by Mark Kirtley (in: Probleemblad 3-1999)

In assembling this batch of proof games having solutions in 7,0 moves or less, I had alot of help from Gianni Donati and Michel Caillaud.

Among 4-movers, the classic #1 is my pick
for the trickiest game I've ever seen. And a lot more chicanery can
be packed into 7 moves, as with the new #2.

#3 shows a contrast between who captures
whom, and how. Henrik admits that having the two solutions start with
the same move is a flaw, but I believe any composer would find it hard
to improve on this attractive setting. Note the symmetrical position
in #4. The stipulation does not tell us the
number of moves needed to reach the position, and for good reason -
the exact number is part of the theme!

A nice surprise is found in each of the next four examples: no move
in the first solution is repeated in the second! The first of these,
#5, also has a "pawn-step echo": the number
of steps (one or two) made by the pawn on white's opening move is immediately
matched both times by a black pawn. Both Gianni and I spent late hours
looking for ways to show this effect, not knowing that Gerd had already
done it. #6 shows a "pawn-step anti-echo".

#7 and #8 have
the artistic touch that all remaining units are at home, and no moves
are repeated between solutions, even if you define a move only by its
arrival square!

#9 and #10 are
an interesting pair. In #9 the white queen
and white queen's bishop are innocent and offer themselves for capture,
in contrasting ways, while in #10 they get
away with murder. #9 also has a pawn-step
echo.

What sort of circuits are possible in a shorty? In
#11 and #12
the circuiting line-pieces perform uninterrupted 3-point rounds without
making a capture. These circuits are tempo-treks, since the featured
moves could just as well all be passed, were passing allowed in chess.

In #13, Satoshi gives a captureless circuit
performed by a knight, using clearance instead of tempo as a motivation.

What about promotions? One way, although not the only way, to show a
phoenix-Pronkin within seven moves is by making room for the promotee
imposter by capturing the unpromoted piece at its home. This is done
elegantly in #14, with the capturer returning
to its own home. And in #15, Michel finds
a way to -double- the Pronkin theme. Finally, in
#16 the Ceriani-Frolkin theme is doubled.

1 - **Tibor Orban**

Die Schwalbe 1976

Commendation

15+15. Proof game in exactly 4.0 moves

2 - **Gianni Donati**

Original

14+12. Proof game in 7.0 moves

3 - **Henrik Juel**

Thema Danicum 1997

15+15. Proof game
in 6.0 moves

**(b)**: Ke1 -> d1

4 - **Markus Ott**

feenschach 1982

16+16. Shortest proofgame?

5 - **Gerd Wilts**

Retros Mailinglist 1997

15+15. Proof game in 4.0 moves (2 solutions)

6 - **Gerd Wilts**

Retros Mailinglist

16+16. Proof game in 4.0 moves (2 solutions)

7 - **Gerd Wilts**

Retros Mailinglist 1997

14+14. Proof game in 6.0 moves (2 solutions)

8 - **Gianni Donati**

Original

13+15. Proof game
in 5.5 moves

**(b)**: Proof
game in 6.0 moves

9 - **Gianni Donati**

Original

13+15. Proof game in 6.0 moves (2 solutions)

10 - **Gianni Donati**

Original

16+14. Proof game in 5.0 moves (2 solutions)

11 - **Gianni Donati**

Original

16+15. Proof game in 4.5 moves (2 solutions)

12 - **Mark Kirtley & Michel Caillaud**

Original

16+15. Proof game in 6.5 moves

13 - **Satoshi Hashimoto**

Original

14+16. Proof game in 6.5 moves

14 - **Richard Müller**

Rochade 1985

14+14. Proof game in 6.5 moves

15 - **Michel Caillaud**

Original

13+13. Proof game in 6.5 moves (2 solutions)

16 - **Michel Caillaud**

Original

15+13. Proof game in 7.0 moves (2 solutions)