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MatPlus.Net Forum Selfmates The Best Selfmate I Have Ever Seen
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(1) Posted by Milan Velimirović (+) [Monday, Nov 20, 2006 19:56]

The Best Selfmate I Have Ever Seen

It is now four decades since I was as a 14 years young kid stunned by
... and three decades since I understood :)
the following selfmate:
G. Broecker
London Chess
Fortnightly 1892
(= 6+4 )

1.Rf8! Bc6!
2.Re8! Bd5!
3.Rd8! Be4!
4.Rc8! Bf3!
5.Rh8! Be4
6.Bf3 Bd5
7.Be4 Bc6
8.Bd5 Bb7
9.Bc6 Bxc6#

I am still as fascinated by it as I was as a teenager,
as a matter of fact I don't think there is any problem
that impressed me more than this masterpiece.
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(2) Posted by Michael McDowell [Monday, Nov 20, 2006 21:42]

There's a nice summary of the content on p.131 of The Problemist November 1995 (Dawson commentating on Robert Gray's recomposition of the problem in Glasgow Herald 1932).

Does anyone know of other problems by Broecker? The only one I am aware of is this bizarre selfmate.

G.von Broecker & W.Cohn
v. Land und Meer 1889

(= 1+16 )


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(3) Posted by Harry Fougiaxis [Monday, Nov 20, 2006 22:50]

According to WinChloe, this most valuable database, the composer's name seems to be Gustav von Brocker (27-12-1854, ~1906). Few slight corrections in the s#2: the full source is Über Land und Meer and the publication date is 1899, according to WinChloe again.

Two more problems of von Brocker, both featuring en passant capture:
Gustav von Brocker
Deutsches Wochenschach 1891
(= 14+8 )


1.Qe8! waiting
1...Sg6 2.Sf4+ Sxf4 3.e4+ dxe3 e.p.#
1...Bh7 2.Sxb4+ axb4 3.c4+ dxc3,bxc3 e.p.#
Gustav von Brocker
Sonntagsblatt 1888
(= 11+11 )


1.Qb4! [2.Qxc4, 2.d4]
1...fxe4 2.d4 [3.Qf8#] cxd3,exd3 e.p.+ 3.Sxd3#
1...Kxe5 2.Qd6+ Kxe4 3.f3#

WinChloe further includes a s#11 with unknown source.
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(4) Posted by Harry Fougiaxis [Tuesday, Nov 21, 2006 01:05]

And two further examples of such precise step-by-step black & white duel, I guess at least the first one should be known to most of you.
Walter Wohlers
Die Schwalbe 1935
(= 4+3 )


1.Bg7! Rg1 2.Bf6 Rf1...
5.Bc3 Rb1 6.b3+,b4+
Friedrich Kohnlein
Münchener Neueste Nachrichten 1909 (v)
(= 3+5 )


1.Rd7! Bg6 2.Rd6 Bf5 3.Rd5 Be4 4.Rd4 Bf5
5.Be4 Bxe4 6.Rxe4 Kb1 7.Rc4 Ka1 8.Rc1#

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(5) Posted by Harry Fougiaxis [Tuesday, Nov 21, 2006 22:18]; edited by Harry Fougiaxis [06-11-21]

And something for the fairy chess fans, a very amusing chase of the rose by the knight along the pin-line.
Kjell Widlert
Andernach 1987
1-3 Prize
(= 5+14 )


= Rose
PWC (Platzwechsel Circe) : the unit that makes a capture and the captured unit exchange their places.
Rose : moves like a Nightrider but on a circular path, e.g. a1-b3-d4-f3-g1, or a1-c2-d4-c6-a7

The black Sb2 is pinned by the ROd1. 1.ROxb2(Sd1)+ does not obviously work, since the knight captures (1...cxb2(ROc3)?? is illegal, being self-check). So, 1.ROf2! with the threat 2.ROxb2(Sf2)#. The rose cannot play immediately to g4 (or further along the circular line), since Black simply plays 1...f2! The only option for Black is to move his knight closer, 1...Sd1. Now, White should continue with 2.ROg4 (threat 3.ROxd1(Sg4)#). If it plays further, Black again defends with 1...f2, but with the rose on g4, this is helpless (the rose can still reach d1 via e3!). As before, 2...Sf2 followed by 3.ROf6 [4.ROxf2(Sf6)#] only, so that Black cannot utilise the defense 3...g4 (the rose can still reach f2 via e4). The rest is quite straightforward : 3...Sg4 4.ROd7 [5.ROxg4(Sd7)+ f2 6.ROxf2(g4),ROd1#] Sf6 5.ROxe5(d7) and 6.ROb2# is unavoidable, for White can reach this square via c4 and d3.

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(6) Posted by Siegfried Hornecker [Tuesday, Nov 20, 2007 00:36]

The best selfmate I've ever seen is the following brillant one by Camillo Gamnitzer, feenschach 1999-2000, 1st prize.

(= 10+12 )


I don't know many selfmates but this one is really brillant!
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(7) Posted by Roberto Stelling [Tuesday, Nov 20, 2007 22:56]; edited by Roberto Stelling [07-11-22]

This problem reminds me of a story told to me by Felix Sonnenfeld in the early 80's. I've first met Felix during the Rio de Janeiro Interzonal, back in 1979 and we were in touch 'till his death on February 12th, 1993.
Sonnenfeld was always a bit shy, despite his extrovert personality, about his selfmates. If you asked him to show some of his problems he would usually stick with direct mates and helpmates.

One night when we were talking about my inability to grasp selfmates (a difficulty I live with up to this day) Felix decided that I could learn from his own work. We went through a few problems, two of which I reproduce here. The first one was:

Felix Sonnenfeld
11 CBC, 1958/59 (Revista Carioca de Xadrez, 1938)
1st. Place
Fide Album 1959/61
(= 8+5 )

This problem was composed in 1937 and probably appeared in the magazine "Revista Carioca de Xadrez" in 1938 (I'm not really sure about that). After composing this selfmate Felix tried to find a position where white's time loss wouldn't come from a pawn move, he wanted something more "natural" instead of a simple pawn capture.
Sonnenfeld slept over this problem for a few years until he reached his goal in 1948. Felix showed his new achievement on a night at Clube de Xadrez de São Paulo (a moment Felix described as the saddest day of his entire life!). Everybody but one person were amazed by the problem, Felix didn't know why but Alberto Witte, one of the problemists present at that meeting, didn't move a single muscle in his face when the problem was shown. Here is the composition:

Felix Sonnenfeld, Original 1948
(= 6+2 )

Well, at the end of the night Felix asked his good friend Alberto Witte why he was so quiet. Alberto said that even though Felix' problem was really good it was anticipated by a composition he just saw in the August 1939 edition of Deutsche Schachzeitung (or Die Schwalbe, I'm not sure). Guess who was the author of the anticipation ? Yeap, you got it right: Gustav von Broeker.

Gustav von Broecker
(= 6+2 )

Felix was in shock when Alberto told him about the anticipation, the shock was so strong that Felix didn't compose a single selfmate for more than 30 years. You may or may not know but most of Sonnenfeld's selfmates published in the fifties were not more than republications of originals he composed in the thirties.

As I said in the beginning this is story was told to me by Sonnenfeld himself and he broke in tears a couple of times during the telling. That was my very first lesson about passion in chess composition.

If any of you has more information about this problem by Gustav von Broeker and about the article at Deutsche Schachzeitung or Die Schwalbe please let me know.

By the way, next time I will give the solutions in "invisible ink" as Milan did... but I need to learn how to do that first. ;)
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(8) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007 02:35]; edited by Jacques Rotenberg [07-11-21]

It seems that I will cry too :

J. Rotenberg and J-M Trillon
Europe-Echecs 1976 (version Themes-64 1983)
(= 6+2 )

1.Rb1? Bé4! (1…Bd5? 2.Bé4 Bç6 3.Bd5 Bb7 4.Bç6 B×ç6‡)

1.Rb5? Bd5! 2.Bé4 Bç6! (2…Bb7? 3.Rh5! etc. like solution)

1.Rb4? Bç6! 2.Rb5 Bd5!

1.Rb6!! Bç6!* 2.Rb4! Bd5!** 3.Rb5! Bç6 4.Bé4 Bb7 5.Rh5! Bç6!*** 6.Rh7 Bd5 7.Rç7! Bç6 8.Bd5 Bb7 9.Rç1! Bç6 10.Rb1 Bb7 11.Bç6 B×ç6‡

*** : 5…Bd5 6.Rh7 Bç6 7.Bd5 Bb7 8.Bç6 Bç6‡

** : 2…Bé4? 3.Rb1 etc.
2…Bb7? 3.Rh4! Bç6, ou Bd5 4.Rh7 Bé4! 5.Rç7 Bd5 6.Bé4 Bç6 7.Bd5 Bb7 8.Rç1 Bç6 9.Rb1 Bb7 10.Bç6!

* : 1…Ka7 2.Rh6+ Ka8 3.Bd5! Bç6 4.Rh7 Bb7 5.Bç6 B×ç6‡
1…Bd5? 2.Rb5! etc.
1…Bé4? 2.Rb1! etc.

The Rook leaves the "b" column for the 7th rank, and then comes back to the b column!
diagonal asymetrie : what is the difference between "b" column and 7th rank? The rook on b6 gives a flight when on ç7 it does not.

and now there are two possibilities about the problem given : or the stipulation is wrong or the diagram is wrong, with the BB on c6 it is solved in 10 with a common key, and my problem is still worth publishing, if the diagram is wrong, and the BB was in fact in b7, I am completely anticipated !
Another question would be : what is the exact place and date of publication ?
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(9) Posted by Roberto Stelling [Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007 03:09]; edited by Roberto Stelling [07-11-21]

Jacques, I'm sorry it was a typo.
The black bishop is on b7 in Gustav's problem, not on c6.
I've corrected the position on my original post.
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(10) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007 04:14]; edited by Jacques Rotenberg [07-11-21]

Do you know the details of publication ?
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(11) Posted by Frank Richter [Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007 08:09]; edited by Frank Richter [07-11-21]

I'll look in my old Schwalbe issues.
Just now I saw in the latest issue of Orbit the following problem:

Ivan Kos
Schachmati 1876(!!)
(= 6+2 )


1.Rb1? Be4! 1.Rb5? Bd5!
1.Rh4! Bd5 2.Rh7 Be4 3.Rc7 Bd5 4.Be4 Bc6 5.Bd5 Bb7 6.Re1 Bc6 7.Rb1 Bb7 8.Bc6 B:c6#
This position seems to be the first realization of this idea.
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(12) Posted by Frank Richter [Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007 11:02]; edited by Frank Richter [07-11-21]

Well, I found the article in "Die Schwalbe", IX/1939, p. 561. It was written by Ed. Schildberg and the title is "Die Fischersche Turmschleife", something like "Fischers' rook loop".
The title was selected to remember a very interesting problem:

Hieronymus Fischer
Humor im Schach Nr. 6, 1902
"Die Rundreise" (The loop)
(= 7+5 )

The solution shows at first (?) the whole loop by the white rook b1-b6-h6-h7-c7-c1-b1:
1.Rb6! Bb7 2.Rbh6 3.R6h7 4.Bc6 e4 5.B:e4 Bd5 6.Rc7 Bc6 7.Bd5 Bb7 8.Rc1 Bc6 9.Rb1 etc. There is a set play after 1.- Bb7 2.Bc6 e4 etc.

In the article Schildberg was looking for a more economical position and published the following version:

Ed. Schildberg
after H. Fischer
(= 7+3 )

1.Rb6! etc. as above.
The next cited problem was already shown here, but the correct quotation is:

Bruno Sommer
5446 Die Schwalbe XI 1938, Ehrenpreis
(= 6+2 )

1.Rb4!! etc. Schildberg found a twin moving the wR to c5, the wBf3 to c6 and the bB to b7 (s#9). A s#11 is given in notation from this position with wRc4 (1.Bf3! Bc6 2.Rb4 etc like at Sommer). Also he wrote that wSa6 may be substitute by a wPa7. The following two problems are shorter (H. Rübesamen, s#5, Kh1 Rh7 Bg1 Bc6 Pa7 Ph2 - Ka8 Bb7, 1.Bd5! and K. Schreinzer, s#7, using another matrix).

So here we have the whole story - or not?
(I didn't check the positions by computer).
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(13) Posted by Administrator [Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007 11:42]

A little bit off-the-topic, but useful:
Roberto: By the way, next time I will give the solutions in "invisible ink"...

This possibility had been suppressed by disable of html tags several months ago. Now it has been re-introduced. To make a portion of the text invisible put it between [w] and [/w] tags (in lowercase!) - this will switch text color to white.

    visible [w]invisible[/w] visible
will look like:
    visible invisible visible

The gap will be visible when selected (i.e. drag the mouse pointer over it).
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(14) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007 12:41]

So so... may I still hope ?
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(15) Posted by Roberto Stelling [Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007 16:28]; edited by Roberto Stelling [07-11-21]

Hello Jacques.

I've never seen the problem in print but Sonnenfeld knew the version with WSa6 and wRb2(as seen below) since the late forties/early fifties.

(= 6+2 )

with the following solution:
1. Rb6 Bc6
2. Rb4 Bd5
3. Rb5 Bc6
4. Be4 Bb7
5. Rh5 Bc6
6. Rh7 Bd5
7. Rc7 Bc6
8. Bd5 Bb7
9. Rc1 Bc6
10. Rb1 Bb7
11. Bc6 B:c6#
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(16) Posted by Marcos Roland [Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007 19:12]

Roberto, I've been really touched by the entire Sonnenfeld's story. I knew a part of it and I still remember very well the strong emotion (passion indeed, as you said) that "our" chess father Felix showed when talking about that selfmate. Now we see other people around the world linked by the same idea and maybe crying too...Let's take a beer next weekend and remember other stories!
Thank you Milan, for starting this topic.I really enjoyed it.
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(17) Posted by Frank Richter [Thursday, Nov 22, 2007 08:26]

If you like you may study during your session the following "afterrunner":

Karl Flatt
Chemnitzer Tageblatt 1925
(= 7+6 )

1.Bf3! Be4! 2.Dh4 Bb7 3.Dc4 Be4 4.Dc2 Bb7 5.Dc1 Be4 6.Dc4 Bc6 7.De6 Be4 8.Dd7 Bb7 9.De8 Bc6 10.Dd8 Bd5 11.Dc8 Bc6 12.Be4 Bb7 13.Bd5 Bc6 14.Dh8 Bb7 15.Bc6 B:c6#
Loop of the Queen.
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(18) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Thursday, Nov 22, 2007 17:51]; edited by Jacques Rotenberg [07-11-22]

what happens after 2.Qh4 Bc7 ?
in any case 2.Qc8 Bd5! and you can go on as indicated (I did not yet analyse)
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(19) Posted by Marcos Roland [Saturday, Nov 24, 2007 02:04]

Jacques, after 1.Lf3 Le4 2.Dh4 Lc7, how about 3.Dh7? If 3...Lb8 4.Dh8 zz. If 3...L(c7) any other, 4.Dg8+ and 5.Dh8 zz. Finally, if 3...L(e4) any, then 4.Dh8+, etc. For instance: 3...Ld5 4.Dh8+ Ld8 (or 4...Lb8) 5.Le4, etc.
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(20) Posted by Marcos Roland [Saturday, Nov 24, 2007 02:17]

...and after 3...Kb8 4.Dxc7+ Ka8 5.Db7+ Lxb7 6.Lc6.
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MatPlus.Net Forum Selfmates The Best Selfmate I Have Ever Seen