Solutions for Motley Proof Games

{A} 1. h4 g5 2. hxg5 Nf6 3. Rh6 Bxh6 4. gxf6 Be3 5. f4 Bxg1 6. fxe7 Be3 7. dxe3 b5 8. Bd2 b4 9. Bc3 b3 10. axb3 c5 11. Rxa7 c4 12. bxc4 d5 13. cxd5 Be6 14. dxe6 Qd3 15. Rd7 Ra4 16. cxd3 Re4 17. dxe4 Nc6 18. Qd6 Ne5 19. fxe5. (C+ Euclide 0.91)

The challenge to produce a dual-free PG with 6 pawns in a column was submitted by Nicolas Dupont, April 2002. The nit in mine is 3. ... Bxh6 - a non-thematic capture. Nicolas later derived a position where there are no extraneous captures: all 11 captures were by White pawns to bring them to the e-file. This was the moment I realized Nicolas was improving by leaps and bounds as a PG composer...

A composition might theoretically be possible with only 9 pawn captures.

{B} 1. e4 a6 2. Bxa6 Nf6 3. Bxb7 Rxa2 4. c4 Rxb2 5. Nc3 Rxd2 6. Ba3 Rxf2 7. Bxe7 Bxe7 8. Ne2 0-0 9. Qxd7 g6 10. Qxc8 Qd6 11. Qxc7 Qxh2 12. 0-0-0 Qxg2 13. Rxh7 Cd7 14. Rxf7. (C+ Euclide 0.91)

Noam Elkies made a challenge (still outstanding as of May 2002) to find the minimal PG where all 32 pieces moved (with or without captures). Eric Angelini claimed a PG in 14.5 moves where all surviving units moved. Some massacre positions are examples of the Angelini concept.

The example given here is provably minimal for the Angelini challenge. 32 units must move or be captured. Each use of castling takes care of two units at a stroke. Also, an unmoved rook or queen may move to capture an opposing unmoved unit on the same column, if the pawn immediately in front has moved. However this can only be done in one direction for each column. Thus at least 27 moves are required. The example here shows this bound is attainable.

{C} 1. d4 h5 2. d5 Rh6 3. d6 Re6 4. dxc7 f6 5. Qxd7 Kf7 6. Qxc8 Re4 7. Qg4 hxg4 8. c8=Q Kg6 9. Qd7 Kh5 10. Qd1 Qxd1 (C+ Euclide 0.91)

The Champagne Tourney is a retrograde analysis side-event at the World Congress of Chess Composition which took place at Moscow July 2003. Electronic submissions were allowed. The theme was: "Proof Game with capture of Anti-Pronkin piece".

> Thematic capture doesn't necessarily occurs on promotion square.
> Anti-Pronkin = an original piece goes to the promoting square of a captured promoted piece.
> Promoted and original piece are of the same kind.
> (Pronkin = a promoted piece goes to the original square of a captured original piece).

I think there is some ambiguity in the specification. For Pronkin, does the original unit have to have been captured before the promoted unit reaches the square? And for Anti-Pronkin, does the promoted unit have to have been captured before the original unit reaches that square? If the answer to both is "yes", as the specification might be trying to hint, then it's impossible to combine both Pronkin & Anti-Pronkin in the same composition, which would obviously be nice.

And does the pawn have to be promoted when the original piece moves to what will become the promoting square? Again who knows. The busy Michel Caillaud had not responded yet to a mail on this matter. And given that the tourney is already judged, I was not optimistic!

My composition combines Pronkin & Anti-Pronkin (together with Phoenix, which often comes for free, and which definitely is order-dependent) in a very short setting. Thematic moves are:

6. Qxc8 Anti-Pronkin: original piece goes to what will become the promoting square.
7... hxg4 Pronkin: original piece is captured.
8. c8=Q Pawn promotes on the promoting square.
10. Qd1 Pronkin: promoted piece goes to the original square of the captured original piece.
10... Qxd1 Anti-Pronkin: promoted piece is captured.

The motivation for the Anti-Pronkin is quite crude (square clearance) and I prefer not to have PG positions which are check without mate (although there's really no reason for this). However it does achieve the goal.

This composition is dedicated to a friend far away, Julius Livanus.

It turned out that there were some email issues, and Michel had not had a chance to see some entries including mine prior to the submission date. He judged them anyway later. I can't help but feel that the level of award is perhaps a bit generous... some kind of consolation. But who complains at a Special Honourable Mention from Michel Caillaud? :-)

{D} The task is to find PGs where a promoted piece leaves and returns to the promotion square ("Donati" theme). The piece may or may not be captured. Donati thematic moves are underlined.

1. d4 e6 2. d5 Bc5 3. d6 Nh6 4. Qd5 0-0 5. Qc6 dxc6 6. d7 Qf6 7. d8=Q Bd7 8. Qe7 Rc8 9. Qd8+ Be8 10. Qd6. (C+ Euclide 0.91)

Donati + Phoenix, minimal moves (8.5) with minimal number of captures (=1), tempo.

The idea behind this problem was to present a Donati promotion with a minimum number of total captures. This is achieved by move 8.5, which is the shortest possible without an obtrusive promotion. Then I thought it would be nice to move the Donati piece away from the key square again to a different square, especially so I am not checking any more.

There were some stupendous prize winning problems at this tourney though. All the world's top PG composers seemed to compete.

{E} 1.e3 d6 2.Bb5 Qd7 3.Ne2 Qxb5 4.O-O Qxe2 5.f3 Qxd1 6.Kf2 Qxc1 7.Rh1 Qe1+ 8.Kxe1

I am pretty sure that this is the fastest one can uncastle a king in a PG.

{F} 1.h4 a5 2.h5 a4 3.Rh4 a3 4.Ra4 c6 5.Rxa8 Qa5 6.Ra6 Kd8 7.Rb6 Ke5 8.Rb4 Kd6 9.Rh4 Ke5 10.g4 Kf4 11.f3 Kg3 12.Nh3 Kh2 13.Nf2+ Kg1 14.Rh8#

Sometimes the pieces just move around like they are on wires. This was one of those lucky occasions.

This composition addresses the Dupont-Reytsen theme. The idea is that a piece captures a similar on the victim's start square, then returns to its own home square to mate.


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