Some Novel Chess Problems
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!
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:
There are also a few easy helpmates, many of which have a retro flavour:
The state of the art of various records:
And other even weirder chess problems: