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
15+15. Proof game in exactly 4.0 moves
2 - Gianni Donati
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
16+16. Shortest proofgame?
5 - Gerd Wilts
Retros Mailinglist 1997
15+15. Proof game in 4.0 moves (2 solutions)
6 - Gerd Wilts
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
13+15. Proof game
in 5.5 moves
(b): Proof game in 6.0 moves
9 - Gianni Donati
13+15. Proof game in 6.0 moves (2 solutions)
10 - Gianni Donati
16+14. Proof game in 5.0 moves (2 solutions)
11 - Gianni Donati
16+15. Proof game in 4.5 moves (2 solutions)
12 - Mark Kirtley & Michel Caillaud
16+15. Proof game in 6.5 moves
13 - Satoshi Hashimoto
14+16. Proof game in 6.5 moves
14 - Richard Müller
14+14. Proof game in 6.5 moves
15 - Michel Caillaud
13+13. Proof game in 6.5 moves (2 solutions)
16 - Michel Caillaud
15+13. Proof game in 7.0 moves (2 solutions)