Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Echoes of the past

Just now surfing the web for chess, somehow ended up at a chess problem site. Looking through some problems on the page. Recognized famous names like Don Smedley, Norman MacLeod. Well known names from back when I did some problem composing. I had a strange feeling, my spidey senses were tingling, scrolled down the page. Saw a familiar name, Liew Chee Meng, composer of one of the problems  chosen for a Greek solving contest in January 2012.

Yes, that is me, I always used my full Chinese name in my compositions.The Problemist is a  English publication of  the famous British Chess Problem Society, the world's oldest chess problem society, concentrating on chess problems and studies. They hold regular tournaments for chess problems as well as studies.

The theme of my problem is Grimshaw, a device where two pieces arriving on a particular square interferes with the other. In my problem the interference is on e4 and e5 if the black rooks and bishops moves to these squares. But that is not all. You cannot really stand out with a simple Grimshaw theme. There has to be more to make the judges take notice.

In my problem there are two tries,  1. Ne5 and 1. Re4 , whereby white tries to interfere with the black rook on g5 and black rook on g4 respectively. But in doing so white also does a self-Grimshaw. 1. Ne5 interferes with the queen on h8 allowing the defence 1...Rd4 as 2. Qxd4 is no longer possible. And 1. Re4 interferes with white bishop on f3 and now 1....Rd5 and 2. Rxd5 is not an option.

The key 1. Nb8 has a different threat 2. Nd7 mate. Black main defences are 1...Be5 , 1....Re5 , 1...Be4 and 1...Re4. Each allows a different mate by interference e.g 1...Be5 blocking the queen control of d4 square. Now 2. Nd7 is not mate because the knight is interfering with the rook on d8! But then the interference with black rook on g5 allows 2. Rd5 mate. There are similar ideas for the other three defences.

The theme and ideas in this problem enabled me to win the third prize that year (1985). I really treasured this win because there are many great composers who regularly compete for honours in this tournament.


Yeoh said...

hi Jimmy
1. amazing!
2. can't imagine how u composed it, and took how long to do that.
3. This should be part of Malaysia chess treasures.

Jimmy Liew said...

Thanks for the kind words. Took a few days only, everything just kind of fell together right away.

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