Compose your own puzzle, mate!

by Frederic Friedel
1/10/2024 – The ChessBase Christmas Puzzle week has concluded, but one final competition remains! To all amateurs and aspiring composers, now is your chance to gain fame by submitting a composition with chance for prizes too – with ChessBase publications in the brand-new eBook format up for grabs! The deadline for submission is January 21st – this article provides all other details! So good luck and happy composing to all!

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The ChessBase Puzzle competition

In the December 27th instalment of our Christmas Puzzle week I showed you how a problem amateur (yours truly) could set out composing a fully legitimate chess problem. It started with thinking of an interesting mating configuration, looking for a position that could lead to it, and then modifying it to eliminate alternate solutions. We asked you to try it yourself.

Perhaps our Christmas Puzzles will encourage you to venture into the fascinating world of chess composition. It's basically a competition for amateurs, and will be administered and adjudicated by Anirudh Daga, who despite his youth is a consummate problem expert.

Please submit your compositions here

We have already received a couple of dozen entries by readers over Christmas, and Anirudh is in touch with some of the submitters. The competition will close on January 21, so you still have some time to construct your chess puzzles – mates, helpmates or anything else.

There will be four prizes: three copies of the latest ChessBase Magazine – in the completely new design and interactive format. And a copy of my ChessBase eBook "Frederic's Chess Tales". I may add a chapter on our competition and the winning submissions. Here are descriptions of the prizes:

The evolution of ChessBase Magazine

In 1988 we launched the first edition of ChessBase Magazine. This is what the very first edition looked like:

ChessBase Magazine 1/1988 (click to enlarge)

Of course, it was all on paper, but over the years we included the games on disk, and then on DVDs, with full video reports. In the past years subscribers could also download each edition.

But for thirty years, ChessBase Magazine ran on the Windows operating system: you needed the ChessBase program to read the digital version, replay the games and analyses. In the meantime we have developed a ChessBase eBooks, and the latest ChessBase Magazine issue, #217 (January 2024), is the first one to appear in the new format, so subscribers have full mobile access. You can read it in a web browser, your notebook, Mac, your iPad, Android tablet, even on your mobile phone. Thanks to the new ChessBase eBook system, all content is available: analyses, videos, repertoire articles, training exercises and the interactive training videos from the tactics, strategy and endgame columns!

This is what the magazine now looks like (click to enlarge) – everything is interactive!

Like to try how the new format works? Here's a one small section from the brand new CBM 217, Oliver Reeh's article "Invasion on the back rank", which has lots of tactical exercises and four interactive training videos! Try it out on you notebook, tablet or mobile phone! Quite a new experience, you must admit.

Three winners of our puzzle competition get free copies of the brand-new ChessBase Magazine 217, in the new ChessBase eBook format. Two prizes are reserved for amateurs.

If you don't win, you can buy or subscribe to ChessBase Magazine here.

Frederic's chess tales

This is a book that has been available since last autumn. Since 1997 Frederic Friedel ran the ChessBase news page, and experienced chess history first-hand. He met countless personalities in the chess world, and describes them masterfully in "Frederic's Chess Tales". Older readers may recognize where some of the stories originated, which articles inspired them. In most cases, the predecessor stories were published before many of our readers were even born. 

On the right you see the contents of the book – twenty chapters you can interactively read on your notebook, your tablet or anything that runs a standard browser.

To test it out, here is the Introduction, which we have opened for anyone to read. It describes the intention and the functions of the new ChessBase eBook format. If you want to read the nineteen following chapters you will have to purchase the book, for €9.90.

One of the winners of our puzzle competition gets a copy of the book as a prize.


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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