Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 9th

József Szén (09-07-1805 - 13-01-1857) Hungarian composer

József Szén

József Szén was a strong player and his strength deployed itself all the better in the endgame.

He discovered what is now called the Szén position, a defensive drawing position in K+R vs K+R+B endgame. "Szén's position is the most important for over-the-board players. Compared to the Philidor Position, the kings are not opposite each other and the defending rook can prevent checkmate. The position is a draw only if there is enough room for the defending king on the side with the rooks" (Wikipedia).

More info about Szén can be found on and on the blog of Impala Publications. James O'Fee quotes "The Oxford Companion to Chess" (1984) by Hooper and Whyld and we can thus learn that József Szén had discovered all the mysteries of the "Three Pawns Problem" (initial position wKd1, Pa2, b2, c2 vs bKe8, Pf7, g7, h7) when he played it against Saint Amand and other French players in 1836. The verdict is that whoever plays first wins, for instance 1 Ke2 Kd7 2 Kf3 Kc6 3 a4 h5 4 c4 f5 5 Kg3 Kb6 6 b4 g5 7 a5+ Ka7 8 c5 h4+ 9 Kh2 Kb8 10 b5 f4 11 Kg2 g4 12 Kg1 g3 13 Kg2 Kb7 14 b6 +- (White sets up the last of four successive zugzwangs after which Black can no longer hold up White's pawns.) 14 ... Kb8 15 a6 Kc8 16 c6 Kb8 17 a7+ Ka8 18 c7  +-
The solution was published in 1838 by G. Walker and the English problemist William Bone.

Here is a conditional problem composed by him:

Szén, József
Le Palamède, 1836

#8 with bK mated on d5 3 + 1

Show Solution

Никита Михайлович Плаксин (09-07-1931) Russian composer and FIDE Master (Nikita Mikhailovich Plaksin)

Nikita Plaksin is a well-known retro composer who has published more than 1000 retro problems since 1964. With Andrey Kornilov he wrote the retro article "ВозвРАщение к истокам" (VozvRAshtenie k Istokam, 1997) which compiled the retro works of Alexey Troitsky and can be read, in Russian, here/
Nikita Plaksin does not compose only retro problems: you may see an example here.

First a rather easy retro problem:

Плаксин, Никита Михайлович
Karl Fabel MT, Die Schwalbe, Dec 1976 (42/)
1st Prize

#4 4 + 3

Show Solution

Before presenting a much more complex retro problem, let's quote Andrew Buchanan:
"ingenious retrograde analysts have constructed many positions, where one can prove that a large number of moves have passed since the last pawn move or capture. Nikita Plaksin is the acknowledged specialist in this sub-genre, with a jaw-dropping total of 94 such entries to his credit."

Плаксин, Никита Михайлович
Die Schwalbe, 1971

#3 15 + 14

Show Solution

Ilja Ketris (09-07-1967) Latvian composer

Ilja Ketris

Ilja Ketris is the Latvian delegate at the WFCC (former PCCC) and the creator of the Ankona project, a site commissioned by the World Federation for Chess Composition, which:
  • "maintains the list of persons, related to chess composition
  • provides for submitting chess problems to competitions, notably, FIDE Albums
  • gives convenient interface for creating your own competitions in chess composition
  • lets you enter, catalog, display, share your own problems for whatever purpose
  • offers problem solving online, using Popeye engine."

Ilja Ketris composes in many genres. Here is a helpmate:

Ketris, Iļja
Problem Online, 26th Dec 2006 (E0052)
2nd Prize

h#3b) Exchange d3 f3 4 + 13

Show Solution

Андрей Владимирович Селиванов (09-07-1967) Russian composer and Grandmaster (Andrey Vladimirovich Selivanov)

Andrey Selivanov, with Petko Petkov and Aleksandr Azhusin

Andrey Selivanov is one of the rare composers who have been granted both Grandmaster titles, in composing and in solving. Besides, Andrey is also an International Judge, was World Solving Champion in 2003 and was also a member of the Russian teams who won World Championships in solving and composing (three titles in both categories).

In chess composition he favours selfmates, but he also composes in other genres (endgame studies, direct mates, helpmates - see here for details). is in fact the website of the Ural's Problemist (Уральский проблемист), Andrey Selivanov being the chairman of the editorial board of magazine "Шахматная композиция" (Chess Composition) and editor of The Ural's problemist.
The current problem of the week on is Andrey Selivanov's latest success in the memorial tourney Nikoletic 2012. As can be seen in the preliminary results of the FIDE Album 2007-2009, he is the best scorer, with 40,83 points.

Here are two of his spectacular and recent successes:

Селиванов, Андрей Владимирович
2nd FIDE World Cup in Composing, 2011
1st Prize

s#5 12 + 13

Show Solution

Селиванов, Андрей Владимирович
ЮК А. Ажусину - 60
, 2011
1st Prize

s#9 9 + 2

Show Solution

1 comment:

  1. For the #3 by Plaksin, you may see an extended presentation here.