Chess Composers E. E. Westbury Problems
 

 

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Problems
Written by Michael McDowell   
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(This material was first published in The Problemist, January 2006)

(1)

1st HM.=, Strategie Ty., 1900-1902

R1b1S3/bp1k1P2/1p3BPp/5K1P/1S2B1Q1/8/8/8

Selfmate in 4

An early success. The rook does fine work, pinning on two ranks. There is a reciprocal change of functions between the black bishops, while each white bishop is sacrificed in turn.

(2)

Reading Observer Ty., 1907

8/5B2/P3S3/8/2Spk2P/Q1p5/s1p4K/2s5

Mate in 3

While he won a number of awards for his three-movers, Westbury was primarily a two-move composer. One example of the former will suffice. The Bohemian 2 was disqualified from its tourney because some of the content was anticipated by a problem by Pospisil; however Westbury’s version was viewed as a great advance on the earlier problem and entitled to a separate existence. There are two threats, but the only dual occurs after 1...d3.

(3)

1st Prize, Pittsburgh Gazette-Times Ty., 1911-1912

B3b1K1/2p2Rpp/1qp1k2b/1R3S1Q/1S1p4/1S5s/4r1rB/8

Mate in 2

Widely considered to be Westbury’s best problem. At the time of first publication Heathcote described it as “the finest two-mover of recent years”. Each of the five interferences also unguards the mating square. The underused a8 bishop is a slight pity, but unity is a strong feature.

(4)

v. 7th HM., Hampshire Telegraph and Post, 1915

1BB3b1/4p1bq/K1S4R/1Ppkrr1R/1P1S1p2/4p3/2Q5/8

Mate in 2

Half-pin, with each rook showing correction play (the f-rook playing on the file), as 1...Re6 and 1...Rf8 can be regarded as random moves.

(5)

1st Prize, Brisbane Courier 1st Half-Yearly Ty., 1916

7b/B1p4r/K1P5/s1R2PQ1/ppBkS1Rp/q4p2/3pp1P1/1s2r3

Mate in 2

A nice blend of strategies follows a key which gives a flight and permits a check. I find it difficult to figure out the starting point for the composition of this problem.

(6) with G. Guidelli

1st Prize, Our Folder, May 1916

7B/b2RK1sq/2pS2p1/Q1P1sp1p/2Bk1Pr1/3p1P2/2b1rP2/8

Mate in 2

An example of cross-checks from two directions, unusual in that both checking lines are lateral.

(7)

3rd Prize, L'Eco degli Scacchi 3rd Ty., 1917

8/6p1/2p5/2P1s1Bs/K2p1qP1/3B4/SppkP2R/1bR3Q1

Mate in 2

An unusual Albino. The star variation 1...d3+ 2.e4 features a selfblock allowing a cross-check mate with self-interference. 1...Qxg5 puts the queen out of range, allowing an interference, while the captures on d3 and f3 meet correction moves by the e5 knight. It was perhaps fortunate to win a prize, as the judges (V. de Barbieri and P. H. Williams) were aware of the following problem by Rudolf L’Hermet.

(7b) Rudolf L'Hermet

1st Prize, New York Staats-Zeitung, 1894

2K5/8/2R1P3/6Bs/4bq2/8/SS1kPQ2/8

Mate in 2

(8)

1st Prize, Boston Transcript, 1917

6b1/p1B2pb1/2SR3p/q1pp1p1p/R1s1sk2/3P1S1P/4P2K/6Q1

Mate in 2

One of Westbury’s most artistic half-pins. The pair of reciprocal interferences plus shut-offs are particularly fine. The modern composer would probably move the Bg8 to h7 and remove f7, ignoring the dual after 1...Bg6.

(9)

Chess Amateur, November 1917

2rS4/3BR1p1/2p5/Rsrk4/1Q2S3/1s5K/2P2b2/8

Mate in 2

5 half-pin variations from a light setting. All of the play is set, the key simply providing a threat. Good quality for an “ordinary“ contribution. The following month Ellerman won a prize with a version of the same matrix. Westbury’s setting is dual-free, while some moves in Ellerman’s allow the major dual 2.Bf4.

(9b) A. Ellerman

3rd Prize, Our Folder, December 1917

5RK1/8/3p4/R1srkPB1/qpQ4p/2s2b1r/2SP3b/8

Mate in 2

(10)

4th HM., Our Folder, May 1918

2bb1r2/2RppkSP/2R2SpK/2B3P1/2s3p1/1Bp5/qPP1Qp2/8

Mate in 2

An original half-pin, with four variations from two pawns. Each pawn by departing its square allows two mates, which are separated by arrival effects. The white economy could be improved by moving f2 to h3, and replacing the pawns at b2 and c2 with a BPc2 and BRc1. The play is then completely accurate.



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