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Study Composers: Information Sought

  • #1

    Anyone have any information concerning Jan Drtina?

    Wikipedia identifies him as from Czechoslovakia. A few unsourced tidbits on the web credit him with discovering the concept of critical squares in pawn endings. I'd like a source.

    Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual attributes to him this important study (solution is given at http://blog.chess.com/Ziryab/opposition-and-outflanking):

  • #2

    British Chess Magazine 28 (1908) notes "Our Hungarian contemporary, "Casopsis Ceskych Sachistu," announces the death of Jan Drtina and Jan Karel, two well-known Bohemian problem composers" (19).

    That source confirms a his year of death as 1907 or 1908, both dates given in unsourced websites.

  • #3

    Still looking for answers, but making some progress as noted at http://chessskill.blogspot.com/2012/03/algebraic-notation-language-of-chess.html

    Drtina's obituary in Časopis českých šachistů is referenced there.

  • #4

    Jan Drtina's obituary appeared in Časopis Českých Šachistů in 1907 (november issue, p93) indicating that he passed away on July 30 in Hněvšin.

    In a subsequent issue (p93) was published a biography by Eduard Mazel indicating also Jan Drtina’s birthdate : april 4, 1834, still in Hněvšin.

    Hněvšin is a small czech hamlet from which also originated his nephew the philosopher František Drtina who is apparently much more famous. Incidentally, František’s son Prokop, was the Minister of Justice of Czechoslovakia from 1945 to 1948.

    If I correctly understood some czech web pages, this wayside shrine on the northern part of Hněvšin is sheltered by so-called Drtina’s oak trees.

    More importantly for chess history, in the same issue of Časopis Českých Šachistů (january 1908 p136-137) appeared posthumously the article “Theorie pěšce proti králi” (The “Pawn vs King” theory) by Jan Drtina, apparently written in december 1906.

    František Dedrle subsequently defended and extended this “Drtina-Dedrle Theory” or “Critical-square Theory” especially against Johann Berger’s “Opposition Theory”, giving rise to a famous polemic between them.

    Hope it helps.

  • #5

    Thanks kloch. Sources on this last part would be most helpful.

    František Dedrle subsequently defended and extended this “Drtina-Dedrle Theory” or “Critical-square Theory” especially against Johann Berger’s “Opposition Theory”, giving rise to a famous polemic between them.

  • #6

    Actually I'm trying to retrace the history of the theory of corresponding squares.

    I have some data but still some holes also, and I'm trying to connect the dots.

    I'm quite busy right now but I'll tell you more later on.

  • #7

    I'm in no hurry. Thanks for your contribution.


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