Ian Shanahan materials

17 Mar. 2022 | by Peter Wong

Thanks to Andrew Buchanan and Geoff Foster who informed me that Ian Shanahan, who passed away in August last year, had uploaded a great deal of his chess materials to the e-document site, Scribd. These materials include e-books and articles on chess problems written by Ian, all produced at his usual high standard. Since Scribd requires users to sign up before downloading any files (it’s a subscription-based service, free for the first month), I have made a selection of Ian’s documents to be more easily accessible from the Oz Archives section of this site.

The most notable of these documents is an updated version of Chess Problems by Dr. Ian Shanahan (2017), which includes a short Introduction not seen in the first edition, as well as six additional problems. Back in 1995, Ian collaborated with Arthur Willmott to produce Series-movers by Australian Problemists, which appears to be a preliminary version of a comprehensive anthology. Ian was an authority on a number of orthodox two-move themes, especially the Fleck and combinative separation, and he wrote a series of articles on these topics for The Problemist. His expertise on the diverse area of fairy chess was such that he was brought in to judge the Fairies section of The Problemist in 1995 – Ian’s Award for this tourney is also available.


Two-move themes

Fairy chess

Here is a link to the Scribd site listing all files uploaded by Ian, the majority of which concerns his music work. Among the chess materials that I have not included here (because they are quite specialised) are Ian’s email correspondence with other problemists.

Ian Shanahan
Springaren 2016

Mate in 2

Diagrammed above is a charming two-mover that was added to the new edition of Chess Problems by Dr. Ian Shanahan. It demonstrates the idea of mate transference very clearly. Two prominent defences by the b6-pawn are given set mates in the initial position: 1…bxa5 2.Sc5 and 1…b5 2.Qd6; the former variation shows a self-block on a5 that enables the white knight to interfere with the g5-rook. Solvers may be surprised by the key 1.Bxb6!, which removes this black pawn besides sacrificing the bishop to three units. The threat of 2.Qxa7 is first met by 1…Sb5. This self-blocking defence on b5 brings back the self-interference mate 2.Sc5 that was previously effective against 1…bxa5. Another mate transference occurs after 1…Kxb6, when 2.Qd6 replicates the set response to 1…b5. Two other captures of the key-piece round off this fine Meredith: 1…axb6 2.Qa8 and 1…Rxb6 2.Ra5.