Andy Sag

(b. 3rd September, 1937)

Born in Budapest, Hungary and migrated to Australia in 1939; lived in Melbourne until 1954, and then moved to Adelaide. Graduated as a Mechanical Engineer in 1958. Moved to Brisbane in 1983. Played chess on and off since my schooldays, never a particularly brilliant player, rated 1231 at present. First became interested in solving problems in the Brisbane Sunday Mail in 1983 and became interested in composing about a year later. My first efforts were really bad. I sent them to the Brisbane Sunday Mail chess editor, Keith Whittam who sent them on to Denis Saunders for appraisal.

Denis went to great lengths to criticize my problems and also to let me know the things to aim for such as no cooks, no duals, flight giving and sacrificial keys, economical settings and avoiding unprovided flights and unprovided checks etc. Above all, he encouraged me to come up with original ideas and themes and to spend a lot of time polishing problems. I then read a few books to see what other composers had done.

Bob Meadley was also very encouraging and he sent me a special edition of The Problemist featuring English composer Blake’s work. I then composed a few better problems, mainly two-movers and three-movers and some of these were accepted for publication in the Brisbane Sunday Mail. From 1985, I collaborated with Denis Saunders to get a few joint problems published in The Problemist although I must admit that these were more Denis’s work than mine. Since then I have had some problems in the Chess in Australia magazine, British Chess Magazine, The Problemist Supplement and the on-line version of the ACF Bulletin (newsletter of the Australian Chess Federation). More recently, I have been content to solve other composer’s problems and provide comments for the ‘Problem Potpourri’ column in the Australasian Chess magazine.

1. Andy Sag
Brisbane Sunday Mail 1988

Mate in 2

Key: 1.Sf3! (waiting). 1…Kxf3 2.0-0, 1…S6-any 2.Sh4, 1…B-any/S4-any/e2 2.Rg1.

Waiter with three variations. Key piece is sacrificed by conceding a flight-capture by the black king. When first published in Brisbane Sunday Mail about 1988, many regular solvers claimed “no solution,” missing the castles pin-mate line.

2. Andy Sag
The Problemist 1991

Mate in 2

Key: 1.Qc3! (waiting). 1…dxc3 2.Re4, 1…Rd-any 2.Qxd4, 1…e1=Q 2.Qxe1, 1…f2 2.Qg3, 1…g3 2.Sxf3, 1…h4 2.Sxg4, 1…Rh-any 2.Bxg7, 1…S6-any 2.Sc4, 1…Sxc6 2.Sxc6, 1…S8-else 2.Re8.

Waiter with sacrificial key, ten variations and two changed mates (set play: 1…d3 2.Qe4/Qf4, 1…f2  2.Qxe2; actual play: 1…dxc3 2.Re4, 1…f2 2.Qg3). Try: 1.gxh7? S6d7!

3. Andy Sag
ACF Bulletin 2003

Mate in 2

Key: 1.Rd6! (threat: 2.Sc4). 1…Kxd6 2.Qxc7, 1…cxd6 2.Qg7, 1…cxb6 2.Qe7, 1…Bxd6 2.Qa1, 1…dxc2 2.R2d5, 1…Qe4 2.Sf7, 1…f3 2.Bg3.

Threat and seven defensive variations. Sacrificial “give & take” key, allowing flight-capture 1…Kxd6 in exchange for 1…Kd4.

4. Andy Sag
ACF Bulletin 2003

Mate in 2

Key: 1.Qg5! (threat: 2.Qg1). 1…f3 2.Qe3, 1…e4 2.Sec6, 1…Sd5 2.Sc2, 1…Bxd2 2.Sf5, 1…Kc5 2.Qxe5.

Threat and five variations. Black king flight leads to a double pin-mate.

5. Andy Sag & Denis Saunders
The Problemist 2003

Mate in 3

Key: 1.Sf5! (threat: 2.Sxd6+ Kd8 3.Bg5). 1…0-0-0 2.Rc3+ Sxc3/Sc5 3.Se7. 1…0-0 2.Sh6+ Kh8 3.Rh7. 1…Rxh3+ 2.Rxh3 (3.Rh8) 0-0-0 3.Se7. 1…Kd8 2.Bg5+ Kc8 3.Sxd6, 2…Ke8 3.Sxd6 or Sg7. 1…Kf8 2.Sxd6+Kg8 3.Qb3. 1…Rh7 2.Sxd6+ Kd8 3.Rf8 (1…Rf8/Rh5 2.Sxd6+ or 2.Sg7+). 1…Rd8 2.Sg7. Tries: 1.Qc2? (2.Qc6+ Kd8 3.Qd7), 1…Sc3 2.Qf5 (3.Qd7) Rh7 3.Qf8, etc., but 1…Sc5! 1.Bg5? Sc5/Sc3 2.Qxd6 (3.Qe7) Ra2+!

Main theme is black castling on both sides as defences. Key adds two flights (including …0-0) and allows a check. Sacrificial continuation after queen-side castling. White switchback after king-side castling. Non-checking continuation after check still allowing 2…0-0-0.

6. Molham Hassan & Andy Sag
Australian Chess 2004

Mate in 2

Key: 1.Rf5! (waiting). 1…S-any 2.Rf3, 1…Ke3 2.Rc3, 1…e3 2.Rxg5, 1…exf5/e5 2.Qb3.

Sacrificial key that also mobilises two black pawns. Meredith waiter with echo pin-mates.

7. Andy Sag
British Chess Magazine 2001

Mate in 2

Key: 1.Sb4! (waiting). 1…fxe3 2.Qg4, 1…bxc5 2.Be5, 1…Sa-any 2.Sc2, 1…Rxb4+ 2.Rxb4, 1…Rc2+ 2.Sxc2, 1…R-else 2.Sc2, 1…Sh-any Sxf3, 1…B-any 2.Qxg7, 1…f2 2.Rd3, 1…bxc6 2.Sxc6, 1…g6/g5 2.h8=Q.

Waiter with ten variations including a pin-mate and a required double check. Key adds a second check by unpinning the black rook. There are tries, notably 1.Qg4? (2.Qxf4) Bg6! The white force can be reduced by deleting Bh1 and shifting Sh2 to g1. Then if 1…f2 2.Se2, but the composer likes the original better (subtler variation).

8. Andy Sag
The Problemist Supplement 2009

Mate in 3

Key: 1.Qd1! (waiting). 1…f6 2.Sh2+ Kf5 3.Qd5, 2…Kh4 3.Qg4. 1…f5 2.Se5+ Kh4 3.Qh1. 1…Kf5 2.Qd5+ Kf6/Kg4 3.Qxg5. 1…Kh5 2.Qh1+ Kg4 3.Qh3.

The key adds a flight in this Meredith three-mover, and there are many queen tries, e.g. 1.Qb3? Kh5! and 1.Qb1? f5!