Monday, March 19, 2012

March 20th

Bernhard Kästner (20-03-1836 - 24-11-1889) German composer

Bernhard Kästner was a talented composer. Although his output is not quantitative, solvers will appreciate the tricky solutions of this 5-mover:

Kästner, Bernhard
Vasárnapi Újság, 1874 (741)

#5 5 + 6

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Bruno Oswald Sommer (20-03-1881 - 19-11-1971) German composer

Bruno Oswald Sommer
[Kartothek L-Z page 46]

Bruno Oswald Sommer had a long and successful composing career. Many compositions have been selected in the FIDE Album. One can admire his skills in twomovers, threemovers or moremovers (see below). This last one poses an interesting question: which is the correct square for the wK: g5 or g6?

Sommer, Bruno Oswald
Die Schwalbe, Jan 1956
2nd Prize

#4 11 + 7

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Josef Moravec (20-03-1882 - 29-08-1969) Czech composer and International Master

Let's quote
Joseph Moravec liked composing mainly Pawn Endings but gained a reputation in producing fine Rook and Pawn studies. He has over 200 endgame studies to his credit. He was a particular favourite of the English writer and player Gerald Abrahams. He was also a noted Problemist and made original contributions to that field of chess. In his endgame studies Moravec liked simple positions with few pieces on the board so this study is not really a true reflection of his style. See the early studies of his we looked at on the website which are examples of his usual style.
Emil Vlasak has produced an English version of his recent book of Moravec's work.
An anthology of his works in Czech was published and can be downloaded here.

Josef Moravec composed successfully in many genres. We selected a miniature, which became a selfmate classic:

Moravec, Josef
Časopis českých šachistů 1915 (1805)

s#6 3 + 3

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One of his most famous studies:

Moravec, Josef
La Stratégie, 1912 (403)
10th Prize

+ 2 + 3

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Vitaly Halberstadt (Виталий Гальберштадт) (20-03-1903 - 18-10-1967) Ukrainian-French composer and International Judge

Vitaly Halberstadt and Marcel Duchamp
Famous photograph by Man Ray
[heritage des echecs francais]

The endgame studies composer Vitaly Halberstadt published with Marcel Duchamp in 1932 "L'opposition et les cases conjuguées sont réconciliées". Halberstadt is also the author of "Curiosités tactiques des finales" (1954, 100 of his studies) and was the endgame columnist of many publications: Le Bulletin de la FFE, La Stratégie, le Bulletin Ouvrier des Echecs, L'Echiquier de France, Europe Echecs, Thèmes 64, etc.

(His date of death is October 18th, 1967 according to Vitaly Halberstadt's son Emmanuel. For reference: "Vitaly Halberstadt (20iii1903-18x1967)", Alain Pallier's article in EG 199, January 2015).

John Beasley collected some of Halberstadt's studies in BESN 40 Special issue, which can be downloaded here. As John puts it, "since this book is frequently cited but rarely seen, perhaps readers will welcome a brief account of [the] contents" of Halberstadt and Duchamp's book. Instead of quoting here one of Halberstadt's studies, we prefer to advise the reader to take the time to read John Beasley's excellent work and analysis.

Halberstadt is one of the composers you must also carefully study in moremovers. Only one K move will succeed in giving mate in 5, but which one?

Гальберштадт, Виталий
Clube de Xadrez Sao Paulo, 1955
1st Prize

#5 vv 3 + 5

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Mauno Kalervo Laisaari (20-03-1910 - 08-07-1994) Finnish composer

We don't have many details about Mauno Laisaari, except his 3.33 points in the FIDE Album. He is present in this selection with a nice endgame featuring an unexpected draw position:

Laisaari, Mauno Kalervo
Uusi Suomi, 1939

= 2 + 5

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Leopold Mozeş (20-03-1910 - 26-03-1990) Romanian-Hungarian composer

Leopold Mozeş composed occasionally. We quote a single line miniature with nice wQ moves:

Mozeş, Leopold
Buletin Problemistic, 1988

#4 4 + 3

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Veikko Sergei Karhia (20-03-1916 - 26-02-1996) Finnish composer

Veikko Karhia best known problem, which reached in the FIDE Album, realizes a theme which always catches some unaware solvers in WCSC. The difficult key is understood only at the end!

Karhia, Veikko Sergei
Lathi, 1943
2nd Prize

#5 8 + 9

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Wolfgang Bär (20-03-1949) German composer

Wolgang Bar is another specialist of the new German logical school of moremovers. If you can solve the following composition without looking at the solution, congratulations!

Bär, Wolfgang
Freie Presse, 30th Jun 1989 (3013)

#9 6 + 12

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Эдуард Эйлазян (20-03-1956) Ukrainian composer and FIDE Master(Eduard Eilazyan)

Eduard Eilazyan
[Ladya] [broken link]

Eduard Eilazyan is a contemporary endgame composer, with elaborate complex analytical studies often based on mutual zugzwangs. A typical example displaying a difficult wK march is the following:

Эйлазян, Эдуард
Шахматная композиция 2006
2nd Prize

+  6 + 5

Show Solution


  1. Hi Eric & Vlaicu,

    Your blog describes both Josef Moravec and Vitaly Halberstadt as "...composer and International Master."
    I presume you mean FIDE IM of OTB chess, though often you use the very same description to mean IM of Chess Composition.
    Can you please clarify this, and when possible, provide the year their FIDE titles were awarded.


    1. Thank you for your remark!
      It seems that our source was not reliable. Vitaly Halberstadt was International... Judge. As far as we could check, these two composers did not detain any other International title.

      However, they both fulfill the criteria for obtaining the title in chess composition: Halberstadt has 30.33 points in the FIDE Album and Moravec 35. Our source was the Handbook of Chess Composition

  2. Wolfgang Bär is one of the best contemporary moremover-specialist.
    He has been active for decades and is best known for his numerous masterpieces with technical perfection.
    Apparently, he was never interested for the submission in the FIDE albums. Only 6 points.
    Similar to Dieter Kutzborski and Sergiy Didukh (study composer)