Wednesday, September 09, 2015


Highly Specialized, Fanciful, Stylish Riddles

Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), Speak, Memory (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1966), p. 288:
A certain position is elaborated on the board, and the problem to be solved is how to mate Black in a given number of moves, generally two or three. It is a beautiful, complex and sterile art related to the ordinary form of the game only insofar as, say, the properties of a sphere are made use of by a tennis player in winning a tournament. Most chess players, in fact amateurs and masters alike, are only mildly interested in these highly specialized, fanciful, stylish riddles, and though appreciative of a catchy problem would be utterly baffled if asked to compose one.
For the past three years I've tried to solve the daily chess problems at I can usually solve the easy ones, rarely the hard ones.

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