Watch them solving (2)

by Anirudh Daga
1/22/2024 – In the second segment of our problem-solving experiment, we invited a former world champion of chess solving (!) to answer the unorthodox chess puzzles, featured in our Dec. 31st article. This strong grandmaster breezed past the first two problems, and so we gave a final composition which proved to be slightly more challenging for the mathematician!

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Who is John Nunn?

Dr. John Nunn went to Oxford University at the tender age of 15 years old, and holds a doctorate degree (thesis in algebraic topology). He was among the world’s leading chess grandmasters for almost twenty years, winning four gold medals in chess Olympiads and countless other tournaments. He is also a much-acclaimed writer, whose works have won ‘Book of the Year’ awards. In several countries! In 2004, he was crowned the world champion for chess solving, a title he received two more times. Oh yes, and he is a very strong grandmaster, one of the world's best at the height of his career!

John Nunn composing a chess problem, in the mid 1980s with an Apple ][

Watch the logical process of how he solves the puzzles and compare them!

Puzzle composition competition

Perhaps our Christmas Puzzles (or John’s logical yet fascinating solving) will encourage you to venture into the fascinating world of chess composition. We have already received a couple of dozen entries by readers over Christmas, and I am 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 the first ChessBase eBook "Frederic's Chess Tales". Here are descriptions of the prizes.

After solving all these puzzles, are you also interested in trying to compose some yourself? If so, send us your progress and process to us and get a chance to win prizes!

Please submit your compositions here

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Anirudh was born in Delhi, India, and now lives in Singapore. He is one of the world's most promising young problem composers, specializing in positions that are fascinating and unconventional. He became interested in chess composition after winning the Christmastide Solving Contest, at the age of twelve. Anirudh grew from strength to strength, competed at the World Chess Solving Championships, and composed numerous problems that have all found their due place in reputable problem magazines. It is his goal to spread the joy of chess composition and solving!
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Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 1/22/2024 05:29
As I expected from a GM in problem solving, John Nunn did the first problem within a minute (including some courtesy time...?) It's not about how good you are at chess or how intelligent you are, it's about how much experience you have with composed chess problems. They are made to baffle you, so you should ask yourself: how did the composer plan to do this? By the way, Nunn beat me with four minutes; however that reconstruction task took me several hours: difficult to imagine someone could do this by just looking at the position.
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