training young players to become problem composers

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  • training young players to become problem composers

    https://en.chessbase.com/post/emil-and-the-detectives-2 Wonderful article about young problem composers and encouraging them. I believe its wonderful training for tournament play and Im envious. I never had that exposure when I was growing in chess.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Hans Jung View Post
    https://en.chessbase.com/post/emil-and-the-detectives-2 Wonderful article about young problem composers and encouraging them. I believe its wonderful training for tournament play and Im envious. I never had that exposure when I was growing in chess.

    Hans, in the realm of chess problem composing, is there a category of composing problems in which no matter which side to move, it is mate? For example, it could be White to move and mate in 4 OR Black to move and mate in 5.

    Another question, is it wrong for a problem to start with a checking or capturing move? Is the goal to start the mating path with an "innocuous" move? Thanks!

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    • #3
      As far as I know anything is permissible as long as its a legal move. There are names for each type of the problems you suggested but I cant remember what they are. Does anybody else know?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Hans Jung View Post
        As far as I know anything is permissible as long as its a legal move. There are names for each type of the problems you suggested but I cant remember what they are. Does anybody else know?
        duplex
        A type of problem in which there are two solutions, the second one reversing the roles of the colours in the first. The most common type is the duplex helpmate, in which the two solutions are: Black moves first and cooperates with White to be mated; and White moves first and cooperates with Black to be mated.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossa...chess_problems

        Back in the 1800s chess compositions were about creating something beautiful. I think back then starting with a check was considered vulgar. Another issue was economy, every piece on the board has a purpose; The fewer the pieces, the better.

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        • #5
          Thanks Erik

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Erik Malmsten View Post

            duplex
            A type of problem in which there are two solutions, the second one reversing the roles of the colours in the first. The most common type is the duplex helpmate, in which the two solutions are: Black moves first and cooperates with White to be mated; and White moves first and cooperates with Black to be mated.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossa...chess_problems

            Back in the 1800s chess compositions were about creating something beautiful. I think back then starting with a check was considered vulgar. Another issue was economy, every piece on the board has a purpose; The fewer the pieces, the better.
            Thanks Erik. I did check the Wikipedia entry before asking Hans my questions, but I missed the Glossary section. So it's called Duplex when either side can win by forced mate if it is their move, interesting.

            I had a reason for asking, which is that I came across (in my hobby as a chess variant inventor) a fascinating position which I decided to investigate using Stockfish 10 to see what would happen if it were standard chess (the variant doesn't have any new pieces or new moves for the pieces). I was surprised to find that both sides could get forced mate if that side were first to move. In one case, it was mate in 12, and the other case was mate in 16.

            I think duplexes are a fascinating kind of problem. In my case, the position wouldn't qualify as legit because one mating sequence does start with check (the other starts with a capture which doesn't give check). I'm going to try and tweak it to see if I can find a sequence for each side that doesn't start with check. But even so, it wouldn't be legit because there are extra Queens on the board, meaning some Pawns have promoted, and legitimate problems are not supposed to have pieces which can only be there from Pawn promotion (according to the Wiki article).

            Oh well, maybe I'll start a new category of problems, that encourage promoted Pawns!

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            • #7
              I am offering a problem which I composed as a 13-year-old, for readers' enjoyment.
              This came out of a nasty case of chicken pox and a 2-week quarantine at summer camp, with not a lot for me to do. One of the camp instructors was a recreational problem composer, and I had my chess set with me, so he encouraged me to try it, giving me some tips! That was kind of him!
              Frank Eldon Dixon, 1971.
              White mates in two moves. Dual solutions. Hint: One solution involves a promotion, the other starts with a check. I think it is quite easy, but still pleasing! Note that all files and ranks are occupied! I realize now that it is not strictly pure in certain ways; I didn't care! I will provide the solutions in a few days! Readers are free to offer their thoughts.
              W: 14 pieces: Ka6, Qd1, Rg7, Re6, Bh2, Bh3, Nc6, Nd4, b3. b5 .b7, c2, c5, h7.
              B: 14 pieces: Kc7, Qh4, Rf2, Rf4, Bb8, Bf1, Nb2, Nh1, a3, a4, a7, d7, g5, h6.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Frank Dixon View Post
                I am offering a problem which I composed as a 13-year-old, for readers' enjoyment.
                This came out of a nasty case of chicken pox and a 2-week quarantine at summer camp, with not a lot for me to do. One of the camp instructors was a recreational problem composer, and I had my chess set with me, so he encouraged me to try it, giving me some tips! That was kind of him!
                Frank Eldon Dixon, 1971.
                White mates in two moves. Dual solutions. Hint: One solution involves a promotion, the other starts with a check. I think it is quite easy, but still pleasing! Note that all files and ranks are occupied! I realize now that it is not strictly pure in certain ways; I didn't care! I will provide the solutions in a few days! Readers are free to offer their thoughts.
                W: 14 pieces: Ka6, Qd1, Rg7, Re6, Bh2, Bh3, Nc6, Nd4, b3. b5 .b7, c2, c5, h7.
                B: 14 pieces: Kc7, Qh4, Rf2, Rf4, Bb8, Bf1, Nb2, Nh1, a3, a4, a7, d7, g5, h6.
                Here is a FEN for easier attempts with a virtual board : 1b6/pPkp2RP/K1N1R2p/1PP3p1/p2N1r1q/pP5B/1nP2r1B/3Q1b1n w - - 0 1

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                • #9
                  Training Young Players to Become Problem Composers

                  July 25, 2021


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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the diagram, Wayne!!
                    I'm going to have a bit of fun as I explain this solution set!
                    White would like to play 1.b6+ axb6 2.cxb6#, except that the b-pawn is pinned to his King by Black's B/f1. Let's come back to this sector later.
                    White would also like to try 1.Rd6, threatening 2.R(either)xd7#, except this is stopped by 1...Bxh3, guarding d7.
                    And, Black can capture on b5 with his B/f1, with check to White's K/a6, on any White try that is NOT a check! This could make it difficult, if not impossible, for White to carry out his plan!
                    White may look to use his Q/d1 as part of a winning attack, to attack d7 by clearing the N/d4, except that the queen is under threat from the N/b2!
                    A) So, applying my hints, if we look for legal checks for White, the only one is: 1.Rxd7+!, and then 1... Kxd7 2.Re7#; that is also a double check, since the B/h3 is also checking! That is the first solution! [1.Rxd7+ Kxd7 2.Re7#.]
                    B) There is another solution, exploiting a different advantage to White's position. Applying my hint: If White promotes his h-pawn with 1.h8Q, then he can play 2.Qc8# or 2.Qd8#. If he promotes with 1.h8R, then he can play 2.Rc8#. Black's only way of blocking the new promoted pieces' access to those mating squares is from his R/f4, but that piece is pinned to Black's K/c7, by the B/h2! Aha, though: remember that Black can play 1...Bxb5+ on any White try that is NOT a check. White gets the last laugh, however, since if this is tried, then 2.Nxb5#!! [1.h8Q / 1.h8R, Bxb5 2.Nxb5#.]

                    Now, I have to explain that I didn't do all of this myself, right from the start, at age 13! I did get some assistance from the camp instructor / recreational problem composer, who I mentioned above. He gave me feedback, and found some 'cooks', earlier in the design process. He also photocopied material for me from his collection, mostly in Italian! He would normally lend the books, but my illness made that impossible, for health reasons. And I did produce some more problems, also with his help. This is my favourite from that summer, however! So, I have to acknowledge wonderful help from Signore Giorgio Mancini, an older gentleman, who immigrated from Italy after World War II. He loved chess, but never entered any of his own compositions into contests in Canada. He didn't have a lot of personal confidence, thought his English wasn't very good (I thought it was actually pretty good for someone who never spoke it until after age 30!), and preferred to share his chess efforts with his friends. He was a camping / wilderness skills instructor for the camp. And I did get two weeks of camping fun, when I recovered from the chicken pox and got out of quarantine!

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                    • #11
                      I enjoyed the problem Frank. I did get the solution but my favorite is 1Ne2 blocking the bishop, Nxd1 2.b6+ axb6 3.axb6# even though its mate in three. I liked that you used all the major pieces and most of the pawns. Impressive for a problem composing start!

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                      • #12
                        Thanks, Hans. Your solution is fitting in with the themes! I can't emphasize how much Signore Mancini stimulated my composing interest that summer at camp! I found that the entire experience also helped my play; I was heading into high school and wound up in a very good chess environment at Mackenzie High School in Deep River, with James Hegney leading the team as coach. I started on board five of eight, and was on board one two years later, holding my own with Mr. Hegney in our games. He was an Australian from Perth, French language teacher, who had known C.J.S. Purdy in Australia; Purdy was the first World Correspondence Champion. Geoffrey Edwards was three years younger at the same school, and he was knocking on the door of Canadian Junior qualification later on. MHS dominated upper Ottawa Valley team events during that period.
                        Composing is an area I want to spend more time on now, as I am getting too old for being able to play well in multi-round events over a weekend. I will typically play one good game and then one bad game.

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