Anand vs. Gelfand world chess championship 2012 oldest pair of contenders since 1886

In 2012, World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand will attempt to defend his title aqainst challenger Boris Gelfand. This is a very unusual match in that both players are fairly old by World Chess Champion contender standards. I decided to see just how unusual it was, and do so with some degree of rigor. One tricky…


Nitpicking Sam Loyd – a wheel within a wheel

In August 1878 Sam Loyd published this mate in two and dedicated it to a friend of his named Wheeler: Mate in two; Black to move and mate in two; Selfmate in two; Black to move and selfmate in two While the mates appear to stand up, the problem position is not legal. White has…


Nitpicking László Polgár’s Chess: … #1071

I was reading László Polgár’s excellent book Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games and ran across #1071, White to move and mate in 2: The purported solution is… 1. ♘xf6+ ♚xf62. ♕f7# … which, indeed, works – and there is no other mate in two that I can see – so why blog this? Because there’s…


Spock’s chess games from Star Trek Ishmael

In his post “A chess problem begging for a solution”, Michael Kaplan quotes Barbara Hambly’s Star Trek novel Ishmael.  In the quoted scene, Spock (AKA Ishmael) plays a couple of chess games against a stranger – rather unusual chess games.  The problem alluded to is to determine the moves of the games given certain information….


Nitpicking Sam Loyd’s "Organ Pipes" mate in two

Sam Loyd was a wacky guy.  His legacy of puzzles is well worth digging through.  (I’d stay away from the 15/14 puzzle though.) A sprinkling of his puzzles were chess-related, and plenty of them stand up well in the greater lexicon of chess puzzles.  For example, his “Organ Pipes” mate-in-two problem is quite well known:…