SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
White to play and mate in 3 moves. Good luck!
was the world’s greatest puzzle inventor
”There is one statement in the Chess Strategy which has awakened a good deal of probably justifiable criticism; I refer to Loyd’s high opinion of the playing poweres of the average problemist. ”The fact that problemists become so fascinaed with their art, and take comparatively litle interest in playing games, has given rise to the false impression that they are inferior players; which has become the general belief. The error is simply in discerning who are the good problemists; for I can safely say that it is utterly impossible for a first-class problemist to be otherwise that a strong player; and I have often asserted that such is my confidence in the superiority of what I will term the analytical over the theoretical school, that I believe if a tournament was arranged, One Hundred Players versus One Hundred Problemists, the latter would win nintey percent of the games played.”
As if to support the claim, Loyd almost immediately after these words were written, entered on a match of five games up with Eugene Delmar. It was a piece of pure bluff on his part. He had had no serious practice in chess-play for ten years, while Delmar was the recognized champion of New York. The outcome was not in question for a moment, Delmar winning by 5 to 1, and 2 draws. Loyd annotated the games for the American Chess Journal, but they are not very interesting to play over. Loyd was always on the look-out for someting spectacular, and his play in consequence was decidedly unsound.
The best result of the match from the point of view of posterity was the dedicatory three-mover which Loyd composed in honour of his victorious antagonist, above. This is a most ingenious letter problem, and a very difficult withal, as the quiet second move following on a sacrifice key is totatly unexpected. Loyd used the problem as tail-piece to the Strategy , but as he did not give the solution I fancy most readers have overlooked its merits.
As to a large match between Players and Problemists, there is little comment necessary afer reporting the Delmar-Loyd score. It would certainly have been easier to find a hundred players able to follow the leadership of the late Mr. Delmar, than a hundred , or even fifty, problemists who could support a genius like Loyd. We fear one side would have won ninety percent of the games-and that it would not have been the side predicted in the Chess Strategy!”–Sam Loyd and His Chess Problems
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS