Monday, September 28, 2009

C20100712 : Composition Contest Emmanuel Manolas-60 JT

After the chess problems and the solving contests, which were presented in this blog, we are in the happy position to announce an International Chess Composition Contest, organized by the Greek Chess Composition Committee, with the opportunity of the sixtieth birthday of this blogger Manolas Emmanuel. Here is the announcement :

International Chess Composition Contest :
"Jubilee Tourney Manolas - 60", Closing date 2010-07-12.

The Greek committee for Chess Composition announces the "Jubilee Tourney Manolas – 60".
Theme free. Accepted are original three-mover chess problems in the following four sections:

A. direct mate #3, with at least three variations. Judge Emmanuel Manolas.

B. helpmate h#3, with exactly three solutions, no zero-positions, no twins. Judge Harry Fougiaxis.

C. selfmate s#3, with at least three variations. Judge Ioannis Garoufalidis.

D. fairy #3, with accepted elements : {one fairy condition} or {one fairy condition and one fairy piece type} or {one or two fairy piece types}. Judge Kostas Prentos.

Computer-checked problems may be submitted by each composer to more than one section. For each problem, the following information is expected : Name & e-mail & country of the composer, diagram & FEN notation & stipulation & solution of the problem.

Send e-mails, with subject "JT-Manolas-60", to manolas.emmanuel(AT) .
Closing day : 12-July-2010.

The participants will receive a copy of the award by e-mail.
The award will be published in blogs "", "".

Notes :
In e-mail replace (AT) with the character @.
The FEN (Forsyth-Edwards) Notation is described here and here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Panagis Sklavounos

Panagis Sklavounos, born 1962, holds a Master of Science degree in Artificial Intelligence from Cranfield Univercity, is a Civil Engineer and a Surveyor Engineer from National Technical Univercity of Athens (NTUA) and has a title in Informatics from the Greek Center of Productivity (ELKEPA). He works in the Athens Water Supply and Sewerage Company (EYDAP SA).

He is president of the Sports Group “Zenon” in Glyfada Attica. He is a member of the Chess Composition Committee of the Greek Chess Federation (ESO). He has organised many chess tournaments and chess problem solving contests. He is a very strong solver.

For an extended period of time (1995-2000) he was editor of the chess column in the magazine of the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) and also editor of the chess problem column in the daily newspaper “TA NEA”.

Published problems by Panagis Sklavounos

(Problem 382)
Panagis Sklavounos,
Newspaper “Eleftherotypia”, 08/10/1977
Mate in 2.
#2 (5 + 5)

This is the first published problem of (the 15 years old then) Panagis Sklavounos.

Tries : [1.Qe2+? / Qd3+? / Qc4+? / Qxd7? / Qb7+? Ke5!], [1.Qe5+? Kxe5!], [1.Qd5+? Kxd5!], [1.Rf4+? Kxf4!], [1.Qxf5+? gxf5!], [1.Qc5? f4!].

Key : 1.g3! ( > 2.Rf4# )
1...Kxf3 / d5 2.Qe2#
1...g5 2.Qxf5#
1...e5 2.Qd3#

(Problem 383)
Panagis Sklavounos,
First Prize, Newspaper [Chess News 79], 1980
Mate in 3.
#3 (9 + 3)

Tries : [1.Sd8? / Rd7? / Bh4? f3!], [1.Rxf4+? Kxf4!], [1.Rd6? Cxd6!].

Key : 1.Bc2! (zz)
1...f3 2.Rf4+ Kxf4 / Ke6 / Kg6 3.Rd4# / Re3# / Rd5#
1...Kf6 / Ke6 2.Rd7 ~ 3.Rg6#
1...Kxg4 2.Rh3 f3 / Kxh3 3.Rh4# / Bf5#

(Problem 384)
Panagis Sklavounos,
British Chess Magazine, 1978
Mate in 3.
#3 (4 + 3)

Tries : [1.Qg4+? / Qg5+? / Rf3+? / Rg4+? Kh2!].

Key : 1.Rh4! ( > 2.Qf4# / Rh3# )
1...g1=Q / g1=B 2.Rh3+ Kg2 3.Qf3#
1...g1=S 2.Qf4+ Kg2 3.Rh2#
1...g1=R 2.Qf4+ / Rh3+ Kg2 3.Rh2#
1...Kxh4 2.Qf4+ Kh5 / Kh3 3.Be8# / Bd7#

Note by Alkinoos :
Mr Sklavounos has contributed to the posts of this blog with interesting topics. I happen to know that he is a polyglot (he speaks Greek, English, French, German, Italian) and he has received two literature awards (one in a science fiction novel contest of the Greek General Secretariat for the New Generation, in 1987).

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Sword of Damocles

First, some historical details for the expression of the title.

The city of Syracuse, Sicily, was ruled in ancient times by the tyrant Dionyssios. Among his courtiers there was a flatterer named Damocles, who envied the wealth and the glory of his master.

In a circumstance, Dionyssios asked Damocles if he would like to try sit in the throne. Damocles gladly accepted the invitation and started to enjoy the comforts of his lord. Examining curiously everything around, Damocles noted that above his head a sword was hanging, restrained only by a few horse hairs. Naturally, the hair might be cut at any time...
Dionyssios had placed the sword above the throne, to remind him to take the right decisions, since he could die at any moment and he could not correct any misjudgments.
Damocles was terrified and immediately left the seat of the lord, which seemed not enviable any more.
The phrase [Sword of Damocles] specifies the deadly danger threatening us, and has passed from Greek language to other languages (for example, in French : L' epee de Damocles).

This title was given, in 1865, to the problem we present today. Since many dangers are threatening us, the problem has two solutions.
(In the era of this problem the element of economy in pieces was not very strict).

(Problem 381)
"L' epee de Damocles ",
M. Schoumoff de Saint-Petersbourg,
Journal des Echecs, 1865-6, (Vol.2, p.238), by Paul Journoud, Paris
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 (10 + 1)

The solution follows ...

Key : 1.Rf3!
1...Kg2 2.Se3+ Kg1/Kh1 3.Rf1#
1...Kh1 2.Se3 Kg1 3.Rf1#

Key : 1.Bh1! Kxh1 2.Se3 Kg1 3.Rf1#

It is quite obvious that the lonely King (theme : Rex solus) is condemned from the beginning.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Esthetic Beauty is measured by computer

An article was published today in Chessbase about the doctoral thesis of Dr Mohammed Azlan Mohamed Iqbal, who is 31 years old and works in Malaysia.

The doctoral thesis [A discrete computational aesthetics model for a zero-sum perfect information game] examines the question if the beauty of the chess combinations is measurable by computers.

To people, some moves seem to be much prettier than others. Some combinations seem to be marvelous, while others seem indifferent. The computers play the chess game at the level of Grand Master and make combinations of all kinds, without giving weight or preference to beautiful moves. Could we teach the machines to “count” the esthetic beauty of their moves?

The researcher has studied, using special software for measuring esthetics [CHESTHETICA], many games and particularly three-mover problems, while at the same time, using specific questionnaires, has gathered the opinions of many persons whether some positions and combinations and solutions seemed to be beautiful.

By comparing the measuring-software results and the opinion-questionnaire results, an impressive conclusion arose, that the esthetics (at least for the limited researched area) is measurable!

Dr Mohammed Azlan Mohamed Iqbal hopes that his pioneering work and the software he developed could help the Judges in contests of chess compositions, or the persons giving Beauty prizes to chess games.