‘Chess Problems by Dr. Ian Shanahan’ and other updates

5 May 2016 | by Peter Wong

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 May 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 Problem History section of this site or here: Manuscripts in the M.V. Anderson Chess Collection.