(Chess Palladium and Mathematical Sphinx, 1846)

While The Chess Palladium and Mathematical Sphinx did not hold any chess problem tourneys, it did announce several chess problem competitions. At least one of them may be mistaken for a tournament problem if it is cited out of context.


The Moves of a difficult Checkmate being given, to find the Position.

1. R. to Q. 6th—check; B. takes R, (best).  2. B. takes Kt.—check; K. takes B.  3. Kt. takes B.—check; K. to his 4th.  4. R. to K. 7th—check; K. takes Kt.  5. B. takes P.,—discovering checkmate.
(See issue nr. 1 (Oct., 1846), p. 16.)

Note that other black responses to the key move are expected to be present, and that the mate must be by discovery.

A prize was given for the most elegant solution. No closing date was announced, but the acknowledgement for solutions in issue 2 (p. 41) mentioned that further contributions needed to have arrived before issue 3. Four solutions were received, but only one was accepted as correct:

Junio, Brooklyn, L. I.


[+] = Faulty: No solution

The problem is faulty in (at least) that the move 1. ... Nxd6+ avoids the intended mate.

The question if Black was allowed any additional moves, beside those hinted at by identifying black's first move as (best) is probably answered in a later response to the signature H.B.T. that, in his proposed solution, apart from other errors, the great desideratum of forcing the Black King all the way, is not effected.

This prize problem is interesting in that it is very early synthetic problem (a problem in which the solution is given, but where the starting position is to be found), and by Oxford Companion to Chess even identified as the first of its kind.

It is not known if the problem was based on an existing problem, or if it was composed specially for this prize competition.


At least three additional chess prize problems were announced, but as far as known no solutions were published or prizes awarded. The second prize problem (announced together with the first) is also a construction problem, but of a less strict nature.

The Properties of a Stratagem being given, to determine the Position.

White to move first, and to checkmate in Five Moves; in process of which he must capture Four Black Pieces and a Pawn; and compel Black, likewise, to capture Three White Pieces and a Pawn.
The signature A.B.T. attempted a position that would solve both prize problem I and II at the same time but failed to fulfil the 'mate by discovery' requirement, and also introduced several short solutions. This prize-problem appears to have remained open, as no correct solution was printed, and the only competitor invited to make a new attempt.

Later prize-problems are also construction tasks, but the reader is typically given a position with most pieces (white as well as black) are already placed in a starting position, or in the final position, and some additional pieces may be specified to be present but not by exact position. His task is to create a problem that fits a short description, such as in the cited prize problem II above.