Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wishes for all

Happy new year! Health and joy for all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Solving contest, Zenon Glyfada Athens Greece

The contest in Monday 28/12/2009 had less solvers than expected, because the games of the chess tourney in the same room lasted longer than usual.
The ranking of the participants is as follows :

(1) Mendrinos Nikolaos, points 25 (minutes 25')
(2) Vlahos Elissaios, p.25 (62')
(3) Manolas Emmanuel, p.25 (86')
(4) Sklavounos Panagis, p.22 (61')
(5) Fougiaxis Harry, p.15 (77')
(6) Nikitakis J., p.09 (90')
(7) Fotopoulos G., p.07 (84')
(8) Roinos E., p.07 (90')
(9-11) Papadopoulos P., p.05 (90')
(9-11) Fotopoulos S., p.05 (90')
(9-11) Georgakis E., p.05 (90')
(12) Berk Atakak, p.00 (84')

The first five (who take part also in the Greek champioship) were considered just visitors, so the medals were given to places sixth and up.

The Judge Ioannis Garoufalidis presented (before the contest) a tutorial for new solvers, explaining the method of solution of two problems. We present these problems and a sort explanation of their solutions.

We present next the five problems of the solving contest. We will publish their solutions shortly. In the meantime, send in comments the solutions and the time you needed to solve them.

(Problem 393)
Frank Healy,
Canadian Illustrated News, 1876
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 (7 + 3)
[1b6/8/4KB2/8/6S1/Q3RPk1/6p1/6S1 ]

If the black King makes a move, we have a ready mate [1...Κf4 2.Se2#].
In problems we do not usually have a checking first move. Here Black has defenses to moves, like [1.Bh4+? Kxh4!], [1.f4+? Kxg4!], [1.Se2+? Kh3!], [1.Qd6+? Bxd6!].
In some tries we observe that the black Bishop is defending, like [1.Kf5? / Qc5? Bf4!], [1.Qa5? / Qc3? Bd6!]. Thus, we must limit these moves by the black Bishop.

Key : 1.Qe7! (If black Bishop plays Bc7 / Bd6, then the Queen captures the piece and mates).
1...Be5 2.Bxe5# (The white Bishop can act capturing a piece ...)
1...Bf4 2.Bh4# ( ... or exploiting the self-block of the Black).

(Problem 394)
Land and Water, 1876
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 (8 + 2)

Black has not a move and we must allow him to have one.
Using the Knight we do not achieve anything : [1.Sb3? cxb3!], [1.Sd3? cxd3!].
With the Pawn or the Rook the results are futile : [1.g4? Kh4!], [1.Rg1? Kh2!], [1.Ra2? / Rb2? / Rc2? / Rd2? / Re2? / Rf2? Kxg3!].
So, we must find the exact square of arrival for the white Bishop. There are some tries : [1.Bd1? / Be2? / Bh5? Kxg2!], [1.Ba8? / Bb7? / Bc6? / Be4? Kg4!]. Thus there is one square for the ...

... Key : 1.Bd5! (zz) (After two consecutive zugzwang, Black will have X-flights).
if 1...Kg4 2.Se4 (zz)
and if 2...Kf5 / Kh5 / Kh3 / Kf3 then 3.g4# / Sf6# / Sf2# / Sf6#

And now, the problems of the contest :

(Problem 395)
Maurus Ehrenstein,
Oesterreichische Lesehalle, 1881
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 (2 + 2)

This problem is surely for young solvers!

(Problem 396)
Comins Mansfield,
Good Companions, 1914
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 (8 + 8)

If the Queen does leave from the seventh row, there is a Pawn-Rook battery for Black. White has got already a Knight-Bishop battery, but is it enough?

(Problem 397)
Frank W. Martindale,
?, 1890
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 (7 + 4)

With two ambushes, two nice chameleon mates are achieved.

(Problem 398)
Wilhelm Karl Heinrich Massmann
1st Prize, Die Schwalbe, 1941,
Mate in 3 moves.
#3 (7 + 2)

If 1.Bd4? then 1...Bh4!. If 1.Be3? then 1...Be7!. It seems that thw white Bishop on c5 must move, as a key move, but the question remains : where to?

(Problem 399)
C. Bent,
BESN, 2008
White plays and wins.
+ (4 + 3)

Instructive study, with the black King free in the middle of the chessboard, and a very smart fourth move!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Solving Contest Zenon Glyfada Athens Greece

Solving Contest "Zenon" Glyfada Athens Greece
_Solving_contests, __#n

The local chess club of Glyfada (Athens, Greece) has organised a Solving Chess Problems Contest for 28/12/2009. (Club site : We will publish the problems and their solutions

And news from the Internet :
Event : International Chess Composition Day 2010
Type : Tourney
Start time : Saturday, 26 12 2009, 10:00 a.m. (time in Italy)
Finish time : Monday, 04 01 2009, 12:00 p.m.
Place : All around the world
Announcement : [On the 26th of December at 10:00 hours CET (Central European Time) we shall publish six problems for solving at Chess Composition & Puzzles website, at Facebook. Please solve the problems as soon as you can and send your solutions to e-mail address: (please switch the letters '-at-' with letter '@' ). Don't send your solution as comments to this website! Closing date: January 4th 2010 at 12:00 h CET (Central European Time). Welcome and thank you for participating!]

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Trees

There are problems having symmetric placing of the pieces. We have presented many of them (see the problems 7, 155, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 245, 246, 247, 250, 309).

The special case of symmetry around a vertical axis (same direction with the columns) and pattern reminding a fir-tree, has been used by composers to send wishes during Christmas time. These problems are known as Christmas trees (Xmas trees). Maybe the most popular problem, from those published here, is Problem-155, which is a tree from the side of the Black. (See also here).

Today we present an original two-mover by Nikos Pergialis, known composer of rebetiko songs and also chess problems!. It shows a small Christmas tree and a star (the white Queen) sheding light from above. As he himself has described it "Simple and elegant like a rebetiko song".

(Problem 392)
Nikos Pergialis,
original, 2009
Mate in 2 moves.
#2 (4 + 4)

Tries : [1.Qb6? Kxc3!], [1.Qf6? / Qh8? Kxe3!]

Key : 1.Qd6! (zugzwang).
1...Kxc3 / Kxe3 2.Qa3# / Qg3# (two echo model mates).
1...d4 2.Qxd4#

Wishes to all, to live happily these holidays ... and all the other days!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Composers cooperating, (No.2)

Today we choose to remember Nikos Siotis, (this was his name-day). He was very good composer, specialized in helpmates, and cared for the new problemists. We have published a problem by Nikos Siotis in this blog (see here, in cooperation with Demetrius Kapralos).

In today's post we will see two of Siotis problems, one in cooperation with the Grand Maitre Byron Zappas and another in cooperation with Vassilios D. Lyris.

Not one of them is with us anymore, and we remember them with admiration for their work.

(Problem 390)
Nikos Siotis and Byron Zappas,
First Prize, The Problemist, 1994
Helpmate in 3 moves. Two solutions.
h#3 2.1.1... (10 + 12)

Line clearances with annihilations, followed by self-blockings and black interferences. Diagonal / Orthogonal transformation.

(Problem 391)
Basil Lyris and Nikos Siotis,
First Honourable Mention, Sredba na Solidarnosta, 1986-9,
Helpmate in 2 moves. Three solutions.
h#2 (5 + 16)

The black Queen unpins and then is pinned, so that white Queen can take action.

I will be waiting (for a few days) for you to send solutions.

(The problems are included in the edition "Selected Chess Compositions by Greek Composers", prepared for the 47_th World Congress of Chess Composition, Halkidiki, Greece, September 4-11, 2004. Editor : Harry Fougiaxis).