Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 19th

John Niemann (19-04-1905 - 22-07-1990) German composer and Honorary Master of chess composition

John Niemann

John Niemann was an expert in helpmates, composed about 500 of them and wrote in 1950 "Echo im Hilfsmatt" containing 375 echo mate helpmates and in 1977 "Wenigsteiner im Hilfsmatt".
He also collected during his life about 65,000 helpmate problems, which were later input into the Chess Problem DataBase.
He was International Judge and director of the helpmate section of the 1914-1944 FIDE Album.

Niemann, John
8th TT, Feenschach, 1953

h#6 2 + 13

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Alfreds A. Dombrovskis (19-04-1923 - 18-03-2000) Latvian composer and International Master

Alfreds Dombrovskis
Latvijas šahistu jaunrade. Riga, 1980
[Thanks to Александр Никитин ]

Alfreds Dombrovskis was a twomover expert and International Judge. He published more than 300 problems. He is the conceptor of the Dombrovskis theme:
1.X (2.A#) but 1...a!
1.Y (2.B#) but 1..b!
1.Z (2.T#) 1...a, b. 2.A, B#
He published in 1961 "Saha Kompozitzija Latvia" including more than 400 Latvian problems.
Udo Degener wrote a book recapitulating "50 Jahre Dombrovskis Theme - 1234 Zweizüger" in 2007.
With the following problem, Dombrovskis won the Probleemblad tourney, Latvia's Championship and also the USSR Championship.

Dombrovskis, Alfreds A.
Probleemblad, 1958
1st Prize

#2 vv 7 + 8

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Žarko Pešikan (19-04-1926 - 21-08-2009) Serbian composer

Žarko Pešikan developed a certain style in series problems.

Pešikan, Žarko
Problemkiste, 2006

Ser-h=14 10 + 8

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Лев Владимирович Грольман (19-04-1941 - 11-08-2022) Russian composer and International Master (Lev Vladimirovich Grolman)

Leonid Yarosh, Stanislav Galyakberov and Lev Grolman

Lev Grolman was another composer from Kazan... He composed in many genres, but one of his favourite fields was the miniature. He asserted himself during the 1990s in the fairy field.

Грольман, Лев Владимирович
64 — Шахматное обозрение 1994
3rd Prize

#3 6 + 15

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A fairy example:

Грольман, Лев Владимирович
Die Schwalbe, 1999 (10478)

b8, a6, c1: Nightrider
4 + 4

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Gerald Ettl (19-04-1971) German composer

Gerald Ettl composes direct mates, selfmates, helpmates and retro problems. He also developed his own solving programme and he was the founder of "mpk", the little magazine of the "Münchener Problemkreis", back in January 2004. In September 2010 it was taken over by Frank Müller and is available online.

See also on video:

Ettl, Gerald
feenschach, 1995

h# 6 + 10

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Theophilus Harding Willcocks (19-04-1912 - 04-2014) British composer

Phil Willcocks

Theophilus Harding Willcocks was also known as Phil Willcocks. He was a mathematician and a fairy and retro chess enthusiast, member of the Fairy Chess Correspondence Circle, whose specialty is "Last Move?" problems (an example has been selected below).
Let's quote, who offers many interesting information: "Phil Willcocks and H. E. de Vasa were the first to construct diagonally magic knight’s tours on the 16x16 and larger boards (following on from the work of H. J. R. Murray who died in 1955). He published articles in Recreational Mathematics Magazine 1962 and Journal of Recreational Mathematics 1968 on this subject."

As Michael McDowell wrote on Mat Plus forum:"There cannot have been many composers who lived to celebrate their centenary" and Phil Willcocks deserved this celebration.

Willcocks, Theophilus Harding
Die Schwalbe, 1967

Last move?  2 + 10

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