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MatPlus.Net Forum General Alexander Malyshev
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(1) Posted by Steven Dowd [Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 16:12]

Alexander Malyshev

Does anyone have information on Alexander Malyshev? I am a member of the USBCA (United States Braille Chess Association) and want to convince their members that blind players can compose too. I found a March 1945 article on him in Chess Review; he lost his sight during the war but continued to compose; he had supposed placed 7th Honorable Mention before losing his sight in "the USSR Problem Tournament Tournament held in Rostov."

Problems, stories, etc, would be appreciated for posting to the USBCA list. Information on other blind composers would be helpful as well.
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(2) Posted by Joaquim Crusats [Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 17:05]

T. Salthouse
London Globe 1911
(= 8+3 )


The last sentence in the solution of the problem in "Pick of the best Chess Problems" compiled by B.P.Barnes reads: "The problem makes a strong impression, the more so when one knows the composer was blind"
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(3) Posted by Joost de Heer [Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 19:24]

Arthur Mackenzie was blind for the last 10 years of his life. I don't know how much he composed during that period though. One problem he did compose:

A.F. Mackenzie
Brighton Chess Society, 1898
(= 9+8 )


The following position was sent to the same tourney:

H.W. Lane
Brighton Chess Society, 1898
(= 8+8 )


Guess what? This composer was blind too!
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(4) Posted by Mario Richter [Saturday, Feb 14, 2009 20:03]

With respect to Joost's remark on A.F.Mackenzie, here's a short article from 'The British Chess Magazine', 1902:

Facts And Trifles.—The following is an extract from an interesting letter indited by Mr. A. F. Mackenzie to Mr. S. S. Blackburne, chess editor of the Canterbury Times, N.Z. Referring to the fact that he is generally regarded as being handicapped in the composition of his problems on account of loss of sight, he says that he is not sure that this is so, and continues :—

" I have lately come to think that problem composition is peculiarly a mental work, and that employment of board and men is in many ways a nuisance. It cramps the imaginative faculties. Certainly the three-movers I have composed since I lost my sight are infinitely superior, as a whole, to those composed before. Then see what fine work Lane is turning out, and he is a comparative beginner. He, however, I understand, uses a board and men specially made for him. I work by mental efforts only, and never make any record whatever of my work. The only time it is placed on diagrams is when my brother prepares the problems for transmission. I am sorry to say, and you will doubtless be surprised to learn, that I have no record whatever of a single problem composed since I lost my sight."
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(5) Posted by Michael McDowell [Monday, Feb 16, 2009 16:40]

Another very talented blind composer was H.J.Burgess, who has three problems in Jeremy Morse’s task book. He wrote an interesting article in The Problemist, January 1973, about the Organ Pipes theme, which included a number of examples by himself published in the 1940s in a column run by T.R.Dawson in the Braille Chess Magazine. This column apparently featured a number of blind composers.

I think that the English composer Edward Beal (1917-96) was blind for about the last ten years of his life. A very nice original helpmate by him was used in the WCSC in 1994.

There was a noted blind solver in the Good Companions days called Oscar H.Bilgram. I notice that he has one problem in Meson.

Regarding the two problems quoted by Joost, they competed in the 8th tourney of the Brighton Society, which ran over 1898-99 (this was not a chess society, but a monthly magazine for the upper classes which had a chess problem column). Mackenzie’s problem won 1st Prize, while Lane’s won 3rd Prize (P.F.Blake won 2nd). One of the judges, C.Planck, commented “These are practically different editions of the same problem, and run a very close race, but (Mackenzie’s) just wins in my estimation. In crude economy alone it stands ahead with 3.44 pawns per mate as against 3.46, and in the defence 2.03 pawns per mate as compared with 2.29. The duplication of the discovery by the B (a distinct feature) helps it, and though the threatened check with the R is bad, it leads by one point at the finish.”
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(6) Posted by Ian Shanahan [Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 00:55]; edited by Ian Shanahan [09-02-23]

Another excellent blind composer, an early-20th-century Good Companion from the antipodes (New Zealand): F. A. L. Kuskop
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MatPlus.Net Forum General Alexander Malyshev