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MatPlus.Net Forum General Books
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(1) Posted by Darko Šaljić [Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 16:40]


What is your favorite book of chess problems?
I recently read a book by Alan White on Loyd and realized it was probably the best so far.
This topic I start with the desire not to miss anything else that is must-read!
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(2) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 17:29]

The gentleman whom I think I met in Belgrade last year(?) will receive a lot of replies that name Milan's encyclopedia as their favorite book, undoubtedly - not only out of courtesy to our late beloved friend, but also since indeed it is a milestone that - while not introducing anything new - sums up the knowledge that was collected until now in encyclopedic form, a masterfully crafted coproduction with Kari Valtonen, and quite probably the magnum opus of both (future editions notwithstanding).

However, let me introduce a few other books that might not be the best but are a colorful symposium of chess composition literature.

Martin Minski, Michael Schlosser: ASymmetrie (2013, many genres)
The book is about ASymmetry problems and studies, i.e. those with a symmetrical position but asymmetrical solution.

Tim Krabbé: Schach-Besonderheiten (two issues, 1986?, mainly studies and games)
The book is about curiosities, and it was translated from the original Dutch into German.

Dr. Hans Hilmar Staudte, Milu Milescu: Das 1x1 des Endspiels (2nd edition 1964?, studies and games)
The German book is a reading book that keeps its interest throughout the whole lecture. It is highly entertaining and interesting and only at two points gets too analytical. However, the 3rd edition is to be avoided, since the Beyer Verlag introduced a number of mistakes not present in the 2nd edition of De Gruyter.

Miroslav Vanka, Michal Dragoun: Jak a proč (2008, many genres)
This is a nice book but due to the Czech language I am unable to understand the text. :-)
It however seems aimed to introduce people to solving, and would be quite nice for that.

John Nunn: Solving in Style (2002?, many genres)
The same goes for this book, only it is in English.

Jonathan Levitt, David Friedgood: Secrets of Spectacular Chess (2nd edition, 2008, orthodox genres)
The book tries to evaluate what beauty in chess composition means, introducing an own measurement system that however still is subjective. It is based on Geometry, Flow, Paradox and Depth.
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(3) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 19:32]; edited by seetharaman kalyan [14-01-12]

While Milan's encyclopedia is an excellent book, it is more of a reference book like the thoroughly researched collections "Domination in 2545 Ending studies" and "Cyclone" books.
For reading the following are my recommendations, as they contain lot of comments and authors' views in addition to the wonderful problems.

Caissa's Fairy tales of T.R.Dawson (one of the books in the collection "Five classics of Fairy Chess" )
R.C.O. Mathew's collection "Mostly three movers"
Collection of Whyatt's problems
Chess by Milan (the other Milan !) -- beautiful book about his life, games & problems.
Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes by Raymond Smyllian.
C.J.Feather's book on helpmates
Collected problems of Touw Hian Bwee (published by our Milan !)

The last two are now available free online. The first four are sadly out of print.
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(4) Posted by Darko Šaljić [Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 20:47]; edited by Darko Šaljić [14-01-12]

Unfortunately I have not had a chance to meet you last year, even though I had a desire, because Milan talked a lot about you as his friend.
Maybe we'll see this year at the festival?
All titles seem interesting to me and for most did not even know that they are published-
I read "Asymmetry" by Dawson&Pauly and wish to see a modern look to a subject.
Last two I will try to get immediately!

Most of these titles I've read, but I especially thank you for included "A Collection of Chess Problems by Touw Hian Bwee"
what is my favorite book in the library. The reason for this is not only that it is indeed an excellent book about one of the best problemist of all the times, but it reminds me on pleasure to work on it with Milan, Tow Hian and Michael.
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(5) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 21:34]

Don't even have to think about that one.
The book that fixed my fetish (no, not THAT kind of
fetish, I mean 2# fetish :-) was Vollenweiders
Schiffmann book.
In contrast, Speckmanns works on "Neudeutsch"
(especially "Das logische Schachproblem") DID
make a big impression, but it wasn't lasting.

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(6) Posted by Darko Šaljić [Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 21:43]; edited by Darko Šaljić [14-01-12]

Yes, Marjan told me lot about that revolutionary book about Schiffmann.
He even published recenly a problem from it in our newspaper POLITIKA.
It was a masterpiece by Schiffman descovered by Odette.
I will ask Marjan to lend me a book, I must read it.
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(7) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 22:19]

@Seetharaman. Most of the book about Bill Whyatt can be downloaded from here:

I think some hard copies may still be available from the author, Bob Meadley, 41 Fifth Avenue, Narromine NSW 2821, Australia.
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(8) Posted by Eugene Rosner [Monday, Jan 13, 2014 03:20]

two stand out for me:
Chess problems:Introduction to an art(Lipton, Matthews Rice)
Adventures in Composition(Mansfield)

The first is both an encyclopedia and a problem book which describes all its problems with tremendous clarity and perspective. It will never have the quality of being dated.

The second, to this day, may be the finest book on how a composer actually composes a problem start to finish. Mansfield goes through every step-completely! Nothing is left to mind, and no composer/author has come close to doing this task with such clarity before or since. Brian Harley comes close in the composing chapter in his Mate in 2.
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(9) Posted by Juraj Lörinc [Monday, Jan 13, 2014 21:54]; edited by Juraj Lörinc [14-01-13]

Although there are nowadays many substandard chess composition books available, for a long time majority of books I came across were of excellent quality. I simply cannot point one "the best", rather I will list a few of my favourites just like some previous people have done.

"Abeceda sachoveho problemu" by a few Czechoslovak composers - my first book of chess problems explaining quite a lot, including fairies.

"Grossmejster shakhmatnoj kompozicii" - selection of Lev Loshinsky problems with additional and comparison problems included with solutions.

"Presledovanie temy" by Valentin Rudenko - both explanatory text and high concentration of high quality orthodox problems.

"Mezi sachovnici a pocitacem" by Vaclav Kotesovec - the book collecting works of Vaclav Kotesovec in wide set of genres and thematical ideas, including complicated fairy twomovers and long helpmates with fairy pieces, as well as manual to his own solving and composing program VKS

"Black to play" by Chris Feather - monography on orthodox helpmates, it should be now freely available, I think on JF's site.

"Cyclone" by Peter Gvozdjak - very deeply researched and prepared monography on the subject of themes popular among Slovak composers, including myself.

"Mostly threemovers" by RCO Matthews - already before reading this I was hooked by richness of threemover genre, one of the main reasons why I compose relatively many fairy threemovers.

I could include more as there are also other books I have read very attentively and which have given me a lot, but I do not want to bore you to death with a list. But perhaps it might be surprising that even such dedicated fairy composer as myself is so much absorbed by orthodox works (of others).

P.S. Also one small shameless self-advertisement, as I have tried too to tackle the difficult task of explaining the process of composing modern #2:
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(10) Posted by Darko Šaljić [Monday, Jan 13, 2014 22:02]

Great choice, as Eugens!
And I'm not surprised, we're all in love in the same art, and inspiration can be found in any genre.
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(11) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 10:45]; edited by seetharaman kalyan [14-01-14]


Nice selection. Happy to see that you like three of the books I cited.

I have the Loshinski and Rudenko books. But unfortunately cannot enjoy them due to inability to read them. If somebody can translate it I am prepared to buy at a good price !!


Yes. the books by J.M.Rice were the inspiration to chess problems to many of us Indian composers. The book "Chess Problems Introduction to an art" is still a good read, sadly outdated as it is in English notation. The other two are also worth having. "Two move Chess problem, tradition and development (Barnes, Rice and Lipton), is an excellent introduction to the two movers. The revised & updated "The new ABC of Chess problems by Rice" is a mini encyclopedia.
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(12) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 20:07]

The Loshinski is a great favorite, due to the quantity and variety of great problems. I don't understand russian, and the quality of the paper is (very) low. I spent many hours with this book.
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(13) Posted by Marjan Kovačević [Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 23:04]

Jacques, without reading the text of Loshinsky book you were deprived of a great deal of pleasure one could find in it. As if you sow only the solution of a multiphase problem.
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(14) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 08:19]

What can I do ?
Perhaps once somebody will translate it ?
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(15) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 09:55]

Yes... Will somebody translate it someday ? :((
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(16) Posted by Steffen Slumstrup Nielsen [Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 10:33]

I would love to read more in the style of Juraj's "Composing the two-mover". If somebody were to write a book about the composing process, written in that instructive style, and dealing with different genres, I would buy it twice. For now all other genres than studies remain quite a mystery to me.

Thanks for all the tips,
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(17) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 14:47]

״ For now all other genres than studies remain quite a mystery to me.״
To me too...
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(18) Posted by Neal Turner [Thursday, Jan 16, 2014 18:23]; edited by Neal Turner [14-01-16]

Of course all the above are excellent, I'll just add:

- A marvellous collection from the master of the logical school.

"Das Matt des weißen Königs"
- Friedrich Chlubna's wonderful introduction to selfmates.

"NeverEnding (Volume B)" by Harrie Grondijs
- An exploration of the world of endgame studies results in what is probably the most extraordinary chess book ever written.

Re The Composing Process:
My own method is to play around with the pieces on the board in the hope that something interesting turns up.
I hope this is helpful.
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(19) Posted by seetharaman kalyan [Thursday, Jan 16, 2014 19:10]

<<<<Re The Composing Process:
My own method is to play around with the pieces on the board in the hope that something interesting turns up.
I hope this is helpful.>>>

Very helpful :)
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(20) Posted by Sven Hendrik Lossin [Friday, Jan 17, 2014 09:26]

"Re The Composing Process:
My own method is to play around with the pieces on the board in the hope that something interesting turns up.
I hope this is helpful."

I think you need a starting point for that. Earlier on I put the two kings on the board and thought about what can be done then (this works more or less good with selfmate composition). Nowadays I take some selfmate that appeals to me and try to "turn the board by 45°" so that everything that was going on on lines and rows is now happening on diagonals and vice cersa. In ten to twenty percent I find a match in fifty to sixty percent I find something different and the rest lands in the waste bin.
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Books