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Sam Loyd


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #1

    chawil

    I thought you might be interested in this bit of chess history. I pinched the bio from Wickipaedia and edited it for brevity. Anyone wanting more information please see the full article.

    "Samuel Loyd (January 31, 1841–April 10, 1911), born in Philadelphia and raised in New York, was an American chess player, chess composer, puzzle author, and recreational mathematician.

    As a chess composer, he authored a number of chess problems, often with witty themes. At his peak, Loyd was one of the best chess players in the U.S., and was ranked 15th in the world, according to chessmetrics.com. His playing style was flawed, as he tried to create fantastic combinations over the board, rather than simplifying and going for the win.

    Following his death, his book Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles was published (1914) by his son. Loyd was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame."

    Loyds chess problems were often bizarre in the extreme and were sneared at by those players whom Robert Burns would classify as among the "unco guid". A classic example is to place a king on any center square, for example e4, and construct a checkmate using ONLY 2 rooks and a knight, which can be placed on the board in any position. (Hint, it isn't necessarily a 'legal' position, i.e. one that would occur in normal play). If anyone is interested reply to this and I will post the solution. Of course if anyone has a solution to propose I'll be happy to comment.

     


     


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #2

    qtsii

    When you get the chance put up some of these puzzles or some of his games - it should prove interesting to all.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #3

    kurtgodden

    I'm certainly interested to see the solution.
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #4

    chawil

    kurtgodden wrote: I'm certainly interested to see the solution.

     Will post the solution tomorrow, but only if you promise not to burn me in Effigy (a small town sonewhere in New Jersey).


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #5

    qtsii

     

    I promised (fingers crossed) Innocent


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #6

    chawil

     The solution is:

    Black king e4, white rook d4, other white rook f4, white knight c4 (or any combination of squares that give this configuration) - white king doesn't figure in the solution so need not appear on the board but can be placed on any other square if you so desire.

     I have tried twice to construct a diagram of this position but the board editor won't let me do it!!!! Every time I try to place a rook next to the black king it takes the rook off the board again! I can put the rook anywhere else on the board with no problem. I think the editor must have been designed by a patz kibitzer suffering from a fear of checks.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #7

    batgirl

    Here's the position you described - "place a king on any center square, for example e4, and construct a checkmate using ONLY 2 rooks and a knight, which can be placed on the board in any position."


    Here is the solution you described:
         The Black King on e4
         White Rook on d4
         White Rook on c4
         White Knight on b4

    It's not mate - What am I missing?


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #8

    chawil

    Sorry, typo. Was very annoyed by session with editor! Black king should be between the two rooks, i.e. trade it with the rook on d4. And how did you manage that? Every time I tried to place a rook adjacent to the black king the editor firmly removed the rook from the board.

    Have edited my comment. Thanks. 


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #9

    qtsii

    Well you have peaked my interest so this weekend I went to the library and checked a book out on Sam Loyd. The book is Sam Loyd: His Story and Best Problems ed. by GM Andrew Soltis. I will try to post some items as I come to them...
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #10

    qtsii

    From the aforementioned book, "Loyd was a phenomenon. Beginning in his early teens, he composed more than 800 problems. By the time he was 17 he had created two of the basic themes of problemdom. Loyd brought humor into problem-making and made them more than just esoteric puzzles. He was, according to the noted author and authority A. J. Roycroft, "the most famous and popular problem composer of all time."

    Throughout his later life, Loyd was both a composer and an OTB player, and this may explain why his problems have been appreicated by so many tournaments competitors who wouldn't be caught dead trying to solve a Comins Mansfield or a Lev Loshinksky.

    This example comes from a game of Loyd's that he said helped inspire him to create a problem. The sacrificial sequence is actually no that difficult and should be familiar to masters:"

     


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #11

    batgirl

    Thanks.  As for Loyd's chess puzzles, they had an added ingredient not usually found in more austere chess problems - humor.

     

    16 yr. old Sam Loyd met Paul Morphy at the 1st American Chess Congress of 1857. Morphy gave Sam Loyd Queen Knight odds (and won) on Oct. 10, 1860 while they both worked for the Chess Monthly (Morphy as co-editor, Loyd as Problem editor), however the score doesn't exist.

    If Edward Winter is correct, and everthing seems to indicate that this is the case, then Loyd held Morphy is very high regard : http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/caissa.html  

     


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #12

    BirdBrain

    chawil wrote:

     The solution is:

    Black king e4, white rook d4, other white rook f4, white knight c4 (or any combination of squares that give this configuration) - white king doesn't figure in the solution so need not appear on the board but can be placed on any other square if you so desire.

     I have tried twice to construct a diagram of this position but the board editor won't let me do it!!!! Every time I try to place a rook next to the black king it takes the rook off the board again! I can put the rook anywhere else on the board with no problem. I think the editor must have been designed by a patz kibitzer suffering from a fear of checks.


    Chawil, you simply go to diagram, clear the board, and then drag the pieces - it should work.  Here is the diagram you proposed.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #13

    qtsii

     

    More from the book:

    ""Ideas come to him with great fecundity, often too rapidly for him to analyze them completely." His admirer, Alain C. White later recalled, "Yet his powers for rapid analysis were almost unrivaled.""

    "Sometimes Loyd's name appeared so often as a composer -- particularly in a coumn he edited -- that he adopted one of his several thinly veiled aliases. He was for example, "A. Knight of Caslteton, Vt." or "W.K. Bishop of Sacremento, California." Alan C. White, in his authoritative "Sam Loyd and his chess problems", said he had identified ten such pseudonyms, such as "W.W. of Richmond, Va." which Loyd used in the following:"

     


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #14

    chawil

    qtsii wrote:

     

    More from the book:

    ""Ideas come to him with great fecundity, often too rapidly for him to analyze them completely." His admirer, Alain C. White later recalled, "Yet his powers for rapid analysis were almost unrivaled.""

    "Sometimes Loyd's name appeared so often as a composer -- particularly in a coumn he edited -- that he adopted one of his several thinly veiled aliases. He was for example, "A. Knight of Caslteton, Vt." or "W.K. Bishop of Sacremento, California." Alan C. White, in his authoritative "Sam Loyd and his chess problems", said he had identified ten such pseudonyms, such as "W.W. of Richmond, Va." which Loyd used in the following:"

     

     


     There seems to be some problem with this puzzle. There is no continuation given after Bg7+. Black plays Kd5 and then what?


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #15

    chawil

    BirdBrain wrote: chawil wrote:

     The solution is:

    Black king e4, white rook d4, other white rook f4, white knight c4 (or any combination of squares that give this configuration) - white king doesn't figure in the solution so need not appear on the board but can be placed on any other square if you so desire.

     I have tried twice to construct a diagram of this position but the board editor won't let me do it!!!! Every time I try to place a rook next to the black king it takes the rook off the board again! I can put the rook anywhere else on the board with no problem. I think the editor must have been designed by a patz kibitzer suffering from a fear of checks.


    Chawil, you simply go to diagram, clear the board, and then drag the pieces - it should work.  Here is the diagram you proposed.

     


     I honestly tried 3 times and every time I put a rook next to the black king, on either side the editor firmly removed it from the board! Maybe it only does that on rainy Wednesday afternoons.

    I can only report on my own experience.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #16

    qtsii

    More from the book:

    "By this time (after 1860) Sam Loyd was studying engineering -- but thinking of other matters. White recalled how he "already chafed at the prospect of the necessary drudgery and detail work he would have to do in the profession", until one day when he told a teacher he was through with classes: he had just sold one of his first, successful tricks to P.T. Barnum.

    It was a sheet of paper that could be cut into three rectangles. There was a donkey depicted on two of the rectangles and a pair of riders on the third. The task was to place the rectangles together -- without folding - so that the riders were saddled on the donkeys.

    It was a clever visual trick, like so many of Loyd's inventions, and Barnum like it so much the great showman ordered thousands of them made for use as advertising cards for Barnum's circus. Loyd was said to receive a cool $10,000 for a few hours thought."

    "Among his other inventions was the notorious "14-15" puzzle, a hand-held box of wooden tiles numbered 1 - 15. Thanks to one vacant space the tiles could be slid around and around. Loyd offered a prize to the person who could arrange all the tiles in numerical order. Thousands bought the puzzle and failed. It was mathematically impossible."

    "On another occasion a merchant found he had several gross of cardboard pieces in stock. The cardboard seemed useless until Loyd reconfigured an ancient board game so that it could be played on the cardboard. He called it "Parcheesi",another of his enormous successes."

    "It's no wonder that after 1870 Loyd began to spend more time on other problems and entertainments. Remember that at this time most of the world's top chess players were amateurs, including Adolf Anderssen, the teacher, Morphy, the lawyer and Staunton the Shakespearean scholar."


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #17

    qtsii

    chawil wrote: qtsii wrote:

     

    More from the book:

    ""Ideas come to him with great fecundity, often too rapidly for him to analyze them completely." His admirer, Alain C. White later recalled, "Yet his powers for rapid analysis were almost unrivaled.""

    "Sometimes Loyd's name appeared so often as a composer -- particularly in a coumn he edited -- that he adopted one of his several thinly veiled aliases. He was for example, "A. Knight of Caslteton, Vt." or "W.K. Bishop of Sacremento, California." Alan C. White, in his authoritative "Sam Loyd and his chess problems", said he had identified ten such pseudonyms, such as "W.W. of Richmond, Va." which Loyd used in the following:"

     

     


     There seems to be some problem with this puzzle. There is no continuation given after Bg7+. Black plays Kd5 and then what?


     Sorry chawil,

    I must have missed your previous post - I am going to type what the book has but I don't know if it truly answers your question.

    Solution B: 1. Rf4 and then 1...Nxf4 2. Bg7 or 1...d4 2. Re4."

    To be honest I did not get the latter part - I will keep reading!


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #18

    batgirl

    "Solution B: 1. Rf4 and then 1...Nxf4 2. Bg7 or 1...d4 2. Re4." "

     

    That can't be correct either.  1...d4 inferes there's a pawn, umm.. somewhere.

    Does this puzzle had a name or a title?


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #19

    qtsii

    Yes I am starting to think there is an misprint of some sort. As far as a name goes I will go back and double check but I typed directly from the book above.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #20

    chawil

    There seems to be some problem with this puzzle. There is no continuation given after Bg7+. Black plays Kd5 and then what?

    I think I may have something further to contribute to this. The fact is that on first seeing the solution I thought, "Ah yes, he can't move to d5 because it's covered by the knight on f4(!)." It was only when I reviewed the position that I suddenly thought "What an idiot I am, the knight on f4 is BLACK, you  nitwit!" And I still play chess!



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