Category Archives: Problems

Remembering Frederick Forrest Lawrie Alexander (13-XI-1879, 01-IV-1965)

Frederick Forrest Lawrie Alexander, photograph located by Richard James from Ancestry.co.uk
Frederick Forrest Lawrie Alexander, photograph located by Richard James from Ancestry.co.uk

Remembering Frederick Forrest Lawrie Alexander (13-XI-1879, 01-IV-1965)

Interesting article from Woodseats Library

Here is an article from the Chess Composers Blog

He was seven times champion of Battersea Chess Club

The Surrey County Chess Association has The Alexander Trophy as one of its main awards : is it awarded for the top knockout competition.

Here is some history of the trophy from Surbiton Chess Club

Here are a handful of his games from chessgames.com and here is what chessgames.com has to say about FFLA :

“Frederick Forrest Lawrie Alexander played in the 1932 British Championship, but with little success. At age 70, playing at the 1950 Southsea tournament, he shocked the pundits by defeating Efim Bogoljubov and Harry Golombek.”

Here is more detail and photographs of the Alexander Cup from Britbase / John Saunders

Remembering Comins Mansfield MBE (14-vi-1896 28-iii-1984)

Comins Mansfield MBE
Comins Mansfield MBE

Remembering Comins Mansfield MBE (14-vi-1896 28-iii-1984)

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks :

“International Grandmaster of the FIDE for Chess Compositions (1972), International Master of the FIDE for Chess Compositions (1959), International Judge of the FIDE for Chess Compositions (1957). President of the Permanent Commission of the FIDE for Chess Compositions from 1963 to 1971. President of the British Chess Problem Society from 1949 to 1951.

Born at Witheridge in North Devon on 14th June 1896. He has composed about 1,000 problems, nearly all of them two-movers, since 1911. He is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. His oustanding ability was recognised early when A Genius of the Two-Mover in the A.C. White Christmas series of books was published in 1936. He is the author of Adventures in Composition (1944) and co-author with the late Brian Harley of The Modern Two-Move Problem. From 1926-1932 he was Problem Editor of The Bristol Times and Mirror, and he is at present Problem Editor of The Sunday Telegraph His feature “Selected with Comments” has been a permanent feature of The Problemist. A strong player, Mansfield won the Gloucestershire Championship from 1927 to 1934. He has a recorded win over Sir George Thomas, a late British Champion and International Master.

Mansfield made a life-times career with the tobacco firm of W.D. & H.O. Wills. He is a dedicated family man with three children.

C. Mansfield, 1st Prize, Hampshire Post, 1919

White to play and mate in two moves (Solution at the foot of this article)

Comins Mansfield MBE
Comins Mansfield MBE

Here is an excellent biography from Chess Devon

Comins Mansfield MBE
Comins Mansfield MBE

Here is his Wikipedia entry

101 Chess Puzzles
101 Chess Puzzles

Here is a biography fro Keverel Chess

From The Oxford Companion to Chess by Hooper & Whyld :

“English two-mover composer widely regarded in his time as the greatest in this field. During the life of the GOOD COMPANION CHESS PROBLEM CLUB (1913—24) he was one of the pioneers who gave new life to the two-mover. The ideas then introduced have since become traditional, and Mansfield has adhered to them, continuing to gain successes although not always following the latest trend. In 1942 he wrote Adventures in Composition, an excellent guide to the art of composing. In 1957 he was awarded the title of International Judge of Chess Compositions; in 1963 he accepted and held for eight years the presidency of the FIDE Commission for Chess Compositions; in 1972 he was one of the first four to he awarded the title of InternationalGrandmaster for Chess Compositions. (See java theme; PIN-MATE,)

A. C. White, A Genius of the Two-mover (1936) contains 113 problems by Mansfield; B. P. Barnes, Comins Mansfield MBE: Chess Problems of a Grandmaster (1976) contains 200 problems. ”

Chessboard Delights
Chessboard Delights

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Harry Golombek :

“”

i.e. no entry ! HGs encyclopedia contains zero mentions of Comins Mansfield whatsoever and this is interpreted as a snub with the reason being unknown.

A Genius of the Two Mover
A Genius of the Two Mover

Here is the entry for CM from the BCPS web site

Adventures in Composition
Adventures in Composition

Here are his games from chessgames.com

America Salutes Comins Manfield MBE
America Salutes Comins Manfield MBE

Solution to Two-Mover above : 1. Qf5 !

Remembering Percy Francis Blake (6-xii-1873 26-iii-1936)

Percy Francis Blake
Percy Francis Blake

Remembering Percy Francis Blake (6-xii-1873 26-iii-1936)

From his Italian Wikipedia entry :

“Percy Francis Blake ( Manchester , December 6, 1873 – Grappenhall , March 20, 1936 ) was a British chess player and chess composer , among the best English problem players of the period 1900 – 1936 .

He composed over 500 problems, most in two and three moves, of which around 160 were awarded (45 first prizes and 40 second prizes). [1]

He was famous for “quiet” keys and continuations, which made his problems very difficult to solve.

He was also a good player and table. In 1890 he won the Manchester club championship and later several local tournaments. In 1894 he won a beauty prize offered by the Manchester Weekly Times . From 1898 to 1912 he was part of the Lancashire team in many team matches between that county and Yorkshire . In 1911 he won the Lancashire championship. [2]”

and from the rather excellent Yorkshire Chess History we have

The following photograph was kindly supplied by Michael McDowell of the British Chess Problem Society :

Percy Francis Blake
Percy Francis Blake
Percy Francis Blake drawn  by Orrett from Manchester Central Library. Known as an example of a "Bristol Board". Supplied by Michael McDowell
Percy Francis Blake drawn by Orrett from Manchester Central Library. Known as an example of a “Bristol Board”. Supplied by Michael McDowell

Richard Kenneth Guy (30-ix-1916 09-iii-2020) RIP

Richard Kenneth Guy
Richard Kenneth Guy

We are sad to report the passing of Richard Kenneth Guy, born 30-ix-1916) who passed away on March 9th 2020 in Calgary aged 103

From Wikipedia :

Richard Kenneth Guy (born 30 September 1916) was a British mathematician and professor emeritus in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Calgary.[1] He was known for his work in number theory, geometry, recreational mathematics, combinatorics, and graph theory.[2][3] He was best known for co-authorship (with John Conway and Elwyn Berlekamp) of Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays and authorship of Unsolved Problems in Number Theory.[4] He had also published over 300 papers.[5] Guy proposed the partially tongue-in-cheek “Strong Law of Small Numbers,” which says there are not enough small integers available for the many tasks assigned to them – thus explaining many coincidences and patterns found among numerous cultures.[6] For this paper he received the MAA Lester R. Ford Award.[7]

From 1947 to 1951 Guy was the endings editor for the British Chess Magazine.[40] He is known for almost 200 endgame studies. Along with Hugh Blandford and John Roycroft, he was one of the inventors of the GBR code (Guy–Blandford–Roycroft code), a system of representing the position of chess pieces on a chessboard. Publications such as EG magazine use it to classify endgame types and to index endgame studies.[41]

Richard Kenneth Guy
Richard Kenneth Guy

Remembering John Frederick Keeble (27-viii-1855 19-ii-1939)

John Frederick Keeble
John Frederick Keeble

We remember John Frederick Keeble who passed away on February 19th 1939

From The Oxford Companion to Chess by Hooper & Whyld :

Problemist and chronicler who lived in Norwich all his life. He edited the chess column of the Norwich Mercury from 1902 lo 1912, contributed many significant articles elsewhere, investigated a number of chess questions, and established the burial place of several great players and arranged the tending of their graves. He lived at only two addresses for 73 years, worked for the railway company for 53 years, and was a member of the Norfolk and Norwich chess dub for 61 consecutive years. Winner of the club championship in 1884, he did not compete again until 1933 and then won it three years in succession.

John Frederick Keeble
John Frederick Keeble

Here is his (italian) Wikipedia entry

John Frederick Keeble
John Frederick Keeble
An English Bohemian
An English Bohemian

Happy Birthday Michael Lipton (13-ii-1937)

Michael Lipton
Michael Lipton

Happy Birthday Michael Lipton (13-ii-1937)

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks :

Michael Lipton is a British problem composer. Born on 13th February 1937, Lipton is a Fellow of All Souls, Oxford and an economist at The University of Sussex.

His 350 problems consist mainly of modern two-movers. His British Chess Problem Society lecture in 1956, The German Two-Mover, led to so great an interest in modern trends that Great Britain was transformed from one of the most backward to one of the most forward countries for the composition of modern two-movers. Lipton, Rice and Barnes were chiefly responsible for this revolution.

Lipton had edited problem sections of Correspondence Chess and the Sunday Citizen. He is co-author with R.C.O. Matthews and J.M.Rice of Chess Problems : Introduction to an Art and co-author with J.M.Rice and B.P.Barnes of The Two Move Chess Problem : Tradition and Development.

The Two Move Chess Problem : Tradition and Development
The Two Move Chess Problem : Tradition and Development
Chess Problems : Introduction to an Art
Chess Problems : Introduction to an Art

Remembering Sir Jeremy Morse, (10-xii-1928 04-ii-2016)

Jeremy Morse with Boris Spassky at the Lloyds Bank Masters of 1984
Jeremy Morse with Boris Spassky at the Lloyds Bank Masters of 1984

We remember Sir Jeremy Morse who passed away this day, February 4th, 2016.

Chess Problems : Tasks and Records, Faber & Faber, 1995
Chess Problems : Tasks and Records, Faber & Faber, 1995

From the rear cover of Chess Problems : Tasks and Records (1995) :

Jeremy Morse caught the “puzzle bug” when his parents introduced him to The Times crossword at the age of six. Over the subsequent sixty years he has solved and set crosswords, other word puzzles, mathematical puzzles, bridge problems and chess problems.

In his spare time he pursued a career in banking, which included the chairmanship of Lloyds Bank from 1977 to 1993. Currently he holds a number business directorships, and is also Warden of Winchester College and Chancellor of Bristol University.

He was knighted in 1975.

Jeremy Morse, Adam Hunt, Nick Pert and Nigel Short at the Lloyds Bank Masters
Jeremy Morse, Adam Hunt, Nick Pert and Nigel Short at the Lloyds Bank Masters

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks :

British problem composer. Born on 10th December 1928. Executive Director of the Bank of England. Since 1953 he has composed about 250 problems almost all two-movers. He has specialised in task two-movers, on which he has contributed articles to The Problemist and Problem.

David Friedgood, Jeremy Morse, Jonathan Mestel and ? at a Lloyds Bnk problem solving event
David Friedgood, Jeremy Morse, Jonathan Mestel and ? at a Lloyds Bnk problem solving event

Here is his obituary from The University of Bristol

Sir Jeremy Morse KCMG, Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 1989 to 2003
Sir Jeremy Morse KCMG, Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 1989 to 2003

Here is his obituary from The Financial Times.

Keith Arkell, Susan Walker and Jeremy Morse at the Lloyds Bank Masters
Keith Arkell, Susan Walker and Jeremy Morse at the Lloyds Bank Masters

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Yasser Seirawan and Jeremy Morse at the Lloyds Bank Masters
Yasser Seirawan and Jeremy Morse at the Lloyds Bank Masters

Remembering Edith Elina Helen Baird (22-ii-1859, 01-ii-1924)

Edith Elina Helen Baird
Edith Elina Helen Baird

We remember Edith Elina Helen Baird (22-ii-1859, 01-ii-1924)

Edith Elina Helen Baird
Edith Elina Helen Baird

From The Oxford Companion to Chess by Hooper & Whyld :

EDITH ELINA HELEN (née Winter Wood) (1859-1924), British problem composer. Her parents, two brothers, and daughter were all good players or clever problemists. She composed
over 2,000 problems which were not profound but were noted for their soundness; only a dozen or so were faulted. Her Seven Hundred Chess Problems was published in 1902. She became deeply absorbed in retractors, and her other book The Twentieth Century Retractor appeared in 1907. They are two of the most beautiful chess books
ever to appear, printed and bound by the King’s printer Henry Sotheran, and sold at less than cost,

The Twentieth Century Retractor
The Twentieth Century Retractor

Here is her Wikipedia entry

Seven Hundred Chess Problems
Seven Hundred Chess Problems

Here is more from chessproblem.net

Chess Devon have this excellent article

Remembering Harold Maurice Lommer (18-XI-1904, 17-XII-1980)

Harold Maurice Lommer (18-XI-1904, 17-XII-1980)
Harold Maurice Lommer (18-XI-1904, 17-XII-1980)

We remember Harold Maurice Lommer who passed away on December 17th, 1980.

From The Oxford Companion to Chess by David Hooper Ken Whyld :

International Judge of Chess Compositions (1958), International Arbiter (1962), International Master for Chess Compositions (1974), the greatest British study composer. Born in Islington of German parentage, he moved to Switzerland when he was four and returned to England 18 years later.
Inspired in his youth by the Saavedra study, he
became the leading specialist on promotion tasks, and in 1933 was the first to show allumwandlung in a study, which Rinck had declared was impossible. Lommer also showed in studies six consecutive promotions to rooks (1935) and a minimal with concurrent promotions to queen, bishop, and knight. (For another task record see star-flights.) After the Second World War he became proprietor of a Soho club, where players and composers often met; in 1949 the club organized a small international tournament, won by bernstein, Lommer retired in 1961 and went to live in Valencia, where he died.

In 1939 Lommer and the English player Maurice A. Sutherland (d.1954), who backed the project, published 1,234 Modern End-game Studies. In 1975 Lommer compiled a sequel, 1,357 End-game Studies. These two collections, catholic in taste, made by a composer who was above all an artist, have become standard works. Besides his studies, the best of which are in these books, he composed fairy problems.

1234 Modern End-Game Studies
1234 Modern End-Game Studies
1357 End-Game Studies
1357 End-Game Studies
Harold Maurice Lommer (18-XI-1904, 17-XII-1980)
Harold Maurice Lommer (18-XI-1904, 17-XII-1980)

Remembering Thomas Rayner Dawson (28-XI-1889, 16-XII-1951)

Thomas Rayner Dawson (28-XI-1889, 16-XII-1951)
Thomas Rayner Dawson (28-XI-1889, 16-XII-1951)

We remember Thomas Rayner Dawson who passed away on December 16th, 1951.

From Wikipedia :

Thomas Rayner Dawson (28 November 1889 – 16 December 1951) was an English chess problemist and is acknowledged as “the father of Fairy Chess”.[1] He invented many fairy pieces and new conditions. He introduced the popular fairy pieces grasshopper, nightrider, and many other fairy chess ideas.

Dawson published his first problem, a two-mover, in 1907. His chess problem compositions include 5,320 fairies, 885 directmates, 97 selfmates, and 138 endings. 120 of his problems have been awarded prizes and 211 honourably mentioned or otherwise commended. He cooperated in chess composition with Charles Masson Fox.

Dawson was founder-editor (1922–1931) of The Problemist, the journal of the British Chess Problem Society. He subsequently produced The Fairy Chess Review (1930–1951), which began as The Problemist Fairy Chess Supplement. At the same time he edited the problem pages of The British Chess Magazine (1931–1951).

The Fairy Chess Review
The Fairy Chess Review

Publications

Caissa’s Playthings a series of articles in Cheltenham Examiner (1913)
Retrograde Analysis, with Wolfgang Hundsdorfer (1915)
Fata Morgana, with Birgfeld, Nanz, Massmann, Pauly (1922)
Asymmetry, with W. Pauly (1928)
Seventy Five Retros (1928)
Caissa’s Wild Roses (1935)
C. M. Fox, His Problems (1936)
Caissa’s Wild Roses in Clusters (1937)
Ultimate Themes (1938)
Caissa’s Fairy Tales (1947)
The last five titles were collected as Five Classics of Fairy Chess, Dover Publications (1973), ISBN 978-0-486-22910-2.

See Sunnucks

and from The Oxford Companion to Chess by David Hooper & Ken Whyld :

English composer, pioneer of both fairy problems and retrograde analysis. His problems in these fields form the greater part of his output (about 6,500 compositions) and are better remembered than his studies and orthodox problems. For fairy problems he invented new pieces: grasshopper (1912) LEO (1912), NEUTRAL MAN (1912) NIGHT RIDER (1925), and VAO (1912); he codified new rules such as the maximummer (1913) and various kinds of series-mover; and he used unorthodox boards.

In 1915 he wrote Retrograde Analysis, the first book on the subject, completing the project begun several years earlier by the German composer Wolfgang Hundsdorfer (1879-1951). From 1919 to 1930 Dawson conducted a column devoted to fairy problems in the Chess Amateur, In 1926 he was a co-founder of the Problemist , which he edited for its first six years and he founded and edited The Problemist Fairy Supplement (1931-6) continued as The Fairy Chess Review (1936-51).

Besides conducting columns in several newspapers and periodicals, one of them daily and one in the Braille Chess Magazine, Dawson edited the problem section of the British Chess Magazine from 1931 to 1951; he devised and published in its pages (1947-50) a systematic terminology for problem themes in the hope that it would supplant the extensive jargon then and now in use, Dawson wrote five hooks on fairy problems: Caissa’s Wild Roses (1935); C. M. Fox, His Problems (1936); Caissa’s Wild Roses in Clusters (1937); Ultimate Themes (1938); and Caissa’s Fairy Tales (1947). Charles Masson Fox (1866-1935) was a patron whose generosity made possible the publication of four of these books and the two fairy problem magazines founded by Dawson. Ultimate Themes deals with tasks, another of Dawson’s favourite subjects. In 1973 all five books were republished in one volume. Five Classics of Fairy Chess,

Dawson found it difficult to understand the problemist’s idea of beauty because it is not susceptible to precise definition. The artist talks of “quiet” moves, oblivious that they are White’s most pulverizing attacks! This aesthetic folly, reverence, response thrill to vain-glorious bombast runs throughout chess.(See Bohemian for a problem showing 16 model mates, a task Dawson claimed as a record but a setting Bohemian composers would reject.) His genius did not set him apart from his fellows; he could find time for casual visitors and would explain his ideas to a tyro with patience, modesty, and kindness. Although he won many tourney prizes much of his work was designed to encourage others, to enlarge the small band of fairy problem devotees, He composed less for fame than to amuse himself, confessing to another composer ‘We do these things for ourselves alone.’

A chemistry graduate, Dawson took a post in the rubber industry in 1922 and rose to be head of the Intelligence Division of the British Rubber Manufacturer for which he founded, catalogued, and maintained a technical library. Unwell for the last year of his life, he died from a stroke. (See eight OFFICERS PUZZLE; PARTIAL RETROGRADE ANALYSIS.) K. Fabel and C. E. Kemp, Schach ohne Grenzen or Chess unlimited (1969) is a survey, written in German and English, of Dawson’s contribution to the art of fairy problems.

Five Classics of Fairy Chess
Five Classics of Fairy Chess
Thomas Rayner Dawson (28-XI-1889, 16-XII-1951)
Thomas Rayner Dawson (28-XI-1889, 16-XII-1951)