Some Novel Chess Problems
Who moved last?
I love designing retrograde analysis chess problems. 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 boy, 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, which at that age I completely failed to
understand. So, stuck between the too-easy and the
over-difficult, 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 retro composition. I was hooked!
These days, like many in the retro field, I have been swept away by enthusiasm for Proof Games - the Rubik's cube of retro chess.
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:
But I am still intermittently very busy, so I don't get a chance to update the site as often as I'd like. Apologies for that.