Chess-Monthly, 1880 (Puzzle Tourney)

a position which admits at least 20 different mates on the move by at least 8 different men. (2 pr.)
Motto and sealed envelope required. Multiple entries were permitted, but only under different mottos.
J. H. Zukertort (see notes)
1880-03-01 (Europe), 1880-03-15 (other)
1 pr. F. C. Collins (Motto: À l'extrémité)
2 pr. Mephisto (Montes lab ... etc.)
v. 1, p. 256 (April, 1880): Hoffer withdraws as judge.
v. 1, p. 328–329 (July, 1880): (separate review by No Name)
v. 2, p. 21–23 (Sep., 1880) : Judge's report; list of competitors

The reason for the tourney was an anonymous donation for the first prize for a tournament. The second prize was provided by Chess-Monthly. The judges appointed by the donor were the editors of Chess-Monthly. However, as L. Hoffer accidentally learned the names of two of the competitors, he withdrew as judge.

The received problems were published in notation after closing date, accompanied by a short note if examination revealed any fundamental problems.

As is probably clear from the results, the judge did not give the awards by dead reckoning of the largest number of mates. He explained: Chessmen in a Problem for the sole purpose of creating extra variations, but not wanted otherwise, would be condemned by judge and composer, and chessmen put up in a Puzzle to produce extra-mates, but not necessary to produce the mate position, had to be judged in the same manner and also The second criterion of the standard of excellence was the way in which the possibility of the position was effected. To add simply a black piece or Pawn, thus giving Black a last move, is certainly not a very skilful manner of avoiding an impossible position.

This removes the tourney in general from the field of task tournaments, although some of the published problems may be relevant for their history.

The winner of the second prize, who entered under the pseudonym Mephisto, and with the address c/o Central National Bank, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.A., appears to be unknown. The motto is not completely known, but was noted in the report to be not quite classical.

The largest number of mates with the fewest men present appears to be 47 mates by 12 [9] men (in position no. 38, motto Cedo meliori) which was not accompanied by an envelope with name and address as required, but which was not listed among the problems eliminated due to failure to fulfil the rules of the tourney. It was presumably eliminated by the criteria mentioned by Zukertort and cited above.

One of the competitors provided a motto that was his name written backwards. The editors of Chess-Monthly observed that in future competitions similar attempts to misuse mottos would lead to exclusion.


1st Prize: F. C. Collins


2nd Prize: Mephisto