Chess Problem Solving

There is a good deal of specialized jargon used in connection with chess problems; see glossary of chess problems for a list.

The term "chess problem" is not sharply defined: there is no clear demarcation between chess compositions on the one hand and puzzles or tactical exercises on the other.

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The role of aesthetic evaluation in the appreciation of chess problems is very significant, and indeed most composers and solvers consider such compositions to be an art form. Yet if Black could only pass (i.e., make no move at all), White would have no way to mate on his second move. The arrangement of the black rooks and bishops, with a pair of adjacent rooks flanked by a pair of bishops, is known to problemists as Organ Pipes. Qf5#, a move which is only possible because the bishop Black moved has got in the way of the rook's guard of f5 – this is known as a self-interference. Rf7, this interferes with the bishop's guard of d5, allowing White to mate with Nd5#.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote about the "originality, invention, conciseness, harmony, complexity, and splendid insincerity" of creating chess problems and spent considerable time doing so. The thematic approach to solving is to notice then that in the original position, Black is already almost in zugzwang. This arrangement is designed to illustrate the effect of mutual Black interferences: for example, consider what happens after the key if Black plays 1... Mutual interferences like this, between two pieces on one square, are known as Grimshaw interferences.At the end of this period, the award becomes final.It is normal to indicate any honour a problem has received when it is republished. In tourneys conducted by correspondence, the participants send their entries by post or e-mail.A chess problem fundamentally differs from over-the-board play in that the latter involves a struggle between black and white, whereas the former involves a competition between the composer and the solver.Most positions which occur in a chess problem are 'unrealistic' in the sense that they are very unlikely to occur in over-the-board play.In practice, however, the distinction is very clear.There are common characteristics shared by compositions in the problem section of chess magazines, in specialist chess problem magazines, and in collections of chess problems in book form.The World Chess Composing Tournament (WCCT) is a formal tourney for national teams organised by the Permanent Commission of the FIDE for Chess Compositions (PCCC).In both formal and informal tourneys, entries will normally be limited to a particular genre of problem (for example, mate in twos, moremovers, helpmates) and may or may not have additional restrictions (for example, problems in patrol chess, problems showing the Lacny theme, problems using fewer than nine units).Nevertheless, modern taste generally recognises the following elements to be important in the aesthetic evaluation of a problem: To the right is a directmate problem composed by Thomas Taverner in 1881. Each of Black's nineteen legal replies allows an immediate mate. Bxh7, the d5 square is no longer guarded, and White mates with 2. The most common are: These are combined with a number to indicate how many moves the goal must be achieved in."#3", therefore, indicates a mate in three, while "ser-h=14" indicates a series help stalemate in 14 (i.e., Black makes 14 moves in a row such that White can subsequently make one move to deliver stalemate).


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