Monday, April 30, 2012

May 1st

Авенир Николаевич Попандопуло (01-05-1920 - 24-05-1988) Russian composer and International Master (Avenir Nikolayevich Popandopulo)

Avenir Popandopulo
Problem, February 1968
[Thanks to Александр Никитин ]

Avenir Popandopulo was also an International Judge. He composed about 300 strategic multimovers. About 100 of his problems can be found in R.Kofman's "Избранные композиции" (1985) together with works by Grin, Dombrovskis, Kofman and Kuznetsov. A nice obituary by Russian metal scientists in "Metal Science and Heat Treatment" (August 1988, Volume 30, Issue 8, p 637) had been made available for free on but is now on

Попандопуло, Авенир Николаевич
Magyar Sakkélet, 1965
2nd Prize

#4 6 + 15

Show Solution
Руденко, Валентин Федорович & Попандопуло, Авенир Николаевич
2nd WCCT, 1980
1st Prize, 1980-1983

#6 11 + 14

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 30th

Jan Vašta (30-04-1885 24-03-1968) Czech composer

Jan Vašta composed about 700 Bohemian problems. M. Soukop dedicated his book "Jan Vašta - Zlatý prut" (1942) to Vašta's work: it can be downloaded here.
Erik Zierke commented this threemover in "Weniger bekannte Stücke" (page 76) which can be downloaded from Ralf Krätschmer's site.

A very typical Bohemian direct mate to start today's menu:

Vašta, Jan
Hampshire Telegraph and Post, 1920
3rd Prize

#3 5 + 6

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 29th

Josef Paclt (29-04-1845 - 10-02-1916) Czech composer

Josef Paclt belonged to the Bohemian school of composition. An example of Paclt's production:

Paclt, Josef
Světozor, 1884

#4 7 + 9

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April 28th

Zsigmond Schuster (28-04-1861 - 02-10-1910) Hungarian composer

The following classical 4-pieces threemover by this direct mate composer is a good challenge for solvers:

Schuster, Zsigmond
La Stratégie, Sep 1891 (3890)

#3 3 + 1

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 27th

John Ormerod Scarlett Thursby (27-04-1861 - 26-12-1920) British composer

John Thursby published a collection of his own problems in 1883 entitled "Seventy Five Chess Problems": it can be downloaded here.

Thursby, John Ormerod Scarlett
Holyoke Transcript, 1881
3rd Prize, (Set)

#2* 7 + 6

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 26th

Johann Joseph Petrus Adrianus Seilberger (26-04-1896 - 12-02-1962) Dutch composer

J.J.P.A. Seilberger
[Scan by M. McDowell]

Johann Seilberger is the author of more than 1,000 problems, of which 700 twomovers. He wrote "Het Oplossen van Schaakproblemen" (1919) together with Cor Goldschmeding, a good collection of problem themes.

Seilberger, Johann Joseph Petrus Adrianus
Magyar Sakkélet, Aug 1959 (2593)
3rd Prize

#3 8 + 11

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Seilberger, Johann Joseph Petrus Adrianus
Arbejder-Skak, 1954

s#2 12 + 7

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 25th

W.J.Miller (25-04-1838) American composer

Only one known problem by this composer, but such a delightful piece:

Miller, W. J.
Sunny South, 3rd Aug 1889 (644)

#2 6 + 5

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Monday, April 23, 2012

April 24th

Luigi Centurini (24-04-1820 - 10-11-1900) Italian composer

Luigi Centurini published in 1853 the booklet "Giuoco degli Scacchi. Finale di Torre e Cavallo contro Torre" that made him famous. and he remained interested in endgames. He composed at least one #4 but he is best known for his talents of endgame analyst.
You can try to solve (or to remember the solution of) the below position or you can go directly to this webpage for three such endgames.

Centurini, Luigi

+ 3 + 2

Show Solution

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 23rd

Frank Janet (23-04-1875 - 08-09-1957) American composer

Frank Janet was one of the Good Companions who specialized in twomovers. His real name was Elias Silberstein.

Janet, Frank
Good Companion, Dec 1914
1st Prize

#2 10 + 8

Show Solution

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 22nd

Gyula R. Neukomm (22-04-1892 - 09-10-1957) Hungarian composer

 Gyula (Julius) Neukomm, 1930
Gyula (Julius) Neukomm composed helpmates, directmates and other genres as well. Together with Kovacs and Schor he wrote a dictionary about chess problem terminology "Feladvány Műszótár" (1926).
He was chief editor of the Hungarian magazine "Magyar Sakkvilag", president of PCCC from 1956 until his death and International Judge.
His problems were appreciated by solvers for their entertaining qualities:

Neukomm, Gyula R.
Hundertjahrfeier-Turnier des Ungarischen
1st Prize

#9 13 + 11

Show Solution
Neukomm, Gyula R.
Magyar Sakkvilág, 1948

#10 8 + 8

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Neukomm, Gyula R.
Magyar Sakkvilág, 1945

h#4b) wKh6->h5
2 + 1

Show Solution

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 21st

Милан Велимировић (21-04-1952 - 25-02-2013) Serbian composer and Grandmaster (Milan Velimirović)

Milan Velimirović was not just 'another' Serbian Grandmaster (in composition and in solving) and International Judge. He was also an indefatigable writer and editor, who edited first the Yugoslav Mat magazine (1974-1984), then the old Mat Plus (1994-1999) and afterwards the new Mat Plus (since 2007). Unfortunately, due to economical problems Milan stopped the publication of Mat Plus magazine in 2012.

Based on his IT knowledge, Milan built a site with a forum related with Mat Plus magazine where a community has grown and flourished. He has also offered some facilities to the website members, such as a web-based chess diagram creator (membership is granted to all persons who register on the site). He created the Mat Plus Librarian solving program, that can also serve as a database module and the web service 'PGN Live' used by the Chess Endgame Study Database.

Milan was also a renowned twomover composer and theoretician, who wrote many reference articles. He composed in other genres too (direct mates, selfmates).
He was also the author, with Marjan Kovačević, of "2345 Schachprobleme – Anthology of Chess Combinations" (1997).
He compiled the book "Encyclopedia of Chess Problems" (2012) together with Kari Valtonen.
Update on February 25th,2013: Milan passed away this morning. Marjan Kovačević announced all chess composers on Milan's website, Mat Plus forum.

Велимировић, Милан
Tovariš 1971 (v)
1st Prize

#2 vvvvv  11 + 3

Show Solution
Велимировић, Милан
2nd WCCT, 1980
1st Place, 1980-1983

#2  10 + 9

Show Solution
And now for something completely different:

Велимировић, Милан
The Problemist, 1980 (v)
Special Prize

#69  2 + 11

Show Solution

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 20th

Thomas King-Parks (20-04-1884 - 23-11-1918) Irish composer

Thomas King-Parks was a direct mate and endgame study composer. Here is a hard nut to crack:

King-Parks, Thomas
Football-Field, 1908
1st Prize

#2 13 + 8

Show Solution

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

Show Solution

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 18th

Edouard Pape (18-04-1870 - 06-03-1949) French composer

Edouard Pape on the Eiffel Tower
American Chess Bulletin, sept. 1921

Edouard Pape composed more than 2000 problems, most of them twomovers in the "Good Companions" style - he was vice-president of the Good Companions. He wrote a chess-themed novel "La variante F.VIII du Gambit Camulogène". The Pape theme requests the double en-passant capture of the same white pawn.

Pape, Edouard
Good Companion, 1917
1st Prize

#2 7 + 10

Show Solution

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 17th

Marcel Aschenazi (17-04-1924 - 18-02-1997) Romanian-American composer

Marcel Aschenazi enjoyed new ideas in #2 and #3 and in heterodox problems.
You may be interested in his twomover composed in collaboration with Virgil Nestorescu or in this threemover.

Aschenazi, Marcel
2nd WCCT, 1980
2nd Place, 1980-1983

#3 14 + 11

Show Solution

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 16th

Esteban Puig y Puig (16-04-1878 - 29-01-1940) Spanish player and composer

Esteban Puig y Puig

Esteban Puig y Puig did not compose many problems, but he was a very good player. He founded the first Spanish chess column ("La Noticias") in 1909.  He was the first president of the SEPA (Spanish Problemists Association) and of the Catalan Chess Federation.
He wrote "Apuntes críticos sobre la obra 150 fins de partie de Mr. Henri Rinck, con una disertacion crítica sobre esta clase de composiciones" about Rinck's studies in 1908. In composing he favoured the "Good Companion" style.

Puig Y Puig, Esteban
4th Concurso Nacional Español, 1920
1st Prize

#2 7 + 12

Show Solution

Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 15th

Manfred Zucker (15-04-1938 - 23-10-2013) German composer and FIDE Master

 Manfred Zucker in 2008

Manfred Zucker was the editor of the "Probleme und studien"column in Schach from April 1973 until 2000 and has become the editor of the moremovers and selfmates column in Problem-Forum. He is also an International Judge.
Martin Hoffmann wrote Manfred Zucker's portrait in "Das Porträt: Manfred Zucker, Chemnitz" published in Schweizerische Schachzeitung which can be read online here. Fritz Hoffmann, Günter Schiller, Karl-Heinz Siehndel and Manfred Zucker wrote "407 Aufgaben und Studien" in 1984.
Manfred Zucker composed moremovers and selfmates, as well as some studies.

His eulogy in German language „Matt in 75 Zügen“ can be read and downloaded here.

Zucker, Manfred
Schach-Echo, 1975
2nd HM

s#9 5 + 2

Show Solution

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 14th

Efim Dmitriyevich Bogolyubov (14-04-1889 - 18-06-1952) Russo-German player and composer (Ефим Дмитриевич Боголюбов)

Efim Bogolyubov as a young man

Efim Bogolyubov was a player and Grandmaster who played two matches against Alexandre Alekhine for the world championship (here for details).
Towards the end of his life he seemed to believe that posterity would remember him for his chess problems rather than for his chess games, as recalled Emil Diemer. He composed direct mates and endgame studies, for instance this moremover or the following threemover:

Bogoljubow, Efim Dmitrijewitsch
Staunton-100 JT, 1951

#3 13 + 5

Show Solution

April 13th

Otto von Oppen (13-04-1783 - 13-04-1860) German composer

Otto von Oppen was the editor of the Deutsche Schachzeitung between 1849-1858 (as was Johann Berger between 1899-1916).

Von Oppen, Otto
Schachzeitung, 1848

#4 6 + 9

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12th

Kenneth Samuel Howard (12-04-1882 - 20-07-1972) American composer

[Thanks to Александр Никитин]

Kenneth Samuel Howard wrote several books about chess composition: "How to solve chess problems" (1945), "The enjoyment of chess problems" (1943) and "One hundred years of the American two-move chess problem; a collection of 212 compositions by United States problemists" (1962).

Howard, Kenneth Samuel
Magyar Sakkélet, Jun 1969 (3599)
3rd Prize

#3 9 + 8

Show Solution

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 11th

Johann Nepomuk Berger (11-04-1845 - 17-10-1933) Austrian composer

Johann Berger
[Source: scan by M.McDowell]

Johann Berger was initiated to chess composition by J. Seeberger. He was interested in all fields of chess problems but preferred multimovers and studies. He can be considered as one of the founders of the German chess composition school. Chess players know him from the Sonneborn-Berger score system.
His book "Theorie und Praxis der Endspiele" (Theory and Practice of the Endgame, 1891) and was a reference work on endgames.
Helmut Roth wrote a book about him: "Der Schachkomponist. Johann Berger als Schachtheoretiker und Partiespieler" (1982).

The key of this threemover reminds of Giegold:

Berger, Johann Nepomuk
Frankfurter Zeitung, 1887

#3 7 + 5

Show Solution

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10th

Александр Иосифович Гербстман / Alexander Herbstman (10-04-1900 - 22-05-1982) Russian-Swedish composer and International Master

Alexander Herbstman
Problem, February 1968
[Thanks toАлександр Никитин]

Herbstman composed 350 studies during his long career and was among the 6 composers who were awarded the title of IM in composition in 1959 (with another endgame studies composer, André Chéron). He wrote ten books about chess studies and met many important Russian study composers of his time - the Kubbel brothers, V. Platov, N. Grigoriev and A. Troitzky. He recounted his relations with them in his article "Memories of famous composers" published in EG 65, 1981 which can be downloaded here.
His book "The Modern Chess Study" (1937, in Russian) can be downloaded here in .djvu format.

Herbstmann, Alexander
Schackvärlden, 1936
1st-2nd Prize

+ 4 + 7

Show Solution

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9th

Ефим Наумович Рухлис (09-04-1925 - 05-02-2006) Ukrainian-Uzbek-Israeli composer and FIDE Master(Efim Naumovich Rukhlis)

Efim Rukhlis

International Judge and twomover composer, Efim Rukhlis revolutionized the twomovers in the 1960s with his theme, that involves at least two transferred mates and on the same black defences two changed mates.
He composed more than 300 Ideal-Rukhlis twomovers, according to Milan Velimirović in his article "Ideal Ruchlis - A comprehensive overview" in Mat Plus Review, 9-10. Spring-Summer 2009.

Let's see an example from 1946:

Рухлис, Ефим Наумович
Свердловский конкурс 1946
1st-2nd Prize

#2 9 + 9

Show Solution

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April 8th

Valerian Oniţiu (08-04-1872 - 31-12-1948) Romanian composer

Valerian Oniţiu
[Revista Romana de Sah no.2/1949 page 54]

Valerian (Valeriu) Oniţiu was a complete composer who worked in all genres but composed more helpmates and selfmates. You can read his obituary in Romanian in Revista Romana de Sah no.2/1949 page 54
His most quoted problem is probably the following:

Oniţiu, Valerian
Die Schwalbe, May 1929

#6f2: Grasshopper
2 + 3

Show Solution
An interesting selfmate in 2 moves with multiple possibilities by the black Queen can be seen here, but we have selected another one, also based on zugzwang:

Oniţiu, Valerian
Magyar Sakk Lap, 1906

s#2 8 + 11

Show Solution

April 7th

Fricis Apšenieks (Frantz Apscheneek) (07-04-1894 - 25-04-1941) Latvian composer

Fricis Apšenieks
[Chess History]

Fricis Apšenieks was a chess player who played for Latvia at seven Chess Olympiads. He also composed problems, like another prominent Latvian chess player, Herman Mattison.

Apšenieks, Fricis
Deutsches Wochenschach, 1924

#3 4 + 3

Show Solution

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April 6th

Walter Hood Thompson (06-04-1873 - 28-02-1938) British (Scottish) composer

The following information is quoted from this genealogical site about the Thompson family.

He published "A list of books containing chess problems" in 1908, and contributed to "Ceské melodie: eine sammlung von 202 schachaufgaben" by Josef Pospíšil also published in 1908. Walter played (and lost) in a memorable chess game against Daniël Noteboom in Ramsgate in 1929.

Thompson, Walter Hood
Les Tours de Force, 1906

#2 v 11 + 12

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Friday, April 6, 2012

April 5th

Arthur Gehlert (05-04-1833 - 13-01-1904) German composer

The model mates of this threemover might interest the reader. We selected another spectacular threemover that captures the spirit of its time:

Gehlert, Arthur
Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1900

#3 6 + 8

Show Solution