Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 31st

Michael Keller (31-05-1949) German composer and Grandmaster

Michael Keller, Martin Wessels and Thorsten Zirkwitz, 2000
[Photo by Günter Büsing]

Michael Keller
[Echesspedia [broken link] ]

Michael Keller is specialized in two- and threemovers.

The Keller paradox is a direct mover theme that requests that "White moves to a square just controlled (or controlled again) by Black."
In 1994 Friedrich Chlubna wrote the collection "Michael Keller. Ein Meister der Schachkomposition" comprising 279 problems by Keller.

On Wikipedia you may see an excellent and strategically very rich threemover of his. Of course Michael Keller composed many beautiful problems, but here is a typical one:

Keller, Michael
Schach-Aktiv, 1999

#3 12 + 12

Show Solution

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 30th

John Brown (30-05-1827 - 17-11-1863) British composer

John Brown's headstone
refurbished by Brian Gosling
[source: Keverel Chess]

John Brown published his problems as “J. B. of Bridport” and was one of the outstanding chess
problem composers of the nineteenth century.
John D. Beasley made a book review of "John Brown / The forgotten chess composer?" by Brian Gosling (2011) which can be read here.

Here is an example of John Brown's style:

Brown, John
???? 1860

#3 4 + 3

Show Solution

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 29th

Francis (Frank) Bradley Phelps (29-05-1847 - 16-05-1916) American composer

Frank Bradley Phelps' grave

Francis Bradley Phelps was a direct mate composer.

Phelps, Frank Bradley
Checkmate, 1904

#3 7 + 7

Show Solution

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 28th

Richard Réti (28-05-1889 - 06-06-1929) Slovak-Austrian composer

Richard Réti

Richard Réti was a famous player and endgame composer. In 1931 was published "Samtliche Studien", the compilation by Artur Mandler of Reti's 53 studies. It can be read here.
John D. Beasley (yes, John again) recently edited the complete presentation of Richard Réti's endgames, who has always been "one of his chess heroes". You can enjoy this presentation and John's prose here on John's website and there is not much that could be added to John's work.
You may also enjoy reading Edward Winter's chess notes about the Réti Brothers.

Réti, Richard
Hastings and St.Leonards Post

+ 4 + 3

Show Solution

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 27th

We may now mention in passing Thomas Winter-Wood (27-05-1818 - 07-05-1905), a British chess player and patriarch of a Devon chess dynasty. His three children were chess players and two of them composed chess problems: Edward and Edith, who later became Mrs. Edith Baird, the "queen of chess".

Georges Mathieu Fuchs (27-05-1908 - 22-12-1992) French composer

Georges Fuchs
[Thèmes-64 111, juillet-septembre 1983]

Georges M. Fuchs learned chess at 8 and composed his first problem at 14. At the age of 18, he wrote in the French magazine "La Stratégie" and translated Franz Palatz's articles and book about strategic miniatures. He composed endgames, fairy problems and direct mates, mostly twomovers.
170 of his problems were collected in a monography by Jean Bertin in 1984.

Fuchs, Georges Mathieu
Western Morning News, 10th Sep 1927
1st Prize

#2 7 + 14

Show Solution

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 26th

Pietro Rossi (26-05-1924 - 18-11-2020) Italian composer

Pietro Rossi

Pietro Rossi was one of the most prominent study composers from Italy and you can have a look at this win study to have an idea about his style.
According to his Wikipedia webpage, The Italian Chess Federation awarded him a gold medal in May 2007 for "high achievements in the field of endgame-study composition".

Rossi, Pietro
Scacco! Jan 1999

h#22 solutions
2 + 3

Show Solution

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 25th

Фридрих Рудольфович Дюммель (25-05-1912 - 1975) Russian composer (Friedrich Rudolfovich Djummel)

Friedrich Rudolfovich Djummel
Problem, February 1968
[Thanks to Александр Никитин ]

Friedrich Djummel was a direct mate composer.

Дюммель, Фридрих
Правда Востока 1947
1st Prize

#2 9 + 11

Show Solution

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 24th

Dirk Borst (24-05-1963) Dutch composer and FIDE Master

Dirk Borst, Cheltenham 2002
Franziska Iseli ]

Dirk Borst composes mostly proof games, sometimes with a fairy condition. For this reason he is a usual presence at the Andernach meeting. Here is a good example among so many other PG prowess:

Borst, Dirk
feenschach, 1997

PG 21.0AndernachChess 16 + 12

Show Solution
He also composes fairy problems, such as this memorable neutral King reflex mate:

Borst, Dirk
The Problemist, 1997
1st Prize

r#2a8: Neutral King
7 + 9 + 1

Show Solution

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 23rd

Hércules Colonelli (23-05-1897 - 27-10-1994) Brazilian composer

Hércules Colonelli composed in all genres.One helpmate example:

Colonelli, Hércules
Boletim da UBP, 1963 (251)
2nd Place, Campeonato Brasileiro de Composição, 1962-1963

h#22 solutions
7 + 7

Show Solution

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 22nd

Emilian Dobrescu (22-05-1933) Romanian composer and Grandmaster

Emilian Dobrescu, 2008

Emilian Dobrescu was the first Romanian Grandmaster in 1989. He is a composer of twomovers and endgame studies, who became famous for his Q vs R+B analytical studies.
About his career as an economist you may read this article.

Emilian Dobrescu is co-author (with Virgil Nestorescu) of "Compoziţia şahistă în România" (Chess composition in Romania, 1973) and "Studii de şah" (Chess studies, 1984). He has approached the chess study as a possible application of the principles of the Pareto optimality ("Chess Study as a Multi-Criteria System", EG No.123, Vol. VIII, 1997). His book "Chess Study Composition" (ARVES, 1999) was considered as “Book of the Year” by ARVES.

To see many of his studies, please browse through JMRW website.
Nowadays, Emilian Dobrescu no longer composes.

The following study can give an idea of his style:

Dobrescu, Emilian
Schweizerische Schachzeitung, 1979
Special Prize

+ 5 + 5

Show Solution
Emilian Dobrescu was also a very good twomover composer:

Dobrescu, Emilian
3rd WCCT, 1986
1st Place

#2 vvvv 7 + 12

Show Solution

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 21st

Paul Köller (21-05-1889 - 15-07-1979) German composer

Paul Köller
[Kartothek A-K page 176]

Paul Köller was a directmate composer.

Köller, Paul
Die Schwalbe, 1930 (1296)
dedicated to F.W. von Holzhausen

#3 vv 6 + 5

Show Solution

May 20th

Machgielis (Max) Euwe (20-05-1901 - 26-11-1981) Dutch composer and o.t.b. World Champion

Max Euwe

Max Euwe was the fifth World Champion and a very appreciated president of FIDE. Robert Fischer paid him a (probably involuntary) compliment: "There's something wrong with that man. He's too normal."

His biography can be read here and other details linking Euwe with computer history here. It can be noted that "Euwe was indeed a very fine mathematician who concentrated more on his mathematics throughout his life than on his chess." For those interested in mathematical chess, the page here by Manfred Börgens might prove an interesting read (it tackles the question whether chess is a finite game).

However, Max Euwe also composed one chess problem and some studies. Here is the twomover:

Euwe, Machgielis
Kikeriki, 1927

#2 3 + 4

Show Solution

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19th

Eugene Beauharnais Cook (19-05-1830 - 13-03-1915) American composer

Eugene B. Cook

Biographical information about Eugene Cook has been reproduced in Harrie Grondjis' book "No Rook Unturned. A Tour Around The Saavedra Study" and on this blog from which we can quote the following information:
"Dr. Keidanz, in the introduction of his book The Chess Compositions of E.B. Cook of Hoboken New York 1927, informs us that many honours were bestowed upon Cook in his lifetime. Numerous problems were dedicated to him by his admirers and Samuel Loyd dedicated his book Chess Strategies to him. "
("The American Chess Magazine" can be read on
Eugene Cook was also a compiler of the collection "American Chess Nuts" in 1868 together with W.R. Henry and C.A. Gilberg. He had the third largest chess book collection in the world (2,500 volumes), which was donated to the Princeton University Library upon his death.

An easy one to start the day:

Cook, Eugene Beauharnais
The Illustrated London News, 6th Jan 1855 (e906)

#3  6 + 4

Show Solution
Cook, Eugene Beauharnais
The Albion (New York) 20th Oct 1855 (355)

#4 9 + 8

Show Solution
Cook, Eugene Beauharnais
American Chess-Nuts, 1868 (4-moves / 193)

#4 11 + 7

Show Solution

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18th

Carl Eckhardt (18-05-1894 - 12-12-1954) German composer

Carl Eckhardt
[Kartothek A-K page 80]

Since we do not have much information about Carl Eckhardt, except his card on page 80 of the Kartothek A-K let his problems evoke him.
First, a logical moremover:

Eckhardt, Carl
Die Schwalbe, Aug 1951

#5 7 + 6

Show Solution
Secondly, a selfmate with interesting pin play:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17th

Wilhelm Steinitz (17-05-1836 - 12-08-1900) German composer (and o.t.b.World Champion)

Wilhelm_Steinitz [Wikipedia]

Wilhelm Steinitz was of course the first World Champion, before Emmanuel Lasker won the title in the 1894 match, but he also composed some studies of which the best known is the following:

Steinitz, Wilhelm
Dufresne: Sammlung leichterer Schachaufgaben (2. Teil)
1882 (18)

+ 4 + 2

Show Solution

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16th

Norbert Kovács (16-05-1874 -24-05-1946) Hungarian composer

Norbert Kovács

Dr. Norbert Kovács composed about 500 problems and was specialized in fairy problems. In 1926 he wrote with Neukomm and Schor "Feladvany-Műszotar", a collection of problem chess terms.

Kovács, Norbert
Magyar Sakkvilág, 1933
3rd Prize

#3 7 + 9

Show Solution
Hard to guess which piece will give mate in this helpmate:

Kovács, Norbert
Tijdschrift vd NSB, 1927

h#4 5 + 11

Show Solution

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15th

Pierre Auguste d'Orville (15-05-1804 - 11-11-1864) German composer

Pierre Auguste (or Peter August) d'Orville was German and lived in Antwerp. He may have been the first composer in the world, with Horatio Bolton, to intentionally look for nice and light positions and to avoid the then fashionable equal forces between both sides.

D'Orville wrote in 1842 "PROBLÈMES d'ÉCHECS composés et dédiés aux amateurs de ce jeu".
"Some problems by Auguste d'Orville" is a charming booklet written by John D.Beasley, who offers the 2nd reviewed edition for download on the Internet:

(covers can be found on this page).

This looks like the typical endgame K+B+S vs K, but the black King is in the wrong corner and White has the d-pawn. Can this pawn be enough to mate in 6?

D'Orville, Pierre Auguste
Problèmes d'Échecs, 1842 (163)

#6 4 + 1

Show Solution

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14th

William Meredith (14-05-1835 - 10-08-1903) American composer

William Meredith
[source: Cleveland Public Library]

William Meredith composed 200 problems. His specialty was problems of at most 12 pieces. Hence the name of "Meredith" given to this sort of problems, after a Good Companion tourney dedicated to him in 1916. 100 of his direct mates, each with commentary by one of the "Good Companion" club, can be found in the A.C.White Christmas Series "100 Chess Problems" (1916).

Let's start with a not so easy Meredith:

Meredith, William
Dubuque Chess Journal, 1872
5th Prize

#3 5 + 1

Show Solution
This one may be easier to solve. Since Black obviously threatens direct checks by the Qg6 and discovery checks by the Bc5, some drastic measures must be taken:

Meredith, William
Chess Journal, 1871
2nd Prize

#3 8 + 7

Show Solution

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13th

Josef Plachutta (13-05-1827 - 22-07-1883) Austrian-Slovenian composer

Josef Plachutta

Josef Plachutta was a specialist of moremovers and selfmates. He participated to all the first composition tourneys of the end of the 19th century and left his name to a moremover theme (quote from Wikipedia):
A white piece sacrifices itself on a square where it could be captured by one of two similarly-moving black pieces (for example, a bishop and a queen moving along a diagonal, or two rooks) moving along a different line; whichever black piece captures, it interferes with the other.
Plachutta's first realization of the theme is quoted on Wikipedia. Let's have a look at a more complicated one:

Plachutta, Josef
Londoner Turnier, 1862
2nd Prize

#5  6 + 14

Show Solution

May 12th

Николай Павлович Будков (12-05-1928 - 1999) Russian problemist (Nikolay Pavlovich Budkov)

Nikolay Budkov composed mostly direct mates and helpmates with little material on the board.

Budkow, Nikolai & Каковин, Александр Сергеевич
Due Alfieri, 1985 (618)
2nd HM

h#2b) bKa8->d4
c) = b) + bRe6<->bSc6
d) = c) + bKd4->g8
3 + 4

Show Solution

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 11th

Emil Palkoska (11-05-1871 - 14-05-1955) Czech composer

Photograph from "Revista Romana de Sah", June 1928

Emil Palkoska was the author of more than 1200 problems in 3 or more moves in the Bohemian style and in the neo-Czech style.
He wrote with Alan C. White's Christmas Series "Schachprobleme Weiss: Dame und ein Läufer" (1911), "Idea a ekonomie v šachové úloze" in 1928 and "Idea a ekonomie v šachové úloze II" in 1947.
He was the editor of the problem column of the newspaper "Narodni Politika" during 38 years.

The two following problems have a feature in common:

Palkoska, Emil

In memoriam Dr. Jan Dobrusky

Časopis českých šachistů 1908

#6 7 + 6

Show Solution
Palkoska, Emil
Tidskrift för Schack, 1921
1st Prize

#3 5 + 7

Show Solution

May 10th

Bernhard Horwitz (10-05-1807 - 29-08-1885) German-British composer

Bernhard Horwitz

Bernhard Horwitz was a chess player, one of the Berlin Pleiades. However, his main contribution to this history of chess was his analytical achievements in problems and studies.
Josef Kling and Bernhard Horwitz's "Chess Studies" (1851) is a fundamental work on the endgame study.

A not too difficult study to start with:

Horwitz, Bernhard

+ 4 + 3

Show Solution

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9th

Jānis Bētiņš (Johann Behting) (09-05-1856 - 1946) Latvian composer

Johann Behting and his brother Carl composed studies. They were contemporaries of Troitzky and Rinck and their best studies are certainly of a similar level.
In 1930 Carl and Johann Behting published a brochure "Studien und Probleme". However, they seem not to have composed any work in collaboration.
An easy miniature to start with:

Bētiņš, Jānis
Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1889

#4  3 + 1

Show Solution
Why don't we reproduce any study by Johann Behting? Simply because of the existing brochure by John Beasley about the Behting brothers which can be read on John Beasley's site (BESN special number 52) or here. You can find there detailed analysis about some of the Behtings' best studies.