Thomas Rayner Dawson

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Thomas Rayner Dawson
DawsonThomasRayner.jpg
BornThomas Rayner Dawson
(1889-11-28)28 November 1889
Leeds, England
Died 16 December 1951(1951-12-16) (aged 62)
Surrey, England
Known for Chess problem compositions
Fairy chess

Thomas Rayner Dawson (28 November 1889 – 16 December 1951) was an English chess problemist and is acknowledged as "the father of Fairy Chess". [1] He invented many fairy pieces and new conditions. He introduced the popular fairy pieces grasshopper, nightrider, and many other fairy chess ideas.

A chess problem, also called a chess composition, is a puzzle set by the composer using chess pieces on a chess board, which presents the solver with a particular task. For instance, a position may be given with the instruction that White is to move first, and checkmate Black in two moves against any possible defence. A chess problem fundamentally differs from over-the-board play in that the latter involves a struggle between black and white, whereas the former involves a competition between the composer and the solver. Most positions which occur in a chess problem are 'unrealistic' in the sense that they are very unlikely to occur in over-the-board play. There is a good deal of specialized jargon used in connection with chess problems; see glossary of chess problems for a list.

A fairy chess piece, variant chess piece, unorthodox chess piece, or heterodox chess piece is a chess piece not used in conventional chess but incorporated into certain chess variants and some chess problems. Fairy pieces vary in the way they move. Because of the distributed and uncoordinated nature of unorthodox chess development, the same piece can have different names, and different pieces the same name in various contexts. Almost all are usually symbolised as inverted or rotated icons of the standard pieces in diagrams, and the meanings of these "wildcards" must be defined in each context separately. Pieces invented for use in chess variants rather than problems sometimes instead have special icons designed for them, but with some exceptions, many of these are not used beyond the individual games they were invented for.

The grasshopper is a fairy chess piece that moves along ranks, files, and diagonals but only by hopping over another piece at any distance to the square immediately closest. If there is no piece to hop over, it cannot move. If the square beyond a piece is occupied by a piece of the opposite color, the grasshopper can capture that piece. The grasshopper may jump over pieces of either color; the piece being jumped over is unaffected.

Contents

Career

Dawson published his first problem, a two-mover, in 1907. His chess problem compositions include 5,320 fairies, 885 directmates , 97 selfmates, and 138 endings. 120 of his problems have been awarded prizes and 211 honourably mentioned or otherwise commended. He cooperated in chess composition with Charles Masson Fox.

A selfmate is a chess problem in which White, moving first, must force Black to deliver checkmate within a specified number of moves against his will. Selfmates were once known as sui-mates.

In the game of chess, an endgame study, or just study, is a composed position—that is, one that has been made up rather than one from an actual game—presented as a sort of puzzle, in which the aim of the solver is to find the essentially unique way for one side to win or draw, as stipulated, against any moves the other side plays. There is no limit to the number of moves which are allowed to achieve the win; this distinguishes studies from the genre of direct mate problems. Such problems also differ qualitatively from the very common genre of tactical puzzles based around the middlegame, often based on an actual game, where a decisive tactic must be found.

Charles Masson Fox British chess player

Charles Masson Fox was a Cornish businessman who achieved international prominence in the world of chess problems and a place in the gay history of Edwardian England.

Dawson was founder-editor (1922–1931) of The Problemist , the journal of the British Chess Problem Society. He subsequently produced The Fairy Chess Review (1930–1951), which began as The Problemist Fairy Chess Supplement. At the same time he edited the problem pages of The British Chess Magazine (1931–1951).

The Problemist is a bimonthly chess problem magazine which has been in publication since January 1926. It originally had the subtitle "Proceedings of the British Chess Problem Society" but the words "Proceedings of" were dropped in January 1985.

The British Chess Problem Society is considered the oldest chess problem society in the world.

Fairy Chess Review was a magazine that was devoted principally to fairy chess problems but also included extensive original results on related questions in mathematical recreations such as knight's tours and polyominos as well as much else, such as chess-related word puzzles. It appeared six times per year and nine volumes were published, from 1930 to 1958.

Motivation and personality

From The Oxford Companion to Chess :

His genius did not set him apart from his fellows; he could find time for casual visitors, and would explain his ideas to a tyro with patience, modesty, and kindness. Although he won many tourney prizes much of his work was designed to encourage others, to enlarge the small band of fairy problem devotees. He composed less for fame than to amuse himself, confessing to another composer "We do these things for ourselves alone." [2]

Sample problems

Fairy Chess Review, 1947
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
Chess nlt45.svg
Chess pdt45.svg
Chess kdt45.svg
Chess klt45.svg
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Series-helpmate in 17 moves
Black makes 17 moves, then White makes a move, delivering checkmate.


Solution:1. Ka2 2. Ka3 3. Kb4 4. Kc3 5. Kd3 6. Ke2 7. Ke1 8. f1R 9. Rf2 10. Ke2 11. Kd3 12. Kc3 13. Kb4 14. Ka3 15. Ka2 16. Ka1 17. Ra2 Nb3#

Onitiu, Petrović, Dawson & Fox
1st Pr. Kniest TT. 1930, FIDE Album 1914–44/III
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
Chess gdt45.svg
Chess gdt45.svg
Chess pdt45.svg
Chess gdt45.svg
Chess kdt45.svg
Chess klt45.svg
Chess glt45.svg
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Mate in 8
Grasshoppers are on a8, f7, h2, and h1.



This problem is a strange case of incidence: thematic tourney prescript problems with grasshoppers without limiting number of the moves. The identical problem was sent independently by four composers. [3]

Solution:1. Gh3 Gh4 2. Gh5 Gh6 3. Gh7 Gh8 4. Ge7 Gd7 5. Gc7 Gb7 6. Ga7+ Ga6 7. Ga5+ Ga4 8. Ga3#

Publications

The last five titles were collected as Five Classics of Fairy Chess, Dover Publications (1973), ISBN   978-0-486-22910-2.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Related Research Articles

Grid chess

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Helpmate

A helpmate is a type of chess problem in which both sides cooperate in order to achieve the goal of checkmating Black. In a helpmate in n moves, Black moves first, then White, each side moving n times, to culminate in White's nth move checkmating Black. Although the two sides cooperate, all moves must be legal according to the rules of chess.

Lucena position

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Checkmate winning game position in chess

Checkmate is a game position in chess and other chess-like games in which a player's king is in check and there is no way to remove the threat. Checkmating the opponent wins the game.

In chess problems, retrograde analysis is a technique employed to determine which moves were played leading up to a given position. While this technique is rarely needed for solving ordinary chess problems, there is a whole subgenre of chess problems in which it is an important part; such problems are known as retros.

Caïssa

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Triangulation is a tactic used in chess to put one's opponent in zugzwang. Triangulation is also called losing a tempo or losing a move.

The chess endgame with a king and a pawn versus a king is one of the most important and fundamental endgames, other than the basic checkmates. It is important to master this endgame, since most other endgames have the potential of reducing to this type of endgame via exchanges of pieces. It is important to be able to tell quickly whether a given position is a win or a draw, and to know the technique for playing it. The crux of this endgame is whether or not the pawn can be promoted, so checkmate can be forced.

Bishop and knight checkmate chess endgame with a king, bishop, and knight against a lone king, which can almost always be checkmated with perfect play in at most 33 moves

The bishop and knight checkmate in chess is the checkmate of a lone king which can be forced by a bishop, knight, and king. With the stronger side to move and with perfect play, checkmate can be forced in at most thirty-three moves from any starting position where the defender cannot quickly win one of the pieces. The exceptions occur when (1) the defending king may be forking the bishop and knight so that one of them is lost on the next move, or (2) the knight may be trapped in a corner by the defending king and the knight is lost in one or two moves, and the position is not in the "stalemate trap". These exceptions constitute about 0.5% of the positions. Checkmates are possible with the defending king on any square at the edge of the board, but can be forced only from positions with different material or if the defending king is in a corner controlled by the bishop or on a square on the edge next to a corner, but mate adjacent to the corners not controlled by the bishop is only two moves deep, so is not generally encountered unless the defending side plays inaccurately. Although this is classified as one of the four basic or elementary checkmates, it occurs in practice approximately only once in every 6,000 games.

Joke chess problems are puzzles in chess that use humor as a primary or secondary element. Although most chess problems, like other creative forms, are appreciated for serious artistic themes, joke chess problems are enjoyed for some twist. In some cases the composer plays a trick to prevent a solver from succeeding with typical analysis. In other cases, the humor derives from an unusual final position. Unlike in ordinary chess puzzles, joke problems can involve a solution which violates the inner logic or rules of the game.

Seriesmover

A seriesmover is a chess problem in which one side makes a series of legal moves without reply at the end of which the other side makes a single move, giving checkmate or yielding stalemate, depending on the precise stipulation. Checks cannot be given except on the last move of the series. There are various types of seriesmover:

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In chess, particularly in endgames, a key square is a square such that if a player's king can occupy it, he can force some gain such as the promotion of a pawn or the capture of an opponent's pawn. Key squares are useful mostly in endgames involving only kings and pawns. In the king and pawn versus king endgame, the key squares depend on the position of the pawn and are easy to determine. Some more complex positions have easily determined key squares while other positions have harder-to-determine key squares. Some positions have key squares for both White and Black.

Valerian Onițiu Romanian chess player

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Nightrider (chess) fairy chess piece that can move any number of steps as a knight in the same direction

A nightrider is a fairy chess piece that can move any number of steps as a knight in the same direction. The nightrider is often represented by a symbol similar to the knight's icon, but altered in a way to indicate the additional straight-line motion. In this article the nightrider is represented with an inverted knight, and notation N.

Chess on a Really Big Board is a large chess variant invented by Ralph Betza around 1996. It is played on a 16×16 chessboard with 16 pieces and 16 pawns per player. Since such a board can be constructed by pushing together four standard 8×8 boards, Betza also gave this variant the alternative names of Four Board Chess or Chess on Four Boards.

References

  1. Pritchard, D. B. (2007). Beasley, John, ed. The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. John Beasley. p. 361. ISBN   978-0-9555168-0-1.
  2. Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1987). "Dawson, Thomas Rayner". The Oxford Companion to Chess . Oxford University Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN   0-19-281986-0.
  3. Petrovič, Nenad (1949), Šahovski problem, Šahovska centrala, p. 142