The Problemist’s Blog

Sort: Most Recent
Blindfold chess scenes in movies and TV shows

Blindfold chess scenes in movies and TV shows

Rocky64
| May 17, 2022

In popular culture and films in particular, chess has become a shorthand for “a battle of wits between two intelligent characters.” As such, chess-playing scenes are plentiful and I had no shortage of highlights to choose from for my e...

Judit Polgar’s Chess Artistry Competition videos

Judit Polgar’s Chess Artistry Competition videos

Rocky64
| Feb 5, 2022

The renowned GM Judit Polgar organises an annual Global Chess Festival in each October, and the 2021 edition includes an event called the Chess Artistry Competition. This is a composing tourney aimed at promoting endgame studies to chess players, ...

Superpins – What if pinned pieces don’t check?

Superpins – What if pinned pieces don’t check?

Rocky64
| Dec 13, 2021

According to chess laws, a piece that’s absolutely pinned to its king still retains its power to check the opponent’s king. There are good reasons for this rule, and yet in the end it’s only a matter of convention. There is in fa...

Chess problem scene in ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

Chess problem scene in ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

Rocky64
| Oct 29, 2020

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ is a new TV mini-series (produced by Netflix) in which chess plays a central role. Based on the 1983 novel by Walter Tevis, it’s a coming-of-age story about an orphaned girl named Beth Harmon, who strug...

Chess scenes in the Marvel films

Chess scenes in the Marvel films

Rocky64
| Jun 25, 2020

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a stupendously successful sci-fi/superhero movie franchise that spans 23 films over 10 years, in a series called the Infinity Saga. Unlike the X-Men movie series, which employs chess as a recurring motif (see my ea...

What if a pawn could “promote” to a pawn?

What if a pawn could “promote” to a pawn?

Rocky64
| Jun 12, 2020

A pawn must be replaced by a piece upon reaching the eighth rank, but suppose it is legal for the unit to remain as a pawn, one that becomes immobile. Are there situations where such a non-promotion move would be the best possible, i.e. the only m...

Christmas problem-solving competition

Christmas problem-solving competition

Rocky64
| Dec 20, 2019

The festive season is upon us, so let’s celebrate with a fun problem-solving contest with prizes! It’s something of a Christmas tradition for chess problemists to send one another greeting cards diagrammed with their own compositions &...

A heraldic endgame-tablebase composition

A heraldic endgame-tablebase composition

Rocky64
| Oct 16, 2019

Last year my Adventures series of blogs examined endgame tablebases, software that provides perfect play information for any positions with up to seven pieces. I reviewed the remarkable capabilities of these programs – they play as God effec...

A tribute to Pal Benko (1928-2019)

A tribute to Pal Benko (1928-2019)

Rocky64
| Sep 10, 2019

The legendary grandmaster and problemist Pal Benko has passed away on August 26, at the age of 91. He was one of the very few world-class players who also excelled at chess composition, adept in devising problems and endgame studies alike. Indeed,...

Vladimir Nabokov in ‘The Problemist’

Vladimir Nabokov in ‘The Problemist’

Rocky64
| Jun 10, 2019

Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) was one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century whose celebrated works include Lolita, Pale Fire, and Ada. Early in his career he wrote The Defense (1930), the story of a chess grandmaster named Luzhin whose obse...

Top 10 greatest chess scenes in movies

Top 10 greatest chess scenes in movies

Rocky64
| Jan 27, 2019

For chess enthusiasts who are also fans of cinema, movie scenes that prominently feature the royal game hold a special appeal. Many people have produced lists of the most famous of such scenes, clips of which are typically found on YouTube. Surpri...

Even more adventures with endgame tablebases

Even more adventures with endgame tablebases

Rocky64
| Dec 23, 2018

Endgame tablebases are remarkable software that effectively plays perfect chess in any position with up to seven pieces. As such they are an invaluable analytical tool and in two previous blogs (Adventures and More Adventures), I demonstrated...

Get Listed