July 9, 2012

Every song has a story!

What makes Chess so special to all the people in and around it? As chess players, we can give you many reasons but here I leave it to you. Find out for yourself!
This is by far one of the most beautiful and fascinating compositions I have seen. Also, as a matter of fact, I fortunately happened to see this chess problem in my very first days of chess.

Every song has a story!
By Arun Karthik

First of all, let's go back to 1812! Recollect the following famous story to enjoy this problem!
The Battle of Berezina (or Beresina) took place from 26 to 29 November 1812, between the French army of Napoleon, retreating after his invasion of Russia and crossing the Berezina (Belarus), and the Russian armies under Mikhail Kutuzov, Peter Wittgenstein and Admiral Pavel Chichagov. The battle ended with a mixed outcome. The French suffered very heavy losses but managed to cross the river and avoid being trapped. Since then "Bérézina" has been used in French as a synonym for 'disaster'!

Black and White color to denote the good classical days! (Early part of 19th Century!)

The above problem is a composition of Alexander Petrov, who is also famous for his Petrov's (Petroff) defence analysis.
( Prerequisite: You must know how the pieces move and the algebraic way of scoring :) )
> The Black king represents Napoleon
> a1 square is Moscow
> h8 is Paris! Mr.Napoleon has to flee to Paris
> The h1-a8 diagonal is river Berezina - the long White diagonal controlled by the White queen.
> The White knights represent the Russian army!
> The White queen represents one of the three generals mentioned earlier, Mr.Chichagov.

Napoleon starts just outside Moscow... watch and relish the Russian cavalry harass him...!
1. Nd2+ Ka2
2. Nc3+ Ka3 
3.Ndb1+ Kb4
4.Na2+ Kb5
5.Nbc3+ Ka6
Here, the Russian cavalry could have captured Napoleon (checkmated) by 6.Qa8#. But the Russian general Chichagov misses his chance, and blunders. That's how history goes...!
(This particular incident can be found in detail here)
And Napoleon crosses Berezina!

Napoleon's army crossing the Berezina

7. Nb5+ Kb8
From b8, Napoleon is expelled to Paris (h8) by the Russian army.
8. Na6+ Kc8
9. Na7+ Kd7
10. Nb8+ Ke7
11. Nc8+ Kf8
12. Nd7+ Kg8
13. Ne7+ Kh8
Finally, Napoleon is mated in Paris!

14. Kg2#

For once, Napoleon lost!

Back to 2012! No more blacks and whites!
History was never so much fun, really! A picture is worth a hundred pages of boring pages, or in this case, a chess problem!
Napoleon may have lost, but chess surely won us all...We got to see more and more blacks and whites!
"Every song has a story"