Welcome to OzProblems.com, a site devoted to the chess problem art in Australia! Whether you’re a player who is new to composition chess or an experienced solver looking for challenging problems, we have something for you. Our aim is to promote the enjoyment of chess problems, which are at once interesting puzzles and the most artistic form of chess.

 Problem of the Week

305. John James O’Keefe
Die Schwalbe 1932
1st Prize
Mate in 4

The weekly problem’s solution will appear in the following week, when a new work is quoted.
See last week’s problem with solution: No.304.
See previous Problems of the Week without solutions: Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13.

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Chess and problem rambles by PW

31 Jul. 2016 – What’s New

The Chess Amateur was a major British magazine that ran during the early years of the 20th century. Bob Meadley has put together a two-part collection of extracts from this publication, named The Chess Amateur, P.H. Williams and Australia. P.H. Williams was the magazine’s problem editor and Bob regards him as a hero, someone who was a “phenomenon” and the “ultimate chess promoter”. Besides a focus on Williams, the document includes all Australian-related problem items, the coverage of which was extensive. You will find a great assortment of fascinating materials here, consisting of full articles, news, problems, and even some poems and photographs. For instance, it’s curious to read that during the First World War, there was some controversy regarding the use of ‘S’ for knight in problem notation because it stands for a German term, Springer.

Philip Hamilton Williams
777 Chess Miniatures in Three 1900
Mate in 3

You can download The Chess Amateur, P.H. Williams and Australia here: Part 1, Part 2, or from the Problemists and History page. Above is a selection from the document, a neat miniature in three moves by Williams. The give-and-take key 1.Qc4! involves a short threat, 2.Qxb3. Both of Black’s defences are answered by appealing white moves, which result in two pairs of queen and rook mates. 1…bxa2 2.Ra1 Kxa1 3.Qc1 or 2…Ka3 3.Rxa2; 1…Kxa2 2.Qd4 b2 3.Qa4 or 2…Ka3 3.Ra1.

J. T. Eaton
Australasian Chess Review 1942
Mate in 2

In the Magazines and Columns section of this site, the remaining Australasian Chess Review issues that were missing are now available. Thanks to Nigel Nettheim who kindly scanned his copies of the publication for the years 1934-37 and 1941-43. Consequently, the magazine section of the Oz Archives is actually complete! Here I quote a two-mover by Eaton from the ACR. You will soon notice the position is unusual in that Black is in stalemate. So how does White deal with it?

13 Jun. 2016 – What’s New

Bob Meadley continues his excellent work on problem history with the publication of Australian Chess Problems and News in Overseas Journals. This document is a compilation of Australian problem items in overseas publications, primarily the British Chess Magazine, from the late 19th century to 1920. Tourney results and award-winning problems are quoted aplenty, along with other news items. You will find representative works by eminent Australian composers such as A. Charlick, J.J. O’Keefe, and A. Mosely, as well as overseas greats who gained prizes in Australian tourneys. Many compositions are accompanied by perceptive comments from B.G. Laws, the problem editor of BCM. In some instances, Bob even reproduces the full articles, e.g. ‘Problem Tourneys in Victoria’ by Andrew Burns, and ‘Some Australian Novelties’ by Henry Tate. Bob’s interesting annotations are also interspersed through the text, providing explanatory notes and his editorial views. You can download the free document in the PDF-format using the above link.

Arthur Charlick
British Chess Magazine 1911
Frank Healey Memorial Tourney
2nd Prize
Mate in 2

Here is a classy two-mover cited in Overseas Journals. The key and threat are long-range queen moves: 1.Qg1! (2.Qg7). No less than five black defences occur on the same square, yielding a variety of mates: 1…Seg2 2.Qxa1, 1…Bg2 2.Qxh2, 1…Rg2 2.Qe3, 1…Shg2 2.f6, and 1…Qg2/Qxg1 2.Bf4. The good by-play makes further use of the white queen – 1…Qg3 2.Qxg3, 1…Bd4 2.Qxd4, and the R + P battery – 1…Sg6+ 2.fxg6.

5 May 2016 – What’s New

The recent winner of the Whyatt Medal, Ian Shanahan, has gathered his compositions in a free e-book: Chess Problems by Dr. Ian Shanahan. As may be expected from one of Australia’s best problem composers, this is a very fine collection of his works and it’s highly recommended. The book consists of about 200 problems divided into seven groups – two-movers, three-movers, more-movers, helpmates/helpstalemates, series-movers, other fairies, and retros – indicative of the author’s versatility. The problems are nicely presented one to a page, with full solutions given below the diagrams. Ian also provides the thematic content of each problem in detail, and in many cases instructive comments on its construction.

Ian Shanahan
Springaren 2013
1st Commendation
Ded. to David Shire
Mate in 2

Here’s a sample two-mover featuring an unusual theme: “Masked battery-formation with total change involving pin-mates between try- and actual phases.” Note the set play: 1…Sb~ 2.Bxc6, 1…c5 2.Bxb7, 1…B~ 2.Qxf5, and 1…f4 2.Qxg5. The try 1.Sxf5? disrupts the set variations on the fifth rank and forms a Q + S battery that’s masked by the g5-bishop. The threat is the pin-mate, 2.Sxe3, and it induces 1…d1(S) 2.Qxd1 and 1…c5 2.Bxb7, but 1…Be7! subtly refutes the try. The analogous key 1.Rxc6! removes the set variations on the long diagonal and forms a B + R battery that’s masked by the b7-knight. The threat is another pin-mate, 2.Rd6, which provokes 1…Ra6 2.Rc5, 1…fxe4 2.Qxg5, 1…Be7 2.Qxf5, 1…Bf4 2.Sf6, and 1…Sf7 2.Qxf7. The play following the try and the key differ in both Black’s defences and White’s mates, hence the “total change” effected.

In May last year, Bob Meadley published the comprehensive e-book, Australian Chess Problem History (see the Walkabout column of 17/5/2015). An interesting article by Bob, titled ‘Some Memories of John Kellner’, has been added to Part 2 of this document. John Kellner (1931-1987) was a strong player who edited the chess columns of the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Telegraph. He was also a problem enthusiast and Bob recounts the wonderful ways in which John promoted both the game and problems.

The M.V. Anderson Chess Collection in the State Library of Victoria holds one of the largest collections of chess books in the world. It also contains many manuscripts of significant individuals and clubs, a list of which has been prepared by Bob Meadley. This useful reference guide, which highlights chess-problem related material, can be downloaded from the Problemists and History section of this site or here: Manuscripts in the M.V. Anderson Chess Collection.

3 Apr. 2016 – Guided Chess Problem Composing Competition 2016 – results

The second Guided Chess Problem Composing Competition, announced in the Walkabout column of 25/11/2015, has been completed. The results of this open event, aimed at introducing contestants to the practice of problem construction, were again very close. The top prize-winners are:

  1st Prize: Ralf Krätschmer (Germany)
  2nd Prize: Ilija Serafimović (Serbia)
  3rd Prize (equal): Dušan Mijatović (Serbia) and Andy Sag (Australia)

Ralf and Ilija were also the two top-scoring contestants last year but they have swapped their positions. Third place is shared by Andy and a new participant, Dušan. While Ralf and Andy are established problemists, Ilija and Dušan are both juniors who attend the Chess Academy run by the world-renowned composer, Marjan Kovačević. Congratulations to the winners!

Marko Lozajic of Serbia (another student of Marjan Kovačević) and Stefan Felber of Germany also deserve our compliments; both achieved scores very close to the above group. Special mentions go to two young entrants who have not attempted composing before: Danila Pavlov of Russia – a world junior champion in problem solving – who gave consistently good answers, and Erin Dullaway of Australia who is remarkably only seven years of age.

A document that provides the Tasks, Answers, and Results of the competition is now available for download. Although the set questions are generally simpler this time, two of them allow the entrants a lot of leeway in creating correct versions of existing problems. Consequently, a good variety of answers were received for these tasks, and they proved very interesting to compare. Indeed, the outstanding entry for Task 3, submitted by Ralf, is better than my own attempt at repairing the original problem!

The diagram below shows what I consider the best way to correct the unsound two-mover of Task 2 (which was quoted in the earlier column mentioned above). Like a few other entries, this position is economical in using a white knight and a black pawn to confine the black king. However, by rotating the board and placing these units on the d-file (so that the pawn does not prevent either knight mate), Ralf has produced the only setting with an attractive quasi-symmetrical feature.

Felix Seidemann
Teplitz-Schönauer Anzeiger 1931
Version by Ralf Krätschmer
Mate in 2

Nigel Nettheim has prepared an informative account of this event: GCPCC 2016 – Report, in which he shares his insights on the running of such an innovative competition. Note that all documents relating to the guided composing contests (for this year and the previous one) are available from the Events section of this site.