Wednesday, 16 January 2008

A Problem Shared

I now have an answer to the query posted in response to UNCUT! 59

It would appear that my source (Batsford Chess Puzzles by Leonard Barden) wasn’t as accurate as I’d hoped when it came to the Napoleon chess problem. (I am temporarily separated from my comprehensive chess library so unfortunately didn't have access to other printed sources).

The problem itself flows nicely but the Napoleon angle was questioned by a reader.

Investigating the matter further, I was delighted to find a blog by the great Brian Stephenson: CHESS columnist and well-known chess problem enthusiast, event organiser etc. Brian used to travel all the way from Sheffield to Teesside to run problem competitions at my junior events and always provided excellent prizes. Many of our local juniors benefited from the competitions, improving their analytical skills and enjoying a different aspect of chess.

Brian also produced some wonderful chess books. Anyone who never picked up a copy of the sublime Hastings 1895 tournament book should do so at their earliest convenience.

With Brian’s help, my query found its way to Michael McDowell of the British Chess Problem Society and he replied thus:

''The Chess Cafe position is the "Napoleon's retreat from Moscow" problem (Moscow is a1 and Paris is h8). Both problems appear in the Russian book "Chess Mosaics" by V.M.Archakov. To double check I looked at "Chess problems in the 19th century" by the composer and problem historian Evgeny Umnov, and he agrees.''

Thank you, gentlemen, for your assistance in this matter.

Here are some links no problemist should be without:

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