Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas tree, 2010

As we have said, this time last year, we name "Christmas trees" the problems which have symmetric positioning of pieces, narrower towards the top. The Russian Ilya Schoumoff had published a collection of "chessgraphs" (problems that remind us of some pattern) in a book issued in 1867.

Today we shall see a newer problem, from around 1877 (!), which was borrowed from the new book (in Greek language) by Panagis Sklavounos [Greek chess players in the 19th century]. The book contains a great wealth of historic details and if this interests you, you should acquire one copy.

The composer of the following problem is Joseph (Giuseppe) Liberalis (* Corfu 1820, + Zante 1899), son of the Italian chief-musician of the band of the 32th British infantry regiment in Corfu Domenico Liberalle and of the Greek Cathrin (Ecaterini) Miliorati coming from Zante. Joseph had studied music and worked as chief-musician in Corfu. In 1852 was married to Ecaterini Hariati from Zante and they lived in Zante for 18 years. Then he went to live in Patras. (These are only headlines - read the full story in the book by Sklavounos).

Problem 473
Ιωσήφ Λιμπεράλης (Giuseppe Liberali)
Nuova Rivista degli Scacchi, 12/1877
White plays and mates in 3 moves
3b4/3B4/3s4/3k4/2q1S3/2P1R3/1S1P1B2/2K1Q3 (9+4)

The key has a peculiarity, not uncommon 130 years ago. Today, different rules of compositions prevail.

I will append here the solution in a few days.

Wishes for merry festivities to all!

20101228 : The solution
Key : 1.Rd3+! (checking key : acceptable if this is the only way to show the theme)
1...Qxd3 2.Sf6+ Bxf6 3.Qe6#
1...Qd4 2.Rxd4+ Ke5 3.Bg3# / Sd3# (dual of continuations : undesirable)
1...Ke5? 2.Bg3# (short variation : weakness)

Putting aside the technicalities, we salute this composition by a very distant Greek chess-and-musique composer.

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