|(from TD 100)||by Barry P. Barnes|
British Chess Problem Society 2000
by Barry P. Barnes International master in composition 1967
As the BCPS (founded in 1918) goes into the year 2000 under the august Presidency of
Michael Lipton, I imagine that it shares with other Societies difficulties beyond
composing and solving chess problems. Certainly, the BCPS is well founded. It has THE
PROBLEMIST and its SUPPLEMENT published bi-monthly, prominent and successful composers
and solvers, an international membership, burgeoning book sales (thanks Peter Fayers!),
book publications, and money in the bank. Why our concerns for year 2000 and the
One cause of concern is how to attract new problemists. Our newspapers and magazines are monopolised by chess player professionals who have little understanding of or time for chess problems. How else other than in newspapers and magazines do we reach out nationally for new problemists? Web-sites and electronic pages are useful, but nothing beats the permanence and accessibility of the printed word. I am charged by the BCPS to secure a chess problem column in a national newspaper. Perhaps I shall be lucky - but I am not seeking the work of column editor, having only recently given up the #2 editorship of THE PROBLEMIST after 34 years.
The preceding paragraph touches on a fundamental problem of who will do the work of the BCPS. Must it always be the same few? Paul Valois was obliged to step down from the General Editorship after giving his all for 14 years. John Rice stepped in brilliantly, and brought back the magazine to publication on time. John has been helped magnificently by Stephen Emmerson and Brian Stephenson, computer experts both. They have typeset the magazine and SUPPLEMENT. But the clouds are back. Stephen and Brian now need to put their jobs first. John Rice has set a 5 year limit on his editorship - he is enormously extended with chess books, problem features, FIDE Commission duties - and, yes, composing. David Shire, my most worthy successor as #2 editor, is likely to go to Africa in 2001. For the first time since pre-computer production days, the BCPS is paying for outside typesetting of THE PROBLEMIST. How long can we afford it?
Alas, we are an ageing Society, and the "great" names are not being replaced. Most of us who serve on Committee and do the work of the BCPS are retired from work. From where will come young blood, the object of our recruiting efforts? We have tried Schools Solving and Composing Championships, but with no lasting results. Perhaps the young prefer virtual reality?
Good news? Plenty! For all the concerns, the BCPS is strong indeed. Just see the magazine! We participate with considerable success in international PCCC, WCCT and WCSC events, our composers and solvers scoop prizes, we publish books, and we have successful weekend meetings for lectures, and composing and solving competitions. We are recently returned from the Cheltenham meeting (14-17 April) organised by our indefatigable Treasurer and Membership Secretary, Tony Lewis.
2 PR Cheltenham TT 2000
A happy "quick" theme tourney result from Cheltenham is diagram 1.
7 black and white line openings and closings, actual and prospective, by key-move.
Correspondence Chess 2000
As a prelude to the World Chess Solving Competition (WCSC), Brian Stephenson organises annually the British Chess Solving Championship. Brians labours in all directions are enormous - yet he finds time to make such pointed problem as diagram 2.
Defences 2 - Ba6 and 2 - Bc8 are rendered pointless by anticipatory interferences on Black"s first move.
Meanwhile, the Society's dilemma is encapsulated in the statistic of a mere handful of new Members sticking from the 472 chess-minded entrants to the British Chess Solving Championship. Are chess players frightened off by a plethora of problems beyond their experience? To counteract this possibility, Brian Stephenson and John Rice, as publisher and editor of THE PROBLEMIST SUPPLEMENT, strive to present "simple" and pointed problems of every type to encourage new readers.
The Problemist Supplement 1999
Who could fail to be charmed by diagram 3 by Michael McDowell?
The Problemist Supplement 1999
|- or the delicious diagram 4, Barnes/Le Grand themes by Stephen Emmerson?
With treats such as these, we look forward just as much as we ever did to receiving THE PROBLEMIST through our letterboxes, but the difficulties of bringing this bi-monthly magazine to publication need to be understood. Thanks are due all the more to those same few who work so very hard. That may be said of all Societies and their problem magazines, I am sure. Long may problem chess prosper this new Millennium!