Saturday, June 30, 2012

July 1st

James Pierce (01-07-1833 - 27-04-1892) British composer

Tim Harding wrote a long article in about James Pierce and his chess activities. He quoted the following obituary, published in "English Mechanic and World of Science" of 13 May 1892, on page 275 :
At an early age, whilst at school, he commenced composing Chess problems, and contributed to several of the leading papers. He was educated at King’s College, London, and gained the first mathematical prize; also the Plumptre prize for English verse in 1852. In 1856 he graduated as sixteenth Wrangler at Cambridge. In 1866 he accepted the mathematical mastership of Bedford Grammar School, and filled that post for fifteen years, and during the whole of this period his problems were constantly appearing in several Chess columns. In 1873 he and his brother published a collection of 30 of their problems, which was very favourably received. Their next joint work was “English Chess Problems”, a collection of 608 problems by English composers, principally their own selection. Their last joint production was “Pierce-Gambit, Papers and Problems”, published in 1888. Mr. Pierce has also conducted this Chess column for about 20 years. He also co-operated as one of the editors of the British Chess Magazine, which periodical contains a great many of his Chess essays and poems. Mr. Pierce has published two volumes of his poems in recent years – one entitled “Stanzas and Sonnets”, and the other “In Clouds and Sunshine”. They are chiefly notable for their deep, contemplative spirit, and evince a highly appreciative sense of the beauty of Nature. They also were very well reviewed.

Indeed James Pierce was the author, together with his brother W. Timbrell Pierce, of "English Chess Problems" (1876) which contains, as the title indicates, problems by English composers. It can be read online and downloaded here or here. Their intention was clearly stated in the introduction (image from here):

This threemover is not easy to solve, because one variation is an actual twomover with many variations:

Pierce, James
The British Chess Magazine 2nd Tourney, 1884
1st Prize

#3 9 + 2

Show Solution

Friday, June 29, 2012

June 30th

Emilio Battaglia (30-06-1917 - 04-09-2011) Italian composer

Emilio Battaglia was a twomover specialist, as can be seen in the first example below. He composed at least one selfmate in two (second diagram). He seems to have had two composing periods: in the 1930s and in the 1980-1990s.
He was a professor of botany at the University of Pisa (source here ) thanks to Alain Pallier).

Battaglia, Emilio
Tijdschrift vd KNSB, 1939
3rd Prize

#2  9 + 8

Show Solution
Battaglia, Emilio
Skakbladet, 1939

s#2  10 + 3

Show Solution

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 29th

Ilmari Mäkihovi (29-06-1927) Finnish composer

Ilmari Mäkihovi, Hangon 1965
Ilmari Mäkihovi was a twomover composer. The Ellerman-Mäkihovi theme is shown by this twomover and consists in the following 3-phase play:
1...a 2.A,B#
1.X? a 2.A#
1.Y! a 2.B#
Here is a twomover with a different theme:

Mäkihovi, Ilmari
Tidskrift för Schack, 1946
1st Prize

#2 10 + 13

Show Solution

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 28th

Jānis Zēvers / Johann Sehwers (28-06-1868 - 07-11-1940) Latvian composer

Lubomir Kavalek wrote shortly about Johann Sehwers in the "Washington Post", August 24, 2009: he "was a prominent linguist and literary historian. "Endspielstudien," a collection of his 64 endgame studies, was published in Germany in 1922.".

More information about Sehwers and other Latvian composers from Riga around 1900 can be found in Alain Pallier's article "Herman Mattison (Hermanis Matisons, 28xii 1894-16xi 1932)" in EG 185, July 2011, pp 215-219. Johann Sehwers was a renowned philologist. His field of research was the influence of German language in Latvian.

Some of his studies can be found, with enjoyable comments by John Beasley and further biographical details, in BESN Special number 49.

This is a good stalemate study, while the following endgame study deals with a different theme:

Sehwers, Johann
Шахматное обозрение 1902 (114)

+ 6 + 4

Show Solution

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 27th

Paavo Visa Kivi (27-06-1905 - 28-10-1995) Finnish composer and FIDE Master

Paavo Kivi

Visa Kivi was a chess player, an International Judge and Finland's most distinguished endgame composer - at least until Pauli Perkonoja.
You may see one didactic endgame of his here.

Kivi, Paavo Visa
Kivi JT, 1981
6th Prize

+ 4 + 4

Show Solution

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 26th

Hans Michael Erdenbrecher (26-06-1909 - 03-08-1990) German composer

Hans Michael Erdenbrecher
[Die Schwalbe Fragebogen 1960 page 27]

Hans Michael Erdenbrecher composed mainly three- and moremovers. In 2005 (2007 2nd edition) was published "Hans Michael Erdenbrecher: Ein Nicht Vergessener Problemkomponist Aus Mittlefranken : Eine Kleine Auswahl Seiner Probleme und Schachaufgaben," a 24-page compilation by Rudolf Glenk.

Erdenbrecher, Hans Michael
Die Schwalbe, Feb 1972
1st Prize

#3 4 + 6

Show Solution

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 25th

Izidor Gross (25-06-1866 - 1942) Croatian-Hungarian composer

Isidor Gross
Source: Hans Schaffer,
"Internationale Galerie moderner Problem-Komponisten", Wien, 1930

Izidor Gross was a chessplayer and writer. He was one of the founders of the Karlovac chess club and the organizer of the 1912 Karlovac chess tournament. He was the prolific author of books about chess and chess problems, among which "Karlovčkog međunarodnog šahovskog turnira god. 1912" (1913). In 1909 he wrote the first Croatian book on chess with the title "Šahovska abeceda" (Chess Alphabet). He composed direct mates, with some incursions in helpmates.

Gross, Izidor
Népszava, 1929
1st Prize

#2*  10 + 11

Show Solution

June 24th

Arthur Robert Baker Charlick (24-06-1875 - 06-06-1910) Australian composer

Arthur Charlick composed direct mates and selfmates. He was a prominent Australian composer of the beginning of the 20th century.

Charlick, Arthur Robert Baker
Western Daily Mercury, 1909
1st Prize

#2  10 + 11

Show Solution
Charlick, Arthur Robert Baker
Melbourne Leader, 1905

s#2  10 + 13

Show Solution

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23rd

Héctor Guillermo Zucal (23-06-1920 - 04-2004) Argentinian composer

Héctor Zucal was chess player and a helpmate and fairy composer. He was renowned for his serial helpstalemates.

Zucal, Héctor Guillermo
Mirador, Jun 2004 (i018)

Ser-h=17 12 + 12

Show Solution
Zucal, Héctor Guillermo
Ajedrez Mágico, Apr 1970 (15/570)

ser-h=21 10 + 6

Show Solution

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22nd

Paul Charles Morphy (22-06-1837 - 10-07-1884) American chess champion and composer

Paul Morphy

Paul Morphy is the unique champion who beat almost all European chess masters, returned to the United States and retired from chess. But he is also the composer of this trifle:

Morphy, Paul Charles
New York Clipper, 1856

#2 3 + 4

Show Solution

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 21st

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (21-06-1839 - 29-09-1908) Brasilian writer and composer

Machado de Assis around age 56, c.1896

Machado's presence here may surprise many, but Vladimir Nabokov is not the only famous writer who composed problems. Machado de Assis composed at least one problem, a simple twomover:

De Assis, Joaquim Maria Machado
Ilustração Brasileira, 1876

8 + 6

Show Solution
Roberto Stelling adds about Machado de Assis:
"He was a good friend of Arthur Napoleão and often played chess with him. His composition was published on page 11 of "Caissana Brasileira", 1898, but was probably composed many years before that."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20th

Horacio L. Musante (20-06-1917) Argentinian composer

Horacio Musante
Problem, November 1957
[Thanks to Александр Никитин]

Problems by Horacio Musante can be seen on the website of Argentinian composers
He composed about 250 problems, of which 15 entered the FIDE Album. He was also an International Judge and collaborated with A. Ellerman at the magazine "Caissa".

Musante, Horacio L.
Bulletin Ouvrier des Echecs, 1950

#2 v 7 + 5

Show Solution
You may see here one of Musante's Zagoruikos, but this one is interesting and very clear:

Musante, Horacio L.
Probleemblad, 1956
1st Prize

#2* v 9 + 12

Show Solution

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 19th

Jacques Savournin (19-06-1930) French composer and FIDE Master

Jacques Savournin is a twomover composer who sometimes composes longer problems. He has been an International Judge since 1965.
Jacques Savournin also wrote the book "Lignes et figures: 250 problèmes d'échecs choisis et commentés" (Lines and Pieces: 250 selected chess problems with commentary, 1992) which is a recommended work for the lovers of direct mate problems.

Savournin, Jacques
Probleemblad, 2001 (11407)
1st Prize

#2* vv 9 + 7

Show Solution
A tough nut to crack:

Savournin, Jacques
Europe Échecs, 1965
1st Prize

#3 9 + 7

Show Solution

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18th

Edgar Bettmann (18-06-1866 - 13-02-1945) American composer


Edgar Bettmann was Henry Wald Bettmann's brother and he composed almost always in collaboration with Henry.

Bettmann, Edgar & Bettmann, Henry Wald
St. John Globe, 1884
1st Prize

#3 7 + 5

Show Solution

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 17th

Radu Drăgoescu (17-06-1914 - 07-12-1999) Romanian composer

Radu Drăgoescu
[ [broken link]]
Radu Drăgoescu selfportrait
[ [broken link] ]

Radu Drăgoescu was a painter and composed chess problems in all genres, with a predilection for selfmates and helpmates. He wrote many articles for "Buletin Problemistic" and for "Planeta Sah".
Valeriu Petrovici and Marian Stere published a book about Radu Drăgoescu's works ("Radu Drăgoescu", 2004) and his family had created a website in his memory [ - broken link].

Drăgoescu, Radu
The British Chess Magazine, 1991
1st Prize

#3 10 + 13

Show Solution
Drăgoescu, Radu
Revista Română de Şah, Jan 1987

h#22 solutions 8 + 8

Show Solution

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 16th

Илья Степанович Шумов (16-06-1819 - 07-1881) Russian composer (Ilya Stepanovich Shumov)

Ilya Shumov

Ilya Shumov was one of the best Russian chess players of the time and the author of the first Russian book about chess composition. His is also the author of many figurative problems, such as the 5-mover "T":

Шумов, Илья Степанович
Schachzeitung, 1856

#5 5 + 10

Show Solution

June 15th

Jindřich Fritz (15-06-1912 - 09-11-1984) Czech composer and Grandmaster

Jindřich Fritz

Jindřich Fritz was an endgame study and problem composer. In 1951 he became the editor of the studies
column of Ceskoslovensky Sach. He wrote several books, such as "Moderní šachová studie : Úvod do theorie a skladby" (1951), "Šachová studie" (1954) and "Vybrané šachové problémy" (1959) which contains 252 of his endgames and 50 of his problems.

As Jaroslav Pospisil wrote in EG 80 (1984, pp 437-438):
"... his inspiration came from a new method of composing based on retrograde analysis, and he condemned the classic style of Rinck and Prokes, considering it exhausted and with no future. The characteristics of Fritz' creative work were laid down before the outbreak of World War II, but his greatest successes came in the 1950's and 1960's."
For his centenary, an endgame study anonymous Memorial Tourney "Jindřich Fritz - 100" has been organized by Emil Vlasak and will be judged by IM Jaroslav Polášek.
You may find on 40 studies by J.Fritz.

A classical Bohemian threemover:

Fritz, Jindřich
Český deník, 1940
1st Prize

#3 5 + 10

Show Solution
A typical Fritz endgame study:

Fritz, Jindřich
Šachové umění 1981 (5966)
1st Prize

= 4 + 5

Show Solution

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 14th

Alberto Mari (14-06-1892 - 26-08-1953) Italian composer

Alberto Mari
Умнов Е.И., Шахматная задача ХХ века: 1901-1944 г
[Thanks to Александр Никитин]

Alberto Mari was one of the great European problemists member of the Good Companions. He was the editor of "L'Alfiere di Re" and of "L'Italia Scacchistica".

Mari, Alberto
Tijdschrift vd NSB, 1929
1st Prize

#2 11 + 11

Show Solution

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 13th

Hugo Knuppert (13-06-1920 - 28-04-2007) Danish composer and FIDE Master

Hugo Knuppert

Hugo Knuppert was a direct mate composer. A compilation of his best problems, "Hugo Knupperts bedste skakopgaver" was published in 1996 (authors: Kaare Vissing Andersen & Hugo Knuppert).

Knuppert, Hugo
Die Schwalbe, 1962
1st Prize

#2 v 10 + 9

Show Solution

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 12th

Amar Nath. Bhattacharji (12-06-1885 - ?) Indian composer

A.N.Bhattacharji composed the following block threemover:

Bhattacharji, Amar Nath.
The Chess Amateur, 1923

#3  5 + 2

Show Solution

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 11th

Alois Wotawa (11-06-1896 - 12-04-1970) Austrian composer and International Master

Alois Wotawa

Alois Wotawa was a Viennese publich prosecutor (Staatsanwalt) and composed direct mate problems and endgame studies with brilliant, paradoxical and very hidden solutions.
Friedrich Chlubna's obituary of Alois Wotawa "An artist has left us" was published in EG 20 (August 1970) and can be read here.

Alois Wotawa's "Auf Spurensuche mit Schachfiguren - 150 Endspielstudien" is a compilation of endgame studies (1965).
The following quote by A.Wotawa, extracted from this book, was quoted by A.J.Roycroft in EG 100 :
"Wir zählen die Schachstudie... jenem Teilgebiete der Kunst zu, das die rein rationalen Schöpfungen erfasst, sofern diese hinreichend Gefühle ästhetischer Befriedigung vermitteln"
"We place the chess study in that domain of art that encompasses purely rational creations insofar as these adequately transmit feelings of aesthetic satisfaction" (translation by A.J.Roycroft)

Here are two studies that may convey this feeling:

Wotawa, Alois
Schach-Echo, 1962

+  8 + 5

Show Solution

June 10th

Efrén Petite (10-06-1926 - 13-03-2014) Spanish composer

Efrén Petite

Efrén Petite has been International Judge in two- and threemovers since 1966. He composed direct mates, selfmates and helpmates.

Petite, Efrén
Europe Échecs, 1978
2nd Prize

#2 10 + 10

Show Solution

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 9th

Mircea Mihai Manolescu (09-06-1938 - 13-03-2003) Romanian composer and FIDE Master

Vlaicu Crisan, Eric Huber and Mircea Manolescu, Wageningen 2001

Mircea Mihai Manolescu became International Judge in 1982, FIDE Master in composition in 1992, was the Romanian delegate at the PCCC, Romanian team captain at WCCT, co-editor and workforce at Buletin Problemistic, organizer of tourneys, etc.
In the course of almost 50 years he composed and published more than 300 problems of high quality, especially #2 and #3, but also #n, H#, S# and fairy problems.
His twomover awarded 1st Prize in Revista de Sah 1956 is a perfect Meredith example of changed play after black Grimshaw in three phases (Zagoruiko) 
You can also check this threemover or this one or this one.

The Manolescu theme was named after the following problem:
In at least two variations with the same threat the same black defence moves result in different mates.

Manolescu, Mircea Mihai
Romanian Championship, 1962
2nd-3rd Place

#3 13 + 12

Show Solution

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 8th

Ladislav Prokeš (08-06-1884 - 09-01-1966) Czech composer and International Master

Ladislav Prokeš
[Wikimedia Commons]

Ladislav Prokeš composed more than 1100 endgame studies and was an excellent player and an International Judge. In 1951 he published a collection of studies "Kniha šachových studií" (read and download it here). The Wikipedia page dedicated to Prokeš also shows the Prokeš maneuver, a drawing tactic in R vs PP endgame.
He was called "the player's composer", since his endgame studies resembled positions from practical play.
In his obituary in EG (no.5, 1966, pp.13-14), A.J.Roycroft placed Prokeš among the immortals.
He also composed direct mate problems.

Prokeš, Ladislav
Československý šach, 1955

+ 4 + 5

Show Solution