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MatPlus.Net Forum General Campbell's première - a new version
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(1) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Monday, Jul 9, 2007 03:26]

Campbell's première - a new version

According to Joseph Breuer, Campbell's first Problem is following:

J. G. Campbell
"Chess Player's Chronicle"
March, 1854

(= 7+6 )

White to Play and Mate in Five Moves

Breuer's comment: " Das erste Problem Campbell's, aber bereits eine reife Leistung. Der Schlüssel ist ein echter Rätselzug nach dem Geschmack Campbell's während seiner ganzen Lebenszeit"

A more economical version:

J. G. Campbell
"Chess Player's Chronicle" 1854
(original version - zk)
(= 6+4 )

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(2) Posted by Hans Gruber [Monday, Jul 9, 2007 10:18]


i can imagine that campbell did not care much about this, but it might even have been that he liked to show that he did not even need the king for his solution (and that the king nevertheless does not disturb). certainly campbell would have preferred the model mate after 4.- Kxf5 in his version.

hg hg
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(3) Posted by Uri Avner [Monday, Jul 9, 2007 10:20]; edited by Uri Avner [07-07-09]

Trouble is the problem loses the beautiful model mate in the main variation.

To have models in both variations, one needs something like:

(= 9+6 )

But then, the setting becomes uglier... May as well forget it!
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(4) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Monday, Jul 9, 2007 16:45]

Thanks Hans and Uri for the opinions and examples - The concern about the model mates is surely more considerable than the extra units, even if the idle monarch would deny the character of 'perfection' (I remember that, in some point of the Middle Ages, composers would not include the White King in those instances.) Other considerations, like the "paucity of attack" (as Loyd would say) would not be, also, reasons enough to touch in a composition with such historical relevance - By the way, in his current (July 2007) "Chess Notes" issue, Edward Winter, in collaboration with Michael McDowell, dedicate an entry to Campbell, a very interesting Chess personality.
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(5) Posted by Michael McDowell [Monday, Jul 9, 2007 17:20]

I agree with Hans – I don’t think for one moment that Campbell missed the lighter version, but he wanted to include a model mate. True economy was unknown in 1854, but the value of pure mates had been promoted by, for example, d’Orville (and Campbell’s problem is really just a development of an old d’Orville - see 132 in Breuer).

It’s an interesting question as to what right we have to “improve” old problems. We all want to see the best setting of a problem, but I think it’s also important to examine old problems in the light of the values that prevailed when they were composed, if only because that way you learn how values changed over time. You could, for example, improve the economy of many excellent examples of the English School by removing pieces which are only there to stop what we would now consider unimportant duals (Heathcote’s famous S-wheel comes to mind – 628 in Breuer).

Take another famous problem quoted by Breuer:

Philipp Klett
Schachprobleme 1878
(= 6+9 )

Mate in 2



(= 7+4 )

Mate in 2

Maybe in 1878 problemists would have considered the interferences far more valuable than strict economy (and maybe some would still do today - this problem should perhaps be included in Harry's discussion on weasels!).
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(6) Posted by Hans Gruber [Monday, Jul 9, 2007 17:31]

Hi Michael,

yes, it is interesting to see cultural work and performance in its respective historical context. (Therefore, it is more interesting to look for improvements in current than in old chess problems.)

The quality attributed to an "old" work is not at all decreased if "new" standards are applied to it, and if concerning these "new" standards, the work could be done better. (In sports, one might ask whether Paavo Nurmi would not have done much better, using today's training methods. His unbelievable achievement is that he was so far ahead of the other runners in his time, showing his revolutionary mind concerning training and commitment. The better [for his memory] that many of these things nowadays are everyday practice even of hobby runners.)

hg hg
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(7) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Tuesday, Jul 10, 2007 09:52]

Michael said: ***Campbell’s problem is really just a development of an old d’Orville - see 132 in Breuer*** (Yes, I'm seeing, thanks!)

A. d'Orville
"Le Palamède" 1837
(= 5+2 )


Campbell soon showed his prowess with a production of works of high value. Just an example:

J G Campbell
"Ill. London News" 1863
(= 5+8 )


Clearly antecipate the idea and mechanism showed (doubled in the famous #6 by Grasemann, that doubled Campbell's schema - Breuer says that Grasemann was unaware ("wahrscheinlich unbewusst") about Campbell's pioneerism - maybe an outward sign that he should become better known as composer

Many oldies are flawed, sometimes simply cooked (with our xxi-th century means this is a rarer ocurrence), others with unnecessary introductions, but also misprints, lack of contructive finish etc

A PS - The following is an absolute classic:

S. Loyd
"Boston Gazette" 1859 V.
(= 6+10 )


The famous 'Organ Pipes' - Breuer presents a twin (interchange wKg3 and wPd2) as a (sic) Version by J. Hartong in "Tidschrijft v.d.N.B.v.P." 1952, in his article "Meer an Grimshaw" - (strange - who was unaware of what here?!)
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(8) Posted by Michael McDowell [Wednesday, Jul 11, 2007 17:38]

One idea which Campbell seems to have pioneered is the following:

Era, 4th November 1855

(= 7+1 )

Mate in 5

1.Sa7 – c6 – a5 – b3 – d2.

Some years ago I tried to find the longest possible tour and came up with this:

British Chess Magazine, October 1995

(= 6+3 )

Mate in 11

1.Sa2 – b4 – a6 – c5 – e4 – f2 – h3 – f4 – g2 – e1 – f3.

Does anyone know of a longer example? (or would anyone like to try to compose one?)
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(9) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Friday, Jul 13, 2007 22:56]

What I called a 'more economical version' in my 9th July post was a very crude sample, then I'm still in debt:

"Chess Player's Chronicle" 1854
(original version - zk)
(= 7+3 )


(freedom to the white King, a handfull of six-mover clues, two mates - one pure, meredith form)
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(10) Posted by [Saturday, Jul 14, 2007 08:26]; edited by [07-07-14]

Zalmen Kornin writes:

>According to Joseph Breuer, Campbell's first Problem is following:
>J. G. Campbell
>"Chess Player's Chronicle"
>March, 1854

A check with that source shows problem no. 5 and the position
given, but under the name of J. Graham. (The yearly index does not
correct it as a misprint: it, too, lists this problem as by 'Graham'.)

Either Breuer had information that made it perfectly clear that
J. Graham was a pseudonym for J. G. Campbell, or he just assumed it was.
But without such information, I think it would be unsafe to assume that
this is indeed by Campbell.

There is, though, another five-mover in the 1854 volume, that at least
as far as the composer's signature goes seems closer to Campbell.
Problem 21, on page 192 (the reprint edition I use does not indicate which
issue it appears in, but I suspect June or July):

By "J. G. C."
(= 8+7 )

White moving first to checkmate in five moves

The signature "J. G. C." does not appear either before or again, at least in this
series of Chess Player's Chronicle (1853-1856). I haven't so far found it in
earlier volumes either, so it's not a well-known contributor. Based only on the
difference between "J. Graham" and "J. G. C." I would go for the latter as
more likely to be Campbell.

Campbell appears by name the following year in Chess Player's Chronicle: 'Problem XIII'
in 1855 is a study by "J. Graham Campbell", but just like "J.G.C." and "J. Graham" he does
not make a second appearance in this series of the C.P.C.
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(11) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Sunday, Jul 15, 2007 11:21]

That's really very spectacular - how the recent posts gives a new relief to this article's modest purposes: Anders Thulin presents the result of an interesting research on the aspect of Campbell's earliest publications in it's primary source, with room to some doubts on attribution of authorship; and Michael McDowell show us how he (more) than doubled the 'Campbell's Knight Tour', whith even a whole piece less than the archetype.

On the new version I presented yesterday: notice how the Pawn in 'e4', while essential to the Problem's correctness before the key, becomes superfluous after, even disturbing the achievement of a mate ( 4..Kxe6 5.Bg8) that would be both pure and economical) - but that was the way to preserve the whole qualities of Campbell's key and second move that, so to say, launches the Bishop from and over it's initial place. But, in this new setting it would be possible to remove that Pawn, altering the introduction, something like - (version's version): remove Pe4, white Bishop 'g4' to 'c8' - then the two first moves would be to bring a remote and idle piece to the action (therefore not artistically satisfactory - this one works with the Bishop in 'b7' too.)
Another possibility of chopping down the Pawn 'e4', to have a pair of pure mates is somewhat more artful:

J. Graham (Campbell)
"Chess Player's Chronicle" 1854
(original version - zk)
(= 6+3 )

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(12) Posted by Uri Avner [Sunday, Jul 15, 2007 15:53]

That seems to me the best of all versions. Congratulations!
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(13) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Monday, Jul 16, 2007 04:55]

Don't you feel you miss the waiting move ??
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(14) Posted by Uri Avner [Monday, Jul 16, 2007 10:08]

@ Jacques
Yes, I'm missing it, especially because the motivation for the waiting move is not a trivial one (White must lose a tempo to avoid Zugzwang). It all comes to the question of gain & loss. Luckily we don't have to dump any of these possibilities, as the new version has its own merits. I would like to keep them both.
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(15) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Monday, Jul 16, 2007 14:53]

Thanks, Uri! Maybe I'm extrapolating a little the proposed aim of an disinterested searching for an ideal setting to an historic position - Your fine version from July 9th would be already the last word... I could not miss showing that last position, as it's a so consequential development of the penultimate (someone else would arrive soon to that new position with the battery B+N, the quasi-rundlauf of the Bishop and the selected rooming King key...). In one of such on-line workshops I even lost the sole authorship of a bagatelle because I forgot to check a position and include a white Pawn to prevent a silly dual - internet turn things fast and intense (lol) - Well, here still one in which the economy (exclude the first Knight), and waiting character are emphatized - no bifurcation, no pure mate, but a Bishop star with six-movers, and other waiting mistakes (1.f3?, Kf8?) Maybe the character of the key is enhaced by the initial block of 'g4'...

(= 8+4 )

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(16) Posted by Michael McDowell [Tuesday, Jul 17, 2007 21:40]

Anders raises a good point. While Campbell’s full name was Joseph Graham Campbell, he used the first name Graham. A collection of 50 of his problems assembled by Bayersdorfer and Kohtz was included in the 1911 book “Akademischer Schachklub Munchen. Festschrift zur Feier seines 25 jährigen Bestehens”, with an extensive commentary by Kohtz, who regarded Campbell as “the master of the difficult in problem composition”. From research at the British Newspaper Library some years ago I was able to add 11 problems to the collection, mainly from the Era column, to which the German compilers had no access (they included some problems from this source, but only ones which had been quoted elsewhere). After an unfortunate dispute with the committee which ran the problem tourney connected to the London Tournament of 1862 Campbell quit composition in disgust, so there are few problems from later than that date.

In mid-Victorian British columns it was quite common for problems to be published under initials, or just surnames, or even partial names (e.g. J.McGahey often became Mr.McG___y). Kohtz recognised that sometimes he was making a judgment in ascribing a problem to Campbell, based on the style. He included the problem by J.Graham which Zalmen quoted because the idea reappeared in a later four-mover which was definitely by Campbell (see below). He also included problems by J.G.C. or J.Graham Campbell, and even one from the Chess Player’s Chronicle which was by G.G.C. according to the diagram and by C.G.C. according to the index, again because of the familiar style. I found examples by Graham Campbell, Graham C.Campbell, and J.G.C.Campbell, all of which I am certain are genuine Campbells! Kohtz rejected one unsourced miniature from Blumenthal’s Schachminiaturen by J.Graham because it was not in Campbell’s style but was in the style of a Canadian composer called J.H.Graham. Campbell is a common surname, but the only other Victorian composer of the same name seems to have been a Captain A.W.D.Campbell from India who was active in the 1880s.

Chess Player’s Chronicle, December 1860

(= 7+3 )

Mate in 4

1.Sa1 Kc5 (e5)
2.Bc7 (e7) Kxd4
3.Bd6 Kc3

It’s also worth noting the following:

Chess Player’s Chronicle, April 1862

(= 7+2 )

Mate in 3
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(17) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Wednesday, Jul 18, 2007 04:35]

All this recalls me the famous problem of d'Orville :

Pierre Auguste d'Orville
Le Palamede 1837

(= 7+1 )


1.Sge5! Ke3 2.c3 Kd2 3.Sc4+ K×d3 4.b4 K×c4 5.Be2‡

very exciting!
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(18) Posted by Zalmen Kornin [Wednesday, Jul 18, 2007 08:46]

Camil Seneca presented the above five-mover by d'Orville (merci, Jacques) as one of the first examples of the 'Ars Nova' (as opposed to the 'Ars Antiqua' - presenting the 'economy of forces' instead of the old 'equilibrium of forces'... (from "150 Problèmes d'Echecs" - a book that had a Spanish edition - Martinez Roca, Barcelona) Curious, that d'Orville presented the double Knight's sacrifice in other forms and instances, a motif also preferred by Campbell in more than one of his compositions.

Still following the thread of Campbell's signature question, in that same Year of 1854 he published another 5-er, not in the 'C P's C', and O. Dehler (apud Breuer) , in the "Festschrift des ASCM" 1911, said that this was the first time that he appeared with his COMPLETE NAME ('vollen Namen')NOTE - only after reading Anders' and Michael's posts above I noticed what exactly was meant with this expression...; and also that this was the problem that stablished his reputation as master of the difficult ('Meister der Schwierigkeit'), because nobody was able to solve it! But here is not the case of the difficult for the difficult (l'art pour l'art !?): new ideas - here Nowotny's - were being experimented and perfectioned

J. G. Campbell
"Ill. London News"
December 1854
(= 10+11 )

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(19) Posted by Jacques Rotenberg [Thursday, Jul 19, 2007 07:53]

I was lucky : I put immediatly to solve with computer (Winchloe).
A very nice Problem.
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(20) Posted by Milan Velimirović (+) [Thursday, Jul 19, 2007 14:31]

(post #18) It seems that WPf4 is superfluous and "serves" only for a serious dual 3.Sh4+/Sxe3+ in main line.
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Campbell's première - a new version