Chess for fun and entertainment

by Frederic Friedel
10/6/2023 – A few days ago, we presented you with a set of unusual and interesting positions. They are clever and somewhat difficult to solve. But all of them are fun. Today you get the solutions, presented in a way that is particularly easy to follow. You do not have to be a champion player or problem expert to follow.

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Before we start, here are the puzzle as presented a couple of days ago. If you missed them you are welcome to go there and try to solve them – on our interactive diagrams, which will defend for Black. You have to find the only path to achieving the requirement of the problems.

And now:

Here are the puzzle with their solutions

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Note that in puzzle two the author is given as on this page. We are told (e.g. by Edward Winter in Chess Notes 4339) that "Ua Tane" was a Polynesian pseudonym for James Frank Stimson  (1883-1959), a renowned American chess problem composer. He composed over 1,000 chess problems, of which about 200 were awarded prizes. He was also a prolific chess writer and editor. Reader Marjan Kovacevic tells us it took Stimson weeks and months to create.

The following video descriptions of the problems were made by Frank Scarpa and appeared on his Youtube channel Chess for Charity. Frank's declared goal is to spread the amazing game of chess while helping those in need. Half of all income earned on YouTube goes directly to charity.

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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ChessForCharity ChessForCharity 10/16/2023 11:39
Thanks so much for featuring my channel! I appreciate all of the support. :)
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 10/11/2023 04:33
I had saved the Birnov composition for leisurely study. I tried it only yesterday. My first feeling was one of annoyance. “What kind of circus is this? The Black king is made to walk and then nothing happens. If there are more checks, He coolly walks back.” Then thought, “May be, Frederic has something here.” When I saw the solution, the penny fell. In the end it’s the White king who has the last laugh even as the bishop administers mate.
Frederic Frederic 10/9/2023 05:47
Thanks, FairPlay07, for your appreciation and for the very useful link to chesscomposers.blogspot. I try as best I can, but am not the world's leading expert in problem chess sources. I just love to see the unbelievable ideas people come up with -- reminding me what a multifarious wonder our beloved game is.
FairPlay07 FairPlay07 10/8/2023 06:53
Thank you very much, Frederic, for presenting these beautiful chess compositions.

The readers interested to see how Ua Tane looked like can admire his picture in Edward Winter's Chess Notes:
A version of Walther Freiherr von Holzhausen composition can be seen on Chess Composers blog:
In the same blog you can find Zinovi Markovich Birnov's picture and other two compositions:
Turm_Eric Turm_Eric 10/8/2023 05:22
The first example is not 'a puzzle' without a defined author; but rather a Composition with an author: Walther Freiherr von Holzhausen, and published in 'Akademisches Monatsheft für Schach' 1901. Someone pointed out this in the comments to the video on screen, but only very attentive readers will realize this, as neither in the description nor in the text itself of the video this valuable information was included (which would be fair to the Composer's memory...)
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 10/7/2023 09:51
I saw almost instantly that the black king had no previous legal move, so I figured his last move must have been illegal. So he has to take it back, play a legal move after white has mate in one. The 'only' possible position is with the black king on b6 and a white bishop or queen (that's not nice) on b8. Black has to play Ka6 after which both Qb5 and Rc6 are mate in one (which is even worse).
Not as pretty as the main solution, but that is normal with second solutions. The problem with lateral thinking is that you can do it in more than one way...
[I must have accidentally hit the 'black cross' deleting this comment, which I posted earlier.]
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 10/6/2023 04:42
LOL! The solution to the first problem is both beautiful and comic.