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).

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