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Problems of the Black Death

  • batgirl
  • | Jul 29, 2013
  • | 5457 views
  • | 16 comments


Joseph H. Blackburnw 

     The Black Death was a cataclysmic event that helped introduce a new age, the Renaissance.  While Joseph Blackburne wasn't particularly cataclysmic, his life, indeed his chess-life, overlaid the entire era that defined the beginnings of modern chess, a true Chess Renaissance. 

     In his book, "Mr. Blackburne's Games at Chess,"  he included 28 problems that spanned 33 years (1861 to 1894). The introduction states:

                     "In all about 400 games are given, and they are divided
                    into three classes—match, off-hand and blindfold games.
                    To these is added a brief selection of problems that have
                    a curious interest of their own, as showing how much the
                    delicate art of problem- composition has changed during
                    the last thirty or forty years. It has now come to be quite
                    a separate department of
chess."

     Since the average person really doesn't think of Blackburne as a problemist, I thought it would be helpful to exhibit a few of his problems. I found his problems both delightfully clever and quite difficult.  The answers, built into the movelist, are the ones given by Blackburne in his book, transposed from descriptive to algebraic notation.

 

All problems - White to move and mate in three.

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Comments


  • 12 months ago

    batgirl

    On my former website, I wrote a bit about Blackburne HERE and HERE. (many pictures aren't there anymore though). On my blog, I wrote a short article called  Blackburne and the Devil.

  • 12 months ago

    yureesystem

    Batgirl, could you write more about Blackburne, he was also a great endgame player, even though he was know for his attacking abilities.

  • 12 months ago

    tutkudoruk

    interesting problems i can't find books according the centruies for instance romantic era scientific era what do you recommend i wonder each times theory

  • 12 months ago

    adamstask

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 12 months ago

    batgirl

    @Alec847

    I'm somewhat known to be a Morphy fan, but if I would have to say that I find JH Blackburne the most fascination chess personality. 

  • 12 months ago

    batgirl

    @PeaceRequiresAnarchy

    The second last problem was my favorite and the one I couldn't solve on my own.

  • 12 months ago

    batgirl

    @radioarno

    I have a pdf.

  • 12 months ago

    Lawdoginator

    Very unusual problems. 

  • 12 months ago

    libiticus-9

    Hi,

     

    Very nice article.

    I don't understand puzzle no. 8 why should blacks king takes the knight on c5? I should play pawn c2 Instead , white will mate in more moves (10)?

    Comments and constructive reviews welcome

    cheers

     

    Oo, now I see (No wonder it took Blackburne many generations generating these wonderful chess problems)

     

    1. Qe2?!, c2 2. Nfe6 +, Kc3 (only move) 3. Na4 check and mate

  • 12 months ago

    adamstask

    Batgirl, do you have the dover edition, the rarebooks reprint, of the kessinger publishers edition? They're all available at different places, and I want your opinion of the best. Thanks 

  • 12 months ago

    1prophet1

    Alway a great article batgirl

  • 12 months ago

    Patzermeister

    A pdf version of "Mr. Blackburne's Games at Chess" is available for download via Google Books at: http://tinyurl.com/lmbpcpk


    I tip my hat to you batgirl for writing continually fascinating articles of chess history.


  • 12 months ago

    PeaceRequiresAnarchy

    I wonder how long it took for Blackburne to compose the second to last puzzle (no.10)? That is impressive. I would guess multiple hours.

    White's light-squared bishop can attack the king on two squares. Black has one piece (the rook) defending both those squares. White can use his queen to threaten to double attack one of those squares. 1.Qe7 doesn't quite work though because of 1...Bh5! The setup looks perfect. This is nuts.

  • 12 months ago

    pawnpwner123

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 12 months ago

    Alec847

    Blackburne's book from Dover is on my used book wish list.

    Thanks for the article instructive!

  • 12 months ago

    komouro

    impressive article! Nice choice of problems. Really instructive! They may look rare but we can surely benefit from those.

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