Guided Chess Problem Composing Competition 2016

25 Nov. 2015 | by Peter Wong

The 2016 Australian Junior Chess Championships, to be held in January at the city of Adelaide, will include a problem composing event. This Guided Chess Problem Composing Competition, organised by Nigel Nettheim, is aimed at introducing chess players and problem solvers to the basics of constructing a problem. Similar to the previous year’s event, the contest is conducted online with a questions paper that entrants can download and work on at home. Everyone can take part in this open competition, regardless of age, locality, and experience, though it’s especially suitable for those who have not composed before. Book and other prizes will be awarded, and possibly divided according to the categories of contestants (depending on the entries).

I have set the paper’s four tasks, which require participants to complete or correct an existing mate-in-two problem. Plenty of clues are provided with the questions, hence the “guided” aspect of the competition. The tasks have been made considerably easier than those in the previous paper, in response to the feedback we have received. There is a slight increase in difficulty over the course of the paper, but solvers are encouraged to take part even if they don’t answer all of the questions. Further, the paper includes Nigel’s ‘A Quick Introduction to Chess Problem Composition’, an article containing great advice that will help readers to tackle the tasks.

Here’s a link to access the paper: GCPCC 2016. The closing date for entries is the 7th of February, 2016. More information is available on the Guided Problem Composing page on the Australian Junior Chess Championships site [no longer available]. Below is the second task from the paper, given here in an abbreviated form.

Mate in 2 (unsound)

In this mate-in-two problem, we seem to have these set variations if Black were to play: 1…S3~ 2.Sf5 and 1…S5~ 2.Sf3. When White begins, the intended key 1.Kd1 aims to preserve the set play while avoiding checks by the black knights. However, the problem actually has no solution because 1.Kd1 is defeated by a particular black move. What is this spoiling black defence? Modify the position so that the key 1.Kd1 does solve the problem and leads to the above knight variations. You can add or remove pieces as required, or shift existing pieces to other squares. Various sound settings are possible – try to find the most economical position.