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MatPlus.Net Forum General Nolcken TT, Hamburger Problem-Nachrichten, 1947
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(1) Posted by Steven Dowd [Sunday, Jul 13, 2008 06:07]

Nolcken TT, Hamburger Problem-Nachrichten, 1947

Any information on this theme and the tournament- which I believe involves 3 "Hineinziehungsopfer" in a row?

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(2) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Sunday, Jul 13, 2008 11:08]

There was an article about this in "The Problemist Supplement" several years ago (alas, I don't have the details to hand) by Stephen Rothwell, I think. Essentially, the Nolcken theme requires successive sacrifices of pieces (not Pawns) to the Black King, who is lured further and further away from his initial square. (I seem to recall that the record is 5?)
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(3) Posted by Geoff Foster [Sunday, Jul 13, 2008 12:39]

I've found the article by Stephen Rothwell. It was in the January 1998 issue of The Problemist Supplement. I'll start typing it out and see how far I get.

Chess problems with multiple sacrifices often appeal very much to the solver. A special kind of sacrifice is described by the German term "Hineinziehungsopfer" (I think there is no equivalent term in English) - a white piece is sacrificed on a square adjacent to the black king so that he must capture this piece and thus is forced towards the square on which he will be mated. The term "Nolcken Theme" (named after the German composer Berndt von Nolcken) is used for problems which show three or more such consecutive sacrifices of white pieces (excluding pawns!) in one variation.

(A) C Becker, Munchener Illustrierte, 1942
(= 9+3 )


(A) is the earliest problem of this kind and it dates from 1942. The solution is 1.Rb5 Kxb5 2.Sb4 Kxb4 3.Sa3 Kxa3 4.Bc5#.

After the war two theme tourneys were conducted which required the most economical presentation of three and the extension to at least four sacrifices. The elegant winning entries are shown in diagrams (B) and (C). In (B) the wPe6 was added later to cure cooks and duals.

(B) Hans Gomoluch, Hamburger Problemnachrichten, 1947
Prize, Nolcken TT
(= 7+2 )

1.Sf3 Kxf3 2.Sf4 Kxf4 3.Be4 Kxe4 4.Qg4#.

(C) Wilhelm Kluxen, Die Welt, 1947
Prize, Nolcken TT
(= 14+1 )

1.Re3 Kxe3 (1...Kg1 2.Rf3 Kh2 3.Se2 Kh1 4.Rh3#) 2.Se4 Kxe4 3.Sd5 Kxd5 4.Re6 Kxe6 5.Bc4#.
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(4) Posted by Geoff Foster [Sunday, Jul 13, 2008 12:51]

Now for the rest of the article by Stephen Rothwell.

A further tourney for at least five consecutive sacrifices produced no correct entry, and, to my knowledge, the only correct six-mover showing this idea is (D) which appeared in the May 1997 issue of the Supplement.

(D) Rainer Ehiers, Problemist Supplement, 1997
(= 14+5 )

1.Sd5 Kxd5 (other moves lead to short mates) 2.Be6+ Kxe6 3.Rd6+ Kxd6 4.Sc7 Kxc7 5.Rd8 Kxd8 6.b8=Q#.

It is of course questionable whether the mere accumulation of sacrifices does in fact constitute a "theme" in itself. Also constructive difficulties limit the scope for good renderings, but maybe it would be a challenge for some readers to construct a seven-mover with six consecutive sacrifices, or a five-mover with two lines each showing three such sacrifices. Or can anybody improve economically on (B)?
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(5) Posted by Steven Dowd [Sunday, Jul 13, 2008 15:11]

Thanks Ian and Geoff!

It is interesting how much hindering white mass is needed for the execution of the theme. I would think this would turn off solvers (the ones who are impressed by consecutive sacrifices would probably also be oriented to the practical game, I would guess).

I composed something similar to Gomoluch and had to use a lot more white mass as well. It's impressive (Gomoluch's problem, not mine) and remains one of my guilty favorites.

More information on Gomoluch and von Nolcken would be of interest.... The few problems I find of Gomoluch (into the 1970s) are impressive in intent but flawed in execution. von Nolcken is a complete unknown to me.
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(6) Posted by Steven Dowd [Sunday, Jul 13, 2008 17:06]

It is of course questionable whether the mere accumulation of sacrifices does in fact constitute a "theme" in itself.

Of course, but according to Whitehead's theory of aesthetics, with art being the imposing of pattern on experience, and a recognition of that pattern, a series of several types of sacrifices, such as Hineinziehung, clearance, deflection, and so on, would make for interesting themes in my opinion, no less than many of the named #2 themes....
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(7) Posted by Hauke Reddmann [Tuesday, Jul 15, 2008 11:18]

Well, I'm exponentially impressed (for each additional decoy,
my awe doubles. :-) [Yup, that's the word. Decoy.
As OTB player I must know such things to read English chess
books :-)]

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MatPlus.Net Forum General Nolcken TT, Hamburger Problem-Nachrichten, 1947