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

309. Denis Saunders
The Problemist 1990
Mate in 3

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.308.
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

2 Oct. 2016 – What’s New

Alexander Goldstein (1911-1988) was one of the greatest Australian problem composers, best known for his three-movers. Bob Meadley has compiled all of Alex’s works in an e-book, titled Alexander Goldstein: His Life, His Chess Problems. (I helped with its editing process mainly by formatting the text and designing the layout.) This wonderful collection starts with ‘An Anecdotal Introduction’ by Ian Shanahan and ‘An Interview with Sophie Goldstein’, the latter a moving account of Alex’s life as conveyed by his widow. The next chapters feature more than two hundreds of Alex’s compositions – mostly directmates but also some helpmates and selfmates. These problems are accompanied by expert comments from Geoff Foster, Andy Sag, and Arthur Willmott. Alex’s chess writings are then presented, including a piece called ‘Miraculous Escape from a Siberian Mine’ which begins memorably with the lines, “Two chess problems saved my life. This is how it happened.” The book concludes with a large section of scans, comprising more of Alex’s articles and a variety of materials about him.

Alexander Goldstein
Chwila 1931
Mate in 3

To download this free e-book, use the link above or go to the Problemists and History page of this site. Here are two splendid examples of Alex’s works from the compilation. In the first, White must be mindful of Black’s bishop or rook giving check if either is unpinned, e.g. if 1.Sc1? aiming for 2.Sd3 and 3.Sf2, then 1…Bxb6+! refutes. The key 1.Sc3! waits for Black to self-obstruct with a pawn move. 1…cxb6 allows 2.Sd1 and 3.Sf2 since 2…Bxb6+ by the freed bishop is ruled out. Likewise 1…b2 means White can unpin the black rook with 2.Se4, and 3.Sf2 is unstoppable as 2…Ra2+ is blocked. One more variation involves a nice switchback, 1…h3 2.Se2 and 3.Sg3.

Alexander Goldstein
Parallèle 50 1949
1st Prize
Mate in 3

The second problem shows even more impressive strategy. First note that if White tries to unpin the d6-knight, then Sxb7 (a pin-mate) becomes a threat, but 1.Qf6? is defeated by 1…Bxd5! The key 1.Qf5! instead threatens 2.Qc8 and 3.Qa8. Black has three defences but they err by preventing …Bxd5, after which White’s unpinning plan becomes viable. If 1…Bh3, then White plays 2.Qe6 and 3.Sxb7 – not 2.Qf6?/Qg6? Bc8! After 1…e4, White chooses 2.Qf6 and 3.Sxb7 – not 2.Qe6?/Qg6? Bg7+! And 1…Rf3 must be followed by 2.Qg6 and 3.Sxb7 – not 2.Qe6?/Qf6? Rf6+! So three white queen moves with a similar motive are subtly differentiated. The by-play makes further use of the queen: 1…Sd7 2.Qxd7 and 3.Qxb5 – another pin-mate.

The two-mover by J.T. Eaton in the previous Walkabout column is solved by 1.Rb2! (releasing both black knights). However, Geoff Foster advises that this problem is exactly anticipated by Gerardus Drese, Elk Wat Wils 1935.

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.