Some Novel Chess Problems

Dead Reckoning is official!
In the World Federation of Chess Composition Meeting in Ostróda 2015, it was voted to add Article 17A to the Codex for Chess Composition. Dead Reckoning (DR) had been controversial since its inception in 2001. The new convention removes this controversy by aligning DR cleanly with the 50 Move Rule (Article 17). A few non-retro DR compositions are negatively impacted, but almost all DR problems are retros, so broadly it's a big endorsement of DR. And composers of regular studies, helpstalemates, selfstalemates etc no long have to worry about their work being occasionally broken by DR. I am very grateful to the wonderful chess composition community for welcoming this trouble-making "independent spirit" to their fold. Thanks for reading.
Andrew Buchanan

Over the last few years, I've chosen to spend chess time helping to maintain the content of the community's PDB Chess Problem Database, rather than updating my own chess website here. PDB is a free, easy-to-use "golden source" of over 360,000 compositions, vital for composers seeking inspiration, or wanting to survey prior art. However, I am gradually maintaining and extending the articles and compositions on my own website over time. Thanks for reading.
Andrew Buchanan

The simplest example of dead reckoning
Who moved last?

Around 2001, I discovered that I love designing retrograde analysis chess problems ("retros"). These are problems where you have to apply detective work to figure out what happened in the history of the game. I don't know why I like them - they are just so neat.

When I was a young one, I enjoyed Raymond Smullyan's "The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes" but the problems are "elementary" :-), and it lacks a bibliography. At some point around that time, I met the friendly endgame specialist A.J.Roycroft, who sent me a chess problem magazine, containing one very hard retro problem by Nikita Plaksin (based on the 50 move rule, I recall), which at that age I completely failed to comprehend. So, stuck between the too-easy and the too-hard, I put the subject down.

Thirty years on, I stumbled across the curious idea that became "Dead Reckoning", and corresponded with Noam Elkies, who was encouraging, and introduced me to the world of chess problem composition. I was hooked!

Dead Reckoning
- (start here) DR Tutorial
- (then read this one) "StrateGems" Article
- Apparently controversial h=1 cycle
- "The Problemist" Article
- French DR problems
- A published DR problem
- Another published DR problem
- DR by Insufficient Material
- DR by Stalemate
- DR by Blocked Position
- International Arbiter rules: "DR is OK!"
- Solutions page for published DR problems
- Quick Answers
- Open Challenges

Over time, I broadened my composition interest to other areas of composition, particularly proof games and helpmates. I retain a fascination for quirky interactions of the rules and conventions.

Here are some proofgames:

Proof Games
- "At Home" (Homebase) PGs
- Belfort Champagne PGs
- Paradoxical PGs
- Drawn PGs
- Proof Game "Oddities"
- Infinite A→B Proof Game
- and Various Other Motley PGs

There are also a few easy helpmates, many of which have a retro flavour:

- Parity Helpmates
- Adding Units to Helpmates
- and Various Other Motley Helpmates

The state of the art of various records:

Some Retro Records
- Last Move Length Records
- Type A retro puzzles
- Type B retro puzzles
- Type C retro puzzles
- Type D retro puzzles
- Type F retro puzzles

And other even weirder chess problems:

Other Neat Chess Problem Topics
- Endgames to Make Your Head Hurt
- Seriesmover
- Quantum Logic in Chess (by others)

Thanks to all the chess problem community for support and encouragement. The Links Page is here. Any comments, corrections, new problems or suggestions, please email me - I do respond.

Andrew Buchanan
Site launched: 23-Jan-01
Last updated: