Last month, in Problem Album, Colin Russ presented three chess problems composed by Cedric Lytton, the recently-elected President of the British Chess Problem Society (BCPS). Cedric has been an active composer for over fifty years and for many years was the sub-editor of the section for unorthodox compositions (so-called Fairy Chess) in the BCPS’s magazine The Problemist. He is still contributing to that magazine, as the sub-editor of a section for problems featuring retro-analysis, in which the solver has normally to deduce the play that has led up to the diagram position.
Although Cedric has in recent years worked mainly within his favourite unorthodox field, he has been a very versatile composer for much of his long career and studies have not escaped his attention. Our first study is one of his that won a first prize in 1970.
1st Prize, The Problemist, 1970
White to play and win
White is material up, but Black has a dangerous pawn on g2, which the white king on his own cannot cope with. 1.Na6+ Kb7 2.Rb2+ Kxa6 3.Bb5+ Going after the pawn only draws, but only if Black can restrain himself from promoting with check and White can restrain himself from capturing the cornered knight - 3.Bh3? a3! (3...g1Q+? 4.Bf1+ Ka5 5.Rb5+ Ka6 6.Rg5+ 1-0) 4.Bxg2 axb2 5.Be4 Kb5 6.Kf1 a5 7.Kg2 Kc4 8.Bb1 Kb3 9.h4 a4 10.h5 a3 11.h6 a2 12.Bxa2+ Kxa2 13.h7 b1Q 14.h8Q = 3...Ka5 3...Kb6? 4.Bf1+ 1-0 4.Bf1! a3 4...g1Q? 5.Rb5+ Ka6 6.Rg5+ 1-0 5.Rb5+ Ka4 6.Bxg2 White has dealt with the g2 pawn, but now Black's forward a-pawn looms large. 6...a2 6...Kxb5 7.Bd5 Kc5 8.Bf7 1-0 7.Bc6! Setting up the winning cross-check. 7...a1Q+ 8.Rb1+ 1–0
Our study for solving is one that very nearly made it to the final cut for the World Chess Solving Championship in Rio de Janeiro this year, and would have done if it hadn’t been for the careful checking of director Axel Steinbrink, who, at the last possible moment, discovered that it had been set in an Open Solving tournament in Wageningen in 2006.
1st Comm., Kaiev MT, 1990-1991
White to play and win
1.Rg1 Nf1 2.Rg8+ Ke7 3.Bh5 (3.Bg6? Kf6 4.Re8 Kxg6 5.Rxe2 Kg5 =) 3...Ng3 4.Re8+ Kd7 5.Bg6 (5.Bf7? Nf5 =) 5...Nf5 6.Re5 Kd6 7.Re4 Ng3 8.Re8 (8.Re3? Kd5 9.Re8 Kd4 10.Kb4 Ne4 11.Rxe4+ Kd3 12.Re8+ Kd2 =) and wins, since Black cannot stop 9.Bd3, winning the pawn.
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