The First Days

The First Days

SG's puzzle torture camp

The First Days

Newcomer liked chess as much as the next player, but he'd always hated puzzles. So, it was with a sense of relief that he discovered his first tormentor/guard, Milan, secretly believed that problems need not be so different, at least in theme and idea, compared to a real game.

To illustrate his point, he showed the following problem, composed by a distant cousin of his:

Title here

Milan Vukcevich

White moves and mates in 3
(drag mouse over black block for solution)

1.Qb3! threat Qa3# 1...Bc5
[1...Rh4 2.Bd4 Ra7 or Qa3 next; 1...Rg3 2.Bf3 Nc6 or Qa3 next; 1...Rh3 2.Be3 Ra7 or Qa3 next; 1...Rg4 2.Be4 Nc6 or Qa3 next]
2.Bb6+ Bxb6 3.Qxa3#

Kholmov - Bronstein

(drag mouse over black block for solution)

1.d7! Same type interference as in the Vukcevich problem! 1...Rxd7 Pick your poison... [1...Bxd7 2.Rg7! This works now that Ra7 is blocked.] 2.fxe6 Nxe6 3.Bxe6 Q is overloaded, so Black got desperate 3...Rd1+ 4.Rxd1 Bxe6 5.Kxb2 Rb8+ 6.Ka1 Bxa2 7.Rgd3! Black can't hold the Bishop and defend the King both 7...Qe7 8.Kxa2 Qe6+ 9.Rb3 1–0

After spending what felt like hours, but in reality was only a few minutes, Newcomer was able to solve them both, especially once he realized they shared the same theme. If anything, the problem was able to show the same theme multiple times, where the game example could only show it once. Was there hope? Was it possible that there was something of interest to him even in a desolate torture camp such as this? He kept his optimism guarded, not keen on being disappointed at such an early stage.

However, he was forced to attend classes with a portly, heavily mustached, older guard named Sam, who delighted in the perversity of the problem ideas he showed, and how UNLIKE real games they were.

Incidentally, he also shared the same first name as his favorite composer.

Title here

Sam Loyd

White mates in 14

Sam Loyd

White mates in 3

Even under penalty of going to bed without supper, and spending literally hours on the two problems, Newcomer was forced to go bed hungry for three nights straight. Damn Sam Loyd and his creations, so suited for this kind of place, he thought.

Posted to SG's puzzle torture camp

Show Comments (11)
Comments (11)

  • Posted 3110 days 18 hours and 59 minutes ago
    Standard membercraigy
    Comment removed
  • Posted 3430 days 12 hours and 1 minute ago
    Standard memberSwissGambit
    i warned you that the 3 mover was tougher ... 🙂
  • Posted 3430 days 12 hours and 40 minutes ago
    Standard memberThomaster
    Finally, I have solved the second one. I thought it took me about one hour, but it must have been much more than one-and-a-half. Much more. Three moves. 😞
  • Posted 3430 days 16 hours and 45 minutes ago
    Standard memberSwissGambit
    @ paul leggett - thanks for the kind words - I do feel a bit like Jesus in the sense that most reject my message [hate chess problems, etc.] but for those who have ears to hear, let them hear!
  • Posted 3430 days 16 hours and 47 minutes ago
    Standard memberSwissGambit
    I've always said "the length of the solution has nothing to do with its difficulty" - the Loyd problems are an excellent example. The mate in 14 is much easier to solve than the mate in 3!
  • Posted 3430 days 16 hours and 49 minutes ago
    Standard memberSwissGambit
    Thomaster has solved Loyd's #14.
  • Posted 3430 days 16 hours and 50 minutes ago
    Standard memberSwissGambit
    @Marinka - the bottom of the board is ALWAYS the first rank in my columns, unless the problem is a retro problem and you can prove otherwise. This is convention in problem-land.
  • Posted 3430 days 20 hours and 57 minutes ago
    Standard memberThomaster
    Ah, solved the first one. If I'm good enough, I will finally eat supper again. (Have lost 4 kilos already.)
  • Posted 3430 days 22 hours and 17 minutes ago
    SubscriberPaul Leggett
    I think you are taking problem-solving to a new level here- the stories are how I would imagine Jesus would have taught chess! If there is every a Red Hot Pawn award (A Pawny?), I am nominating you.
  • Posted 3431 days 1 hour and 9 minutes ago
    Standard memberThomaster
    I think the black pawn are almost promoted. Somehow, the white king must take the pawn on h4 by only stepping on black fields. Then Rxg3 #.
    All this takes only 9 moves, if only the black black bishop were on the other field (g1).
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