis.
The two-mover problem-236 has a good key and theme Pawn – Bishop Grimshaw (also known as Pickabish).
The two-mover problem-237 has theme Fleck.
The two-mover problem-238 has Quaternary Black Correction.
The three-mover problem-239 has theme X-flights and shows three model mates.
The two-mover problem-240 has theme 'changed mates' in a Zagoruyko frame of four phases.

(Problem 235)
Nikos Pergialis & Manos Pantavos,
[Skaki gia Olous], issue 11, May 2005,
Mate in 2.
#2 ( 9 + 2 )

The problem contains the theme Dombrovskis.

Tries : {1.Qf5+? Kd4!}, {1.Qd6+? / Se4? S(x)d6!}, {1.Qd8? / Sh1? / Bh2+? Kf6!}, {1.Sg4+? Kf4!}.
Thematic tries :
{1.Kg7? [2.Bh2# (A)] Kf4! (a)},
{1.g3? [2.Sg4# (B)] Kf6! (b)}.

Key : 1.h4! (zz, zugzwang).
1...Kf4 (a) 2.Bh2# (A)
1...Kf6 (b) 2.Sg4# (B)
(non thematic variation 1...S~ 2.Qd6#)

(Problem 236)
Nikos Pergialis, 2008
Mate in 2.
#2 ( 5 + 7 )

Tries : {1.Sc6+? Kd5!}, {1.Kg6+? / Kf7+? e5!}, {1.Rc4+? Kxc4!}.

Key : 1.Qa8! [2.Qe4#]
1...Rh4 2.Qa1#
1...exf5 2.Qd5#

1...c6 2.Qa4#
1...Bc6 2.Qa7#
In the last two variations we observe a Pawn – Bishop Grimshaw intersection, which has the specific name Pickabish intersection.

(Problem 237)
Nikos Pergialis, 2000
Mate in 2.
#2 ( 6 + 6 )

Tries : {1.Qc1? Rxg6!}, {1.Qd6? h4!}, {1.Sc3~? c3!}.

Key : 1.Sd1! [2.Se3# / Qh3# / Qg3# / Qf3#]
1...c3 2.Se3#
1...f4 2.Qh3#
1...Rxg6 2.Qg3#
1...h4 2.Qf3#

The key introduces four threats but only one can be applied in each variation. The separation of the threats is the theme Fleck.

(Problem 238)
Nikos Pergialis, 1979
Mate in 2.
#2 ( 8 + 2 )

Tries : {1.Rxd7? [2.Rc7#] Kxd7!}, {1.Rd6+? Rxd6!}, {1.Rdd5? [2.Rdc5#] Rxd5!}.

Key : 1.Ke6! (zz).
1...Ra7 / Rb7 / Rc7 / Rd6+ 2.R(x)d6#
1...Rd8 ( 2.Rd6? . Διόρθωση πρώτου βαθμού) 2.exd8=S#
1...Rxe7+ ( 2.Rd6? / exd8? . Διόρθωση δεύτερου βαθμού) 2.Sxe7#
1...Rd5 ( 2.Rd6? / exd8? / Se7? . Διόρθωση τρίτου βαθμού) 2.cxd5#
1...Rxd4 ( 2.Rd6? / exd8? / Se7? / cxd5? . Διόρθωση τέταρτου βαθμού) 2.Sxd4#

The bR moves in a Cross form and in four destinations is captured : Theme Grab. With each successive move the bR tries to "correct" all the weaknesses, which seem to be created by its unavoidable move.  Thus we have Quartenary black correction, with only ten pieces!

(Problem 239)
Nikos Pergialis & Manos Pantavos, 2000
Mate in 3.
#3 ( 6 + 1 )

Key : 1.Qh7! (zz).
1...Kb4 2.Qd3 (zz).
____2...Kxa5 3.Qb5#
____2...Kc5 3.Qc4#
1...Kxd4 2.Qd3+
____2...Kc5 3.Qc4#
____2...Ke5 3.Qe4#
1...Kd2 2.Qd3+
____2...Ke1 3.Qe2#
____2...Kc1 3.Qc2#
1...Kxb2 2.Qc2+
____2...Ka3 3.Qb3#
____2...Ka1 3.Sb3#

We see here the theme X-flights and the bK gets mated on the squares e1 – c1 – a1 – a3 – a5 – c5 – e5. Interesting construction with a flight-giving key, sacrificing a Knight.

(Problem 240)
Nikos Pergialis, 2000
Mate in 2.
#2 ( 6 + 6 )

Tries :
{1.Rxc5? [2.Rc6#] (1...b4 / dxc5 2.Qxb4# / Qg6#) 1...Kxc5!},
{1.Rc4? (zz, 1...d5 2.Qg6#) 1...b4!},
{1.Qxb5+? (1...Kxb5 2.Rb2#) 1...axb5!},
{1.Qe1? (zz, 1...d5 / c4 2.Qe6# / Qe3#) 1...b4!}
Thematic tries :
{1.Qb2? (zz, 1...d5 / c4 2.Qf6# [A] / 2.Qd4# [B]) 1...b4!},
{1.Qc1? (zz, 1...d5 / c4 2.Qh6# [C] / 2.Qe3# [D]) 1...b4!},
{1.Qg1? (zz, 1...d5 / c4 2.Qg6# [E] / 2.Kxf3# [F]) 1...b4!},

Key : 1.Qb4! (zz)
1...d5 2.Qxc5# [G]
1...c4 2.Qxd6# [H]
(non thematic variation 1...cxb4 2.Rc6#).

We observe that two black defenses (here 1...d5 / c4 ), always the same, and in various phases of the problem (here the last three tries and the post-key play) are answered with changed mates by the White. This is a Zagoruyko 4x2 (four phases by two variations) frame of presentation of the changed mates theme.

{This post in Greek language).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Theme Dombrovskis (2), Task

We have already given the definition of the theme Dombrovskis : After the key at least two defenses, which had stopped succesfully some threats after try-moves, are answered with exactly the same threats of the tries.
The moves of the White (written here with Capital letters) and the moves of the Black (written here with small letters) are transposed from one phase to another :
Phase after a try : 1.X? [2.A#] a!,
Phase after a try : 1.Y? [2.B#] b!,
Phase after the key : 1.Z! [2.W#]
1...a 2.A#
1...b 2.B#

This post is written in memoriam of the great Greek problemist Dimitris Kapralos, who has created many excellent compositions.

We will see here a task with four Dombrovskis variations.

(Problem 234)
Dimitris Kapralos,
Third Prize, 148 Thematic Tourney, Probleemblad, 1985
Mate in 2.
#2 ( 10 + 8 )

Tries : {1.Se6+? Kxc6!}, {1.Qe6? [2.Qxd5#] Bc6!}, {1.Bc3? (zz) Bb5!}, {1.Rb6? / Qc8? / Qh8? / Qh5? / Bb4+? Kd4!}, {1.Bb6+? Kb5!}, {1.d4+? Kxd4!}, {1.Qf1? / Qh7? / Qg4? / Qh4? e4!},
{1.Qd7? [2.Se6# (A)] Kd4! (a)},
{1.Rb4? [2.Bb6# (B)] Bb5! (b)},
{1.Sf5? [2.Bb4# (C)] d4! (c)},
{1.Qxf3? [2.Qxd5# (D)] e4! (d)}.
In relation to the theme, we examine the last four tries and then we compare them with four of the variations in the solution below.

Key : 1.Qf5! ( zz ).
1...Kd4 (a) 2.Se6# (A)
1...Bb5 (b) 2.Bb6# (B)
1...d4 (c) 2.Bb4# (C)
1...e4 (d) 2.Qxd5# (D)
non-thematic variation : 1...Bxc6 2.Se6#.

(This post in Greek language).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Theme Dombrovskis (1)

The theme Dombrovskis shows a paradoxical reversal of movements.
First we see tries, which have threats, which are refuted with some defenses.
Then the key brings a different threat. If this new threat is answered with the defenses used after the tries, the mates are achieved with the (corresponding to the defenses) same moves that were refuted previously as threats of the tries.

Let us describe it with football terms : If a shoot is done, the goalkeeper dives and catches the ball. If the goalkeeper dives first, then the shoot can become easily a goal.

Symbolizing with Capital letter a white move, and with small letter a black move, we have :
1.X? [2.A#] a!,
1.Y? [2.B#] b!,
1.Z! [2.W#]
1...a 2.A#
1...b 2.B#

Theme Dombrovskis : In the post-key play at least two defenses, which have refuted some threats of the tries, are subdued with exactly the same threats of the tries.

This theme is named after the composer Alfred Dombrovskis, born 1923-04-19 in Aizpute of Latvia, who was the first to present it.

Theme Dombrovskis in directmates

(Problem 224)
Marjan Kovacevic,
Myllyniemi Jubilee tourney 1980,
Mate in 2.
#2 ( 11 + 9 )

In this problem the half-pin of the black Bishops is used (when one of them moves, the other remains pinned).

Tries : {1.Sf5-d6+? Bb4xd6!}, {1.Bd5-c4+? Bb3xc4!}, {1.Qh5-f7? Sh8xf7!}, {1.Qh5-h2? Bb4-d6!}, {1.Qh5-h7? Sh8-f7!}, {1.Sf5-e7? Se1xd3!}, {1.Sa2-c3+? Bb4xc3!}. We especially observe the next two tries and correlate them with the solution :
Try : {1.Bd5-e4? [2.Sf5-d6# (A)] Bb3-d5! (a)}
Try : {1.Sf5-e3? [2.Bd5-c4# (B)] Bb4-d6! (b)}

Key : 1.Qh5-e8! [2.c6-c7#]
1...Bb3xd5 (a) 2.Sf5-d6# (A)
1...Bb4-d6 (b) 2.Bd5-c4# (B)

In the next problem-225, (which we have taken from the page for three-movers of the British Chess Problem Society BCPS), we note that the contemporary composers extend a two-move-theme, as is theme Dombrovskis, to a three-move-mechanism.

(Problem 225)
M. Keller,
First Prize, Schweizerische Schachzeitung 1985,
Mate in 3.
#3 ( 11 + 9 )

The straightforward attack does not prove fruitful :
Tries : {1.Rf6-f5+? g6xf5!}, {1.Rf6xd6+? Kd5xd6!}, {1.Qg1xd4+? Kd5xd4!}, {1.Sf1-e3+? d4xe3!}. We observe closely the following tries :
Try : {1.Ba5-b6? [2.Qg1xd4# (A)] Sd2-f3! (a)}
Try : {1.Ba5-c7? [2.Rf6xd6# (B)] Sd2-e4! (b)}
If the wQ captures bBh1 with check, the Pawn bPf4 can interfere supported by the Knight bSd2.
Try : {1.Qg1xh1+? f4-f3!}
Could we remove this Knight?
Try : {1.Sf1xd2? c2-c1=Q!}.
We should rather remove the Pawn. Let us use wRf6.
Try : {1.Rf6xf4? Bh1-e4!}.

Finally, the actual play starts when we capture the bPf4 with the wPg3.
Key : 1.g3xf4! [2.Qg1xh1+ Sd2-f3 (a) / Sd2-e4 (b) 3 Qh1xf3# / Qh1xe4#]
1...Sd2-f3 (a) 2.Qg1xd4+ (A) Sf3xd4 / Kd5xd4 3.Sf1-e3# / Rf6xd6#
1...Sd2-e4 (b) 2.Rf6xd6+ (B) Se4xd6 / Kd5xd6 3.Re8-e5# / Qg1xd4#
1...Bh1-e4 2.Ba5-c7 [3.Rf6xd6#] Sh5xf6 3.Sh7xf6#
1...Bh1-f3 2.Ba5-b6 ~ 3.Qg1xd4#
1...Bh1-g2 2.Qg1xg2+ Sd2-e4 / Sd2-f3 3.Qg2xe4# / Qg2xf3#
1...d4-d3 (very weak, 2.Bb6 / Qb6 / Se3+ all lead to mate in the third move).
1...Sh5xf4 2.Rf6-f5+ g6xf5 3.Sh7-f6#
1...Sh5-g3 2.Rf6-f5+ Sg3xf5 / g6xf5 3.Sh7-f6# / Sh7-f6 #

Theme Dombrovskis together with theme Arguelles

(Problem 226)
Byron Zappas,
Third Honourable Mention, “U.S.P.B.” 1988,
Mate in 2.
#2 ( 7 + 12 )

Tries : {1.Se4-c3+? Qg3xc3!}, {1.Se4xd6+? Qg3xd6!}, {1.Bd4-c3? / Be2-d3? Qg3(x)d3!}, {1.Rc4-c5+? Kb5-b4!}, {1.Qh3xf5+? g6xf5!}, {1.Qh3xg3? Sh1xg3+!}. Let us give special attention to the next two tries :
Try : {1.Bd4-e3? [2.Se4-c3# (A)] Qg3-e5! (a)}
Try : {1.Bd4-e5? [2.Se4xd6# (B)] Qg3-d3! (b)}.

Key : 1.Qh3-h8! [2.Qh8-e8#]
1...Qg3-e5 (a) 2.Se4-c3# (A)
1...Qg3-d3 (b) 2.Se4xd6# (B)

We know the theme Dombrovskis and we have shown it in this solution. What is the Theme Arguelles?

Theme Arguelles : A black line of influence is neutralized with energetic and with pathetic interference.

The bQg3 has two lines towards the arrival squares of wSe4, namely c3 and d6.
In the tries Be3? / Be5? the interference of wBd4 to these lines of the bQ is energetic.
In the actual play, after the defenses Qe5 / Qd3, the interference of wBd4 to the lines of action of the bQ is pathetic.

Since the interference, in problem-226 by Zappas, happens for two black lines, we have double application of the theme Arguelles.

Theme Dombrovskis in Selfmate

(Problem 227)
S. Seider,
Second Prize, Bulgaria 1300 Years Tourney 1982-83,
Selfmate in 2.
s#2 ( 13 + 9 )

Tries : {1.Sd6-e4+? / Sd6-f5+? / Sd6-e8+? / Sd6-c8+? / Sd6-b7+? Re7-c7!}, {1.Rh4-e4+? / Qg2-e4+? Sg3xe4!}, {1.Se3-g4+? Ke5-f4!}, {1.Qg2-d5+? e6xd5!}.
A good plan is to check bKd5 with one of the Knights on c4, forcing bBa2 to capture it, allowing the bQa1 to check-mate wKa3. Since the two Knighs fire batteries when they move, let us try to dismantle these batteries.
Try : {1.Ba7? [2.Sdc4+ (A) Bxc4#], not 1...Kxd6 2.Sec4+ Bxc4#, but 1...Rc7! (a)}
Try : {1.Rf2? [2.Sec4+ (B) Bxc4#] Se4! (b)}

In the actual play the White is threatening something different, which can be answered with the previous defenses of the Black, but unfortunately these defenses break the batteries of the White and the Knights are free to act :
Key : 1.Qc6! [2.Qc5+ Bd5#]
1...Rc7 (a) 2.Sdc4+ (A) Bxc4#
1...Se4 (b) 2.Sec4+ (B) Bxc4#

Expanding Theme Dombrovskis to three variations

At the web page of the mathematician K. R. Chandrasekaran from India, I have spotted a Dombrovskis problem with three variations. It sounds complicated, but I present it here for you to see how simple it really is.

(Problem 228)
K. R. Chandrasekaran,
First Commendation, I.C.P.S. II Composing Tourney, 1995,
Mate in 2.
#2 ( 8 + 5 )

Tries : {1.Qb8xe5+? Kf4xe5!}, {1.Qb8-d8? Rd4xd8!}, {1.Se3-d5+? Rd4xd5!}, {1.g2-g3+? Kf4xf3!}, {1.Bf2-g3+? Kf4xe3!}.
We give special attention to the following tries :
Try : {1.Qb8-h8? [2.Qh8-h6# (A)] Bg6-h7! (a)}
Try : {1.Qb8-b3? [2.Bf2-g3# (B)] Rd4-d3! (b)}
Try : {1.Bf5-g4? [2.g2-g3# (C)] e4xf3! (c)}

Key : 1.Qb8-b6! (zz).
1...Bg6-h7 (a) 2.Qb6-h6# (A)
1...Rd4-d3 (b) 2.Bf2-g3# (B)
1...e4xf3 (c) 2.g2-g3# (C)
non-thematic variations : 1...Bg6-~ 2.Qb6-h6#, 1...Rd4-~ 2.Bf2-g3#.

The judge B. P. Barnes has noted that the problem has remarkable economy, and should be used as an example.

(This post in Greek language).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Emmanuel Manolas (1)

Mr Emmanuel Manolas (a.k.a. Alkinoos) writes :

"I learned chess in my fourteens (rather late) when a known detergent here in Greece gave as a promotional gift a plastic chess and a leaflet of playing rules.
My first chess book, bought in 1964, was [To Alphavitario tou Skakisti (=The Alphabet book of the Chess-player)] by Eftyhis Vardoulakis, (Athens, 1958).

In 1969, when I entered the Polytechnic School of the University of Patras (Greece), I participated in the chess championship of the university and I won without a defeat. (I have never received my prize, a cup sent to me by the Chess Union of Students (based in Athens)).

In 1970, I won the Youth Cup of Western Greece, in a tourney held by [Fysiolatrikos Patron]. In the championship of the university, where I was responsible for carrying out the games, many better players participated (Hatzithomas, Tsourinakis, et al.). I noticed then that my academic grades were lowering, because my occupation with chess matters was too intense. I discontinued playing chess, I dealed for a while with postal chess and finally I turned to chess problems. I was solving problems in newspapers and magazines, I took part in solving contests and also I tried to compose chess problems.

When I was General Secretary of the [S. O. Patron (=Chess Club of Patras)], I started teaching lessons of 'artistic chess' to children. (See problem-233 composed in 1983 by the young chess-players Maroulis and Skoularikis, after these lessons).

The magazine [To Mat] (issue 26, 15-01-1984), edited by Triantafyllos Siaperas, honoured me by dedicating the problems column to my compositions. (You may see them below).
After the Chess Olympiad 1984 in Thessaloniki, I abandoned chess.

In 2006, I started to write some articles about chess problems in the Internet Wikipedia (Greek language). In order to write for contemporary matters, I tried to find old friends and so I met again with Harry Fougiaxis, who had become in the meantime an international maitre (IM) in composition.
He motivated me and I participated in our national solving contest 2007. I observed there that the solvers were only 20 from all over Greece, very few in comparison with a local chess tourney, planned to start in the same place after the solving contest, with 160 small players.
I enhanced then my old chess problem notes, and I asked from various chess clubs to make one of their rooms available for chess problems lessons. Only [Panionios of New Smirni] gave permission, but the participation was minimal.

In 2007 I gave book-form to my notes, and I started to give away copies to friends, but I was sure that something better should be done.

In 2008 I started to publish the blog []. It seems now that it was a good move. After six months I count more than 5000 discrete visitors from all over the world, and many of them repeat their visits more than 200 times. (You read the english language version [] of this blog).

I hope that the young problemists will find these posts useful and that better days for the 'artistic chess' will come."

Exercise 6. The solutions are written after the problems.

(Problem 230)
Emmanuel Manolas,
chess magazine [To Mat], 1984
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 ( 11 + 8 )

From which diagonal does the Queen give mate?

(Problem 231)
Emmanuel Manolas,
chess magazine [To Mat], 1984
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 ( 3 + 8 )

Square e2 is just promising, but d5 is critical.

(Problem 232)
Emmanuel Manolas,
chess magazine [To Mat], 1984
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 ( 8 + 7 )

Interesting mate pictures from all the pieces.

(Problem 233)
Emmanuel Manolas, George Maroulis, Fotis Skoularikis
original, 29-10-1983
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 ( 7 + 4 )

The problem is a Meredith with a Plachutta key.
Mr George Maroulis (born 17-08-1971) was 12 years old then. The Greek Chess Federation gives for him 'ELO 2105'.
Mr Fotis Skoularikis (born 15-02-1970) was 13 years old then. The Greek Chess Federation gives for him 'ELO 2115'.
They have learned chess earlier, they became better players.

Solutions of the problems

(Problem 230) Emmanuel Manolas, chess magazine [To Mat], 1984, Mate in 3 moves.
Before we make a move we observe that if the Knight goes north [1...Sc5 / Sb6], then the wQ can mate from the diagonal a1-d4 (2.bxc3+ Kxc3 3.Qb2#).

There are two tries : {1.bxc3+? Sxc3!}, {1.Qb1? [2.Qg1#] Rg8!}.

Key : 1.Qa1! [2.Qg1#]
1...Qe6 / Qxe7 2.Qg1+ Qe3 3.Qxe3# (The wQ mates from the diagonal g1-d4)
1...Bxf4 2.Qg1+ Be3 3.Qg7# (The wQ mates from the diagonal h8-d4)
1...Rg8 2.bxc3+ Sxc3 3.Qa7# (The wQ mates from the diagonal a7-d4)
1...cxb2 2.Qg1+ Kc3 3.Sd5#

(Problem 231) Emmanuel Manolas, chess magazine [To Mat], 1984, Mate in 3 moves.

Tries : {1.Qxh7+? Kxh7!}, {1.Qg7+? Kh5!}, {1.Be2? / Be6? f3!}.

Key : 1.Bg8! [2.Qxh7#]
If 1...Bxg8 2.Qg7+ Kh5 3.Qxg6#
If 1...Kh5 2.Qd5+ (The wQ has moved to d5 and the wB should be able to move to e6).
____2...Kh6 / g5 3.Q(x)g5#
____2...Kg4 3.Be6#

(Problem 232) Emmanuel Manolas, chess magazine [To Mat], 1984, Mate in 3 moves.

Tries : {1.Sb5? axb5!}, {1.Bf8+? Kd4!}, {1.Qb3? Kd6!}.

Key : 1.Qa4! [2.Qa5+ Kd4 / Kd6 3.Sxe6# / Bf8#]
If 1...Sc3 2.Bf8+ Kd4 3.Sc6#
If 1...Sa3 2.Qa3+ Kd4 3.Qxe3#
If 1...Kd6 2.c5+ Kxc7 / Ke7 / Kxe5 / Kxc5 3.Qd7# / Qh4# / Qf4# / Bf8#
Theme X-flights of the bK. All the white pieces give mate.

(Problem 233) Emmanuel Manolas & George Maroulis & Fotis Skoularikis, original, 29-10-1983, Mate in 3.

Tries : {1.Rd6+? Rxd6!}, {1.Sxg6? [2.Rd6#] Bxd7!}.

Key : 1.Se6! [2.Rd6# / Be3#, Plachutta intersection]
If 1...Rg6xe6 2.Be3+ Rxe3 3.Rd6#
If 1...Re7xe6 2.Rd6+ Rxd6 3.Be3#

(This post in Greek language).