Thursday, January 05, 2012

The twelve puzzles of Xmas

Mann, 1912

White to play and win

[Thanks to Sean]


Anonymous said...

No-one seems to have cracked this yet, me included. It probably has to do with trapping the queen mid-board as in the Platov 1904. Something like:

1. Be5+ Kh1 2. Qf3+ Kg1 3. Bg3 Qg7+ 4. Kb1 Qd4 5. Bf4 ...

threatening 6. Be3+ and Her Maj is short of squares to run to, but she has g7 and c3 this time.

Anonymous said...

Well it's not very aesthetic, but isn't 1. Bg1+ Kh1 2. Bf2 Qh2 3. Qe4+ Qg2 4. Qe1+ Kh2 5. Qe5+ Kh1 6. Qxh8+ Qh2 7. Qxf8 winning?


Coventrian said...

7. Qxf8 winning?

Not after Qe5+ 8. Ka2 Kg3

Looking at the position I guessed that playing Ka2 as a preparatory move would be an idea to avoid a check, but when?

The winning idea is to play it after 2. Be3! Amazingly, Black is in virtual Zugzwang.

The setter Carel Mann is worth a post on his own,

Carel Mann (1871-1928) was born in Amsterdam, as the son of a butcher. He got his own butcher’s shop in Haarlem at the beginning of the twentieth century. According to an anecdote, he used to compose with meat balls on the black and white tiles of his shop. A small inheritance of his mother allowed him to stop his trade and live the life of a poor tramp. He became mentally ill, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. His illusion was a vampire, who sucked his red blood cells at night. At daytime the vampire had the image of a human being. Mann ‘recognised’ his enemy on the boat from Marseilles to Algiers and fired a revolver. Fortunately he missed. He was sentenced to receive mental treatment, and went to an institution in Ermelo. Patients were locked up inside. Outside they were chained. When he moved to Geel, his treatment became more humane. After his flight, no measures were taken. He started to compose endgame studies in Amsterdam. King chases became the main theme.

Mann’s obsession with king chases could have been based on paranoia. In the Freudian version, the naughty black man(n) is chased by the white queen and her helper to every corner of the board. Counter-play is hardly possible. On the forced way to the fatal end, an occasional quiet move underlines fate. However, fear of women was not his obsession. Some paranoia is usual for a chess player, because of the illusion that the opponent wants to hurt you. Mann illustrated the paranoia of chess.

These texts stem from:
Jan van Reek & Henk van Donk, Carel Mann, Margraten 1991.

Ilkley Chess said...

If Be3 mate on g1 can only be avoided by either Kh2 or Qh2 which loses after Qf3 Qd1 Bf4.

So after Kh2, Ka2! Then we get the threat Bf4+ Qf3 without allowing Qg7+ Qf7. If Qf7 after Ka2 then Bf4 Qh3 Be3 wins the BQ.

After trying every move, the only move that doesn't lose on the spot is b6! Can you see what he did there? Then a similar variation to Richard's takes place - makes use of vacated a1 and no Qe5+ by black at the end.

Winning main line

1.Bg1+ Kh1 2.Be3 Kh2 3.Ka2 b6 4.Bg1+ Kh1 5.Bf2 Qh2 6.Qe4+ Qg2 7.Qe1+ Kh2 8.Qe5+ Kh1 9.Qa1+ Kh2 10.Qxh8+ Qh3 11.Qxf8

ejh said... not the solution! Although it does raise the same question that we had with the 1908, of an alternative variation that doesn't look entirely unresolved. To wit, although I don't think White is winning at the end of your line, I'm not at all sure I can prove it.

We'll maybe get back to that, beginning perhaps with 11..Kg2. But as it stands, there's something rather simpler that you've not quite got!

(By the way, readers thinking 'wasn't there another comment in there earlier?' are not deluded, I'd commented to the effect that the 1910 was still unsolved, which wasn't right. I meant the 1909, which has now been solved anyway.)

Anonymous said...

Is it a coincidence then that both 1908 and 1912 were provided by Sean?!

This Anon has nothing to add to the Mann study (except that he hopes to see the real solution soon!). No, he just wants to record his thanks to EJH for another fine set of 14(!) Xmas puzzles. Roll on December 25 2012. Sixteen puzzles this time with two cooks to find, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

I believe in Campion's 3. Ka2 but we don't seem to have a pukka follow-up as yet. I'll put down some stuff to back up 3. Ka2, and see if EJH would like to drop a hint or two.

1. Bg1+ Kh2 2. Be3 Kh1 [Qh2 losing to Qf3-d1 & Bf4+, as Ilkley gave] 3. Ka2.

Now the options for Black are more limited than they appear:

3. ... Qh3 4. Qg1#;
3. ... Qf7 4. Bf4+ Kh1 5. Qh3+ Kg1 6. Be3+ curtains, per Ilkley;
3. ... Nf8-e6/g6 4. Qg1+ Kh3 5. Qh1+ wins the queen;
3. ... Nhg6 4. Qg1+ Kh3 5. Bf2 is mate unless 5. ... Qh4 6. Bxh4 [the knight blocks 5. ... Qg6];
3. ... Nf7 4. Bf4+ Kh1 5. Qf3+ Kg1 6. Bg3 is mate unless 6. ... Qh2+ 7. Bxh2 [the knight blocks 6. ... Qf7];
3. ... d2 4. er, what?

I haven't yet seen the refutation of 3. ... d2 - it seems that White needs a precise sequence of checks before Black's queen swoops in on c2 and/or Black's pawn promotes on d1.

Assuming there IS a refutation of 3. ... d2, then we can concur that 3. ... b6 is the only move and we probably need to find a cunning sequence to "triangulate" and pass the move back to Black again. Or is it even easier than that?

ejh said...

You're on the right lines.

Ilkley Chess said...

3. ...d2 loses to 4. Bf4+ Kh1 5. Qd1+ Kg2 6. Qe2 and mate whether Kh1 or h3

Ilkley Chess said...

Using Anon's triangulation idea after 3. ...b6

4. Bf4+ Kh1 5. Qf3+ Kg1 6.
Be3+ Kh2 7. Qg4

Hey Presto, the Zuzwang position returns!

Phew, that was tough. Now where's that pesky vampire?

ejh said...

Hurrah! Well done.

More details when I get home, i.e. tomorrow probably...

ejh said...

Or indeed the day after.

Thanks to Sean for finding the study, which was originally published in Wiener Schachzeitung in 912 and which appears in Kasparyan, Domination in 2545 Endgame Studies, Progress, 1980, p. 485-6.

And that finally wraps up Xmas 2011-12. Thanks again to everybody.