Monday, November 26, 2012

Solving Contest ESSNA 2012

(See (lower left in picture) that I have not put in its place the wPf4 in the two-mover. Eventually, after several minutes, I thought "this could be solved if it had a wPf4". I looked in the sheet of problems, and there it was!)

The Solving Contest of Attica 2012 took place in Booze Cooperativa (57 Kolokotroni str., Athens) with cooperation of ESSNA (Union of Chess Clubs in Attica) and "Athletic Club Zinon of Glyfada" on Sunday, November 25 afternoon, last 1 hour and 45 minutes (not 2,5 hours as planned). After the contest, in memory of Lorenzo Mabillis poet, fighter and chessplayer, and his heroic death a hundred years ago, started a presentation of facts and pictures of Mabillis, his life and his era.
In the contest six problems should be solved, 12 solvers gave answers, and many other visitors passed and received information.

Winner was Nikos Mendrinos with 24 points (in 30 maximum), second was Leokratis Anemodouras with 20 points, third was John Garoufalidis with 18 points, fourth was Emmanuel Manolas with 16, fifth was Harry Fougiaxis with 15 and in sixth position two solvers, Kostas Kordis and Alexandros Seilemezis with 13.
The compositions were relevant with the work of the pioneer Greek composers of 19th century, Dr D. Melissinos, Joseph Liberalis, Nicolas Miniatis and Lorenzo Mabillis. A musical work was heard again after many years of latency, "Elegy for the death of the great American chessplayer Paul Murphy", composed by the Greek Joseph Liberalis in 1884.

From the Organizers


Dionyssios Melissinos
American Chess Congress, 1880
4s3/3K2s1/4Sp2/P1pk4/1b1r1P2/2B5/8/1Q2RB2  (8 + 7)


1.Ba6! [5] zugzwang
1…Sf5 / Sh5 / Sxe6 2.Q(x)f5#
1…Sd6 / Sc7 2.S(x)c7#
1…Ba3 / Bxc3 / Bxa5 2.Qb7#
1…Rd1? 2.Rxd1# / Qxd1# / Qe4#
1…Rd2  / Re4 2.Q(e)4#
1…Rd3 2.Qxd3#
1…c4 / Rc4 2.Bb7#
1…Rxf4 2.Sxf4#
1…f5 2.Re5#

With the first move, White foresees that mate can be achieved whatever the Black plays. Then there are selfblocks, while the black Rook corrects its arrival square trying to defend.
Problem of the physician and mathematician Dionyssios Melissinos (1836-1905), 4th prize in the Fourth American Chess Congress 1880, (where the American Sam Loyd took the third prize).


Chocholous G.
Breslau, 20-07-1889
5K2/s7/r2SB3/7p/1p3k2/3p2RQ/8/1rs5  (5 + 8)


1.Se8! [1] [2.Qh4+ Ke5 3.Re3# [1] ]
1…Ke4 2.Qh4+ Ke5 3.Re3#
1…Rxe6 2.Qh4+ Ke5 3.Rg5# [1]
1…Ke5 2.Rg4 [3.Qe3#] Rxe6 3.Qxh5# [1]
2…Kxe6 3.Rg5# [1]

Improvement of a problem from the German solving championship Breslau, 20-07-1889, where winner was our Lorenzo Mabillis.

Joseph Liberalis
The London Figaro, 1877
3s4/2p5/2P5/3P4/kPS1p3/P3P2K/4B3/S1B5  (10 + 4)


1.Kg2! [1]
1…Sxc6 2.Sb6+ cxb6 3.dxc6 b5 4.Bd1# or 1…Se6 2.Sb6+ cxb6 3.dxe6 b5 4.Bd1# or 1…Sb7 2.Sb6+ cxb6 3.cxb7 b5 4.Bd1# [1]
(also 2.Sd2 [3.Sab3 [4.Sc5#]] or [3.Sb1 [4.Sc3#]] ή [3.Sdb3 [4.Sc5#]] or [3.Sxe4 [4.Sc3#]],
and even 2.cxb7 [3.b8=Q / R [4.Bd1#]]).
1…Sf7 2.Sd2 [3.Sab3 / Sdb3 [4.Sc5#]] or [3.Sb1 [4.Sc3#]] or [3.Sxe4 [4.Sc3# / Sc5#]] [2]
(1...Kb5? 2.Sd6+ [1] Ka4 / Kb6 3.Bd1# / Sc8#)

Problem of the musician Joseph Liberalis (1820-1899), reprinted in newspaper "The London Figarο", 1877.


Kyriakos Frangoulis
Schach, 1982
5S2/5P1b/4K3/8/8/8/2Sr4/7k  (4 + 3)

+ (White plays and wins)

1. Sd7! [1] 
1…Re2+ 2.Se3! [1] Rxe3+ 3.Se5 Rf3! [1] 4.Sxf3 Bg8! [1] 5.fxg8=B [1]  +-

Study by Kyriakos Frangoulis from Nydri (in island Lefkada), published in the German magazine Schach in 1982. Kyriakos Frangoulis was the only Greek composer for chess studies. His first study was published in 1978. At November 22, fifteen years had passed since his death.

The program Fritz11 gives as best continuation this less spectacular one :
1.Sd7! Bf5+ 2.Ke5 Bxd7 3.f8=Q Rxc2 4.Qf1+ Kh2 5.Qf4+ Kg1
6.Qd4+ Kh2 7.Qxd7 Rg2 8.Qd6 Kg3 9.Ke4+ +-


Nicolas Miniatis
The Mercury, 11-11-1893
2Q5/1p6/1P3p2/1PK1krR1/5r2/4sPB1/1S3P2/4R1bs  (10 + 8)

s#2 (Reverse two-mover)

1.Bh2! [1]
1…Sxf2 2.Sd3+ Sxd3# [1]
1…Sg3 / Bxh2 2.Sc4+ Rxc4# [1]
1…Bxf2 2.Rxe3+ Bxe3# [1]
1…Rxg5 / fxg5 2.Qe6+ Kxe6# [1]

Nicolas Miniatis (1860-1943), son of a Greek freight broker, lived in Manchester of England and was top player in the period 1885-1895. He is known for the 1890 match, which lost 4-1, versus the later world champion Lasker.


Sam Loyd (version by Eduard Schildberg)
Chess Monthly, 11/1860
6R1/7q/8/5k2/3K1B2/8/8/8  (3 + 2)

h#3 (Helpmate three-mover)

1.Kf6 Ra8 2.Kg7 Bb8 3.Kh8 Be5#

It is a more economic version of the first helpmate composition of all times, published by the top (till today) composer of chess problems, the American Sam Loyd, in the magazine "Chess Monthly" in November 1860. 
(The initial problem by Sam Loyd had a black Bishop on h2).

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dan Meinking (1960 - 2012)

The important chess composer Dan Meinking died yesterday of heart attack.
An obituary was posted in The Cincinnati Enquirer. RIP Dan.
He had created great chess compositions and other brain games (Alpha Sleuth, Lexmaze).
He liked to work together with other composers (see here the Problem-204).
A collection of his problems is here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A selfmate by Pavlos Moutecidis

Our great composer Pavlos Moutecidis has been awarded with a Special Prize, which I found in an issue of the magazine The Ural`s Problemist from Russia. You will see it here, at page 16.

The prized composition is a miniature selfmate (the White plays and forces the Black to give mate) in thirteen moves. There is a twin, moving all pieces two rows down, again selfmate s#13.

Pavlos Moutecidis
Special Prize
5K2/5S2/6k1/6r1/6QQ/8/8/8 (4+2)
s#13, Twins : a) Diagram, b) a8=a6
1.Se5+ Kf6 2.Sc4 Kg6 3.Qhh5+ Kf6 4.Qh6+ Rg6 5.Qf3+ Ke6 6.Qhe3+ Kd7 7.Qb7+ Kd8 8.Qd4+ Rd6 9.Qa8+ Kc7 10.Qe5 Kd7 11.Qg7+ Ke6 12.Qg4+ Kf6 13.Qd8+ Rxd8#
1.Qe2+ Kf4 2.Qe6 Kf3 3.Sd4+ Kf4 4.Kf7 Kg5 5.Qeh6+ Kg4 6.Qe2+ Rf3+ 7.Kg6 Kg3 8.Qhh2+ Kg4 9.Qe6+ Rf5 10.Kh7 Kg5 11.Qg8+ Kf6 12.Qd8+ Kf7 13.Qh5+ Rxh5#

To composer achieves his goal with continuous checks and pins. The pieces have great mobility. There are Switchbacks and Circuits of the pieces. The final mate image is Echo Chameleon (=the bK is mated in a squares of different colours) in Diagonal Mirror position.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

2012-12-31 Composition Contest Vukcevich-75 JT

To celebrate Milan’s 75th birthday, StrateGems is announcing a jubilee tourney in the following sections:
Section A - Twomovers, Judge: Vasyl Dyachuk
Section B - Threemovers, Judge: Robert Burger
Section C - Moremovers, Judge: Richard Becker
Section D - Helpmates, Judge: Dan Meinking
Section E - Selfmates, Judge: Petko A. Petkov
The theme for the tourney is free. A special consideration will be given to compositions which show one (or more) of Milan’s favorite themes: Reciprocal Change, Bristol, Novotny and Grimshaw.
Prizes in books and free subscriptions will be given to all prize winners. An electronic version (PDF) of StrateGems, with the tourney results, will be emailed to all tourney participants.
Send to: Mike Prcic
Closing date: 31.12.2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nikos Pergialis, 5 compositions

We proceed with 5 more compositions of the Greek problemist Nikos Pergialis, the last rebetis (composer and singer of Rebetiko songs).
Here are three twomovers and two more-movers, one 4-mover and one 6-mover. After the solutions we write the themes in these problems. I say again that he likes compositions with at most 12 pieces (Meredith) and Ideal mates.


Nikos Pergialis

8/5R2/4p1K1/1Q6/1S1B2s1/3R4/2S1k3/r7 (7 + 4)

Tries : [1.Bc3? Sf6!], [1.Rd1+? Kxd1!], [1.Rd2+? Kxd2!], [1.Rf2+? A Sxf2!], [1.Qe5+? B Sxe5+!], [1.Qf5? exf5!], [1.Qh5? Rf1!]

Key : 1.Qg5! [2.Rd2# / Qd2# / Qxg4#] (The Queen abandons the battery).
1...Sf2 2.Rxf2# A
1...Se3 2.Qxe3#
1...Se5+ 2.Qxe5# B
1...Sf6 2.Qg2#

Theme Vladimirov : [Two try-moves are also mate-moves in two variations]. They are denoted as Α and Β.
Theme Elmgren : [At least three black pieces are defending in tries.]. Here are defending all the black pieces.
Theme Option : [The same white piece is making at-least two try-moves and the key-move]. Here, the wQ.
Theme Grab : [The defending piece is captured in more than two variations]. Here, the black Knight is captured in three variations.
Anti-Quadruple : The black Knight is defending from four positions, with result four different mates. Duel Black - White.


Nikos Pergialis

1r6/4R3/2k1K3/7B/S1P1Sp2/8/4P3/7r  (7 + 4)

Key: 1.Bf3! [2.Sd2# / Sc3# / Sc5# / Sd6# / Sf6# / Sg5# / Sg3# / Sf2#]
1...Rd1 2.Sd2#
1...Rb3 2.Sc3#
1...Rb5 2.Sc5#
1...Rd8 2.Sd6#
1...Rh6+ 2.Sf6#
1...Rh5 2.Sg5#
1...Rh3 2.Sg3#
1...Rf1 2.Sf2#

The key creates a Knight-Bishop battery but exposes the wK to check danger.
Theme White Knight Wheel [the wSe4 moves to eight positions. Task!]. The lifting of this Knight fires the battery and creates eight threats.
Theme Pseudo-Fleck : [The multiple key-threats are separated with eight from the black defences]. It is a Pseudo-Fleck because there are black moves not separating the key-threats.
Duel Black-White. There are mates with mirror symmetry.


Nikos Pergialis

8/8/5S2/Q1pP4/8/2P2kP1/3K2p1/4B2s  (7 + 4)

Key : 1.Qa4! [2.Qd1# / Qe4# / Qf4# / Qg4#]
1…c4 2.Qd1#
1…g1=Q/R/S/B 2.Qe4#
1…Sf2 2.Qf4#
1…Sxg3 2.Qg4#

Theme Fleck : [All the multiple key-threats are separated with the black defences].


Nikos Pergialis

8/8/8/8/1p1R4/SRp5/K1p5/2k5  (4 + 4)

Key : 1.Sxc2!
1…Kxc2 2.Rb1 b3+ 3.Rxb3 Kc1 4.Rxc3#

Key with a pseudo-sacrifice of the wS, which gives a flight to bK.
Switchback of the wR in its initial position. Switchback of the bK.
Ideal mate.

Nikos Pergialis says:
"Re ri'hno za'ria (Hey, I throw the dice) /
ke fe'rno do'rtia (and I bring four and four) /
re stis ma'vris go'menas (hey, at black broad's) /
tin po'rta (the door)".


Nikos Pergialis

8/8/8/7k/8/5SR1/8/6K1  (3 + 1)

Key : 1.Rg8!
1…Kh6 2.Sg5 Kh5 3.Sf7 Kh4 4.Kg2 Kh5 5.Kf3 Kh4 6.Rh8#

Weningsteiner (only 4 pieces). Each white piece makes 2 moves.
Switchback of the bK. Ideal mat.

Nikos Pergialis says:
"Re ri'hno za'ria (Hey, I throw the dice) /
ke fe'rno exa'res (and I bring six and six) /
re mas ta tro'ne (hey, they eat our money) /
i alania'res (the broads in the street)".

One of our readers, Alotan, has informed us that this problem is anticipated: "The #6 (Νο.629) reminds me of something. A search in WinChloe gives the (Kh1, Rf2, Sf3 - Kd1), #6, Hilmar Ebert, Problem 1977: 1.Ra2! etc.. With such a few pieces, it is almost impossible to avoid anticipation. Especially for orthodox problems, which are almost exhausted".
These things happen! We will continue with other compositions of Nikos Pergialis.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Composition Contest BAJTAY József-110 – SZABÓ László-60

(in memoriam BAJTAY József-110 – SZABÓ László-60)

BAJTAY József magyar sakkszerző mesterjelölt és SZABÓ László magyar I. osztályú
sakkszerző emlékére, születésük 110., illetve 60. évfordulója alkalmából nemzetközi
sakkfeladvány-szerző versenyt rendezünk, az alábbi osztályokban:
I.: Önmatt 11 – n lépésben. Szabad téma. Versenybíró: PÁSZTOR József.
II.: Segítőmatt 4 –n lépésben. Szabad téma. Versenybíró: CSÁK János.
Pályázatok ábrán, teljes megfejtéssel, névvel és címmel ellátva a versenyvezető (MAJOROS
Béla) címére: küldhetők.
Határidő: 2012. december 31.

Gyula – Bakonyoszlop – Debrecen, 2012. augusztus 15.

(in memoriam BAJTAY József-110 – SZABÓ László-60)

Ont he occasion of the 110th anniversary of the birth of the Hungarian chess-problem
composer candidate-master József BAJTAY and the 60th anniversary of the birth of the
Hungarian 1st-class chess-problem composer László SZABÓ, a memorial tourney will be
held in the following classes:
I.: Selfmates in 11 or more moves. Free theme. Judge József PÁSZTOR.
II.: Helpmates in 4 or more moves. Free theme. Judge: János CSÁK.
Entries, with diagram, full solution and name(s) and adress(es) of author(s), should be sent to
the organizer: Béla MAJOROS at .
Deadline for entries: 31 December 2012

Gyula – Bakonyoszlop – Debrecen, 2012. augusztus 15.

János CSÁK – Béla MAJOROS – József PÁSZTOR

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WCCI World Championship in Composing

The WFCC, World Federation for Chess Composition, has announced WCCI, World Championship in Composing for Individuals, 2010-2012.
Read the announcement here :

Two details :
The WCCI includes the following sections: 
A) Twomovers, B) Threemovers, C) Moremovers, D) Endgame studies, E) Helpmates, F) Selfmates, G) Fairies, H) Retro problems.

February 15th 2013: Deadline for the submission of entries to the director. 
The tourney director is Mike Prcic (e-mail:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

We do not always need brute force to win

In a Greek blog we saw a comment about pawn promotion, where it seems that subpromotion is not important: "...we promote almost always to Queen. ... The promotion to another piece has no meaning, because their moves is a subset of the Queen moves."

We have repeaterly given examples where we do not win by getting more power, but by getting the proper piece. In the theme AUW (=Allumwandlung, all the promotions) especially, we have seen many compositions where all the promotions occur in one variation or in more variations during the solutions.

Remember something that Darwin said, that "in life survives not the strongest species, nor the more clever, but the most adaptive to its environment."

We will see here four miniature compositions by Nikos Pergialis, where the white pawns start from their initial positions and reach a promotion square (this is the theme Excelsior), and they must be promoted to a different piece in each problem to satisfy the stipulation, helpmate in six moves. In some compositions we have Double Excelsior, where pawns of both colors are promoted.


Nikos Pergialis
7K/1p6/7k/7p/8/8/2P5/8 (2+3)

1.b5 c4 2.b4 c5 3.b3 c6 4.b2 c7 5.b1=B c8=Q [Promotion to Queen] 6.Bg6 Qc1#

Theme double Excelsior, Ideal mate.

The last rebetis (remember rebetiko songs) Nikos Pergialis comments with verses :
 "Kapra'los, Za'ppas, Manolas' / (Kapralos, Zappas, Manolas)
 ke Fougiaxis', Siape'ras / (and Fougiaxis, Siaperas)
 na fe'rno, me simvou'lepsan, / (to bring, they advised me,)
 ta di'skola is pe'ras. / (the difficult to completion.)"


Nikos Pergialis
8/2s5/S1K5/8/8/8/3Pk3/8  (3+2)

1.Kd1 d4 2.Kc2 d5 3.Kb3 d6 4.Ka4 dxc7 5.Ka5 c8=R [Promotion to Rook] 6.Kxa6 Ra8#

Theme Excelsior, Royal march, Ideal mate.


Nikos Pergialis

8/p7/6s1/5pkp/8/6K1/3P4/8 (2+5)

1.a5 d4 2.a4 d5 3.a3 d6 4.a2 d7 5.a1=B d8=S [Promotion to Knight] 6.Bf6 Sf7#

Theme double Excelsior, Ideal mate.


Nikos Pergialis
1k6/8/8/8/8/8/6BP/5K2 (3+1)

1.Kc7 h4 2.Kd6 h5 3.Ke5 h6 4.Kf4 h7 5.Kg3 h8=B [Promotion to Bishop] 6.Kh2 Be5#

Weningsteiner, Royal march, Theme Excelsior, Ideal mate.

The last rebetis Nikos Pergialis says :
 "San den dre'pome ego' liga'ki / (I should be a little ashamed)
 na me katafe'ri e'na piona'ki / (to allow to a little pawn)
 na me ho'si sto tetragona'ki / (to squeeze me to a little square)
 na mou ka'ni idaniko' mata'ki. / (to make on me a little ideal mate.)
 As afi'soume lipon' to ska'ki / (Let us leave now the chess)
 ke na poume e'na tragouda'ki! / (and sing a little song!)"