British Chess Solving Championship 1998-99
There was a handsome new trophy for the winner of the 1998-9 Solving
Championship Final, held at Oakham School on 20th February 1999. The
favourites for the title were past winners Jonathan Mestel and
Michael McDowell, but there were other good solvers present, and
surprising things can happen when solvers are under pressure. In
the event, Jonathan won by a single point ahead of Michael, with
Roddy McKay, Paul Cumbers, Ian Watson and John Taylor all 7 points
behind and separated only by the time that each of them took to
solve the 12 problems set by the Controller, Brian Stephenson. The
diagram shows a two-mover by one of the country's leading composers,
one of 3 two-movers that the solvers had to tackle in a mere 20
Barry P. Barnes
American Chess Bulletin 1960
White mates in 2
White seems to have a choice of key (his first move):
is it 1.Rdd3 or 1.Rfd3? Both moves wait for Black to commit
himself. After 1.Rdd3? Black's moves 1...N any, 1...Rg8+ and
1...R else are met by 2.Rf4, 2.Bxg8 and 2.Rd4 respectively,
but there is no reply to 1...Rd7! So only 1.Rfd3! will work,
with 2.Rc1, 2.Bxg8 and 2.Rc3 to follow the three black moves
British Chess Problem Society Annual Meeting
The Society once again held its annual Weekend Gathering at the
Hotel Antoinette in Kingston upon Thames, from 9th to 12th April
1999. As usual there were several visitors from abroad among the 40
or so problemists present, and, again as usual, they won most of the
prizes for composing and solving. There was a novel competition
involving detection. The Society's bookseller, Peter Fayers, had
produced a booklet containing original problems by composers at the
event, but given without the composers' names. In addition to
solving and evaluating the problems, the object was to guess the
composer of each one. The problem below was considered to be "the
most entertaining". It is a helpstalemate in 4: Black plays
first and helps White to inflict stalemate on White's 4th move.
BCPS Meeting, Kingston 1999
Helpstalemate in 4
This is similar to the "losing game": Black must sacrifice
those of his pieces that cannot be otherwise prevented from
moving: (Black moves first) 1.Re4 Nxe4 2.Bd6 Nxd6 3.Re1+
Kxe1 4.Kd4 Kd2=.
BCPS President Michael Lipton
At its AGM held during the Kingston weekend, the British Chess
Problem Society elected as its President the distinguished composer
Michael Lipton. Professor Lipton is well known for his pioneering
work in the two-mover in the 1950s and 1960s, and more recently for
his investigations into what can be achieved in miniature form, i.e.
with 7 units or fewer on the board. The diagram shows a good example
of his work, a mate in 3 moves.
2nd HM., Israel Problemists' Association, 1955
White mates in 3
There is set play (what White could play if it were Black
to move in the diagram): 1...Qe6+ 2.Bxe6 b6 3.Bd5; 1...Qc4+
2.Bxc4 etc.; 1...Qc6+ 2.Bxc6 bxc6 3.Ra7. There is also a
white try which nearly solves: 1.Re8? If now 1...Qe6+,
White can play 2.Kc7+. If 1...Qc4+, 2.Kd7+. 2.Bxc6 still
works after 1...Qc6+, but Black has 1...Qb6!, which thwarts
White's plans. So only 1.Rxb7! will work, deliberately
pinning the WR but setting up a battery (B+R) which
can open when the BQ moves: 1...Qe6+ 2.Rd7+ Qxd5/Qc6+
3.Ra7/Bxc6; 1...Qc4+ 2.Rc7+ etc.; and 1...Qc6+ 2.Rc7.
Spread over the problem's three phases (set play,
try-play and play following the key) there are three pairs
of replies to Black's checks on e6 and c4.
The Brian Harley Award
This award, made in memory of one of Britain's most celebrated
problemists, is given to the best problem by a British or
Commonwealth composer published in Britain during a 2-year period,
alternating between two-movers and three-movers. The following
three-mover has recently won the award.
2nd Prize, The Problemist, 1996
(Brian Harley Award)
White mates in 3
The point of the problem lies in the third-pin of
Black's three pieces on e5, f5 and g5. White successively
induces two of them to move away, thus leaving the third
piece completely pinned and so allowing a pin-mate.
But White must take care in selecting his continuation:
playing the wrong one will not help his cause. The key
1.Bg1 threatens 2.Rc5+ dxc5 3.Qxe5. If Black plays 1...Bf6,
the correct continuation for White is 2.Qd4+, and after
2...Nxd4 the Ne5 is pinned and 3.Bc4 is mate. If 1...Ne3,
White plays 2.Bc4+, and now 2...N5xc4 leaves the Bg5
pinned, so that mate can be given by 3.Nxf4. (If 2...N3xc4,
3.Qd4.) The third thematic line of play runs 1...Nd3
2.Nxf4+ Bxf4 3.Qd4, the Nf5 being the pinned piece. (If
2...Nxf4 3.Bc4.) A study of this solution shows that
White's second and third moves recur in cyclic fashion.
There is also some by-play (play which is not part
of the main theme but which arises naturally from the
position): 1...Nxf3 2.Bc4+ Ke4 3.Nhf2; 1...Nc6 2.Rxc6 (thr.
3.Bc4) Bxf3 3.Bxf3; 1...b2 2.Qxa2+ Nc4 3.Q/Bxc4.