1878-1923: An Exeter Problemist: J Paul Taylor

J Paul Taylor's death was recorded by the British Chess Magazine in 1923. They explained that, while problem standards had since moved on, JPT had been at the forefront of developing the technique of the two-move problem in the late nineteenth century, and enjoyed a deserved reputation on the international stage.

The Club holds a notebook of Taylor's problem; not just a manuscript but a leather-bound custom-made book of diagrams, blocked on the spine as J Paul Taylor - Problems . The positions are hand-inked and their prizes duly noted.

He published two volumes in his life: in 1878 Chess Chips , a miscellany of games, essays and problems by himself and others, and in 1880 a collection of his own problems, Elementary Chess Problems . BCM reproduced three problems from these books. — DR

(JPT-A) Mate in two: J. Paul Taylor, 1878 [BCM June 1923]

+-----------------+
|.+.+R+.+|
|+.+p+.+.|
|.H.0n+QH|
|+K+Pi.+.|
|.0.+p+.)|
|+P+.h.+.|
|.+.GP+.+|
|+.+.+.+.|
+-----------------+

(JPT-B) Mate in two: J. Paul Taylor, 1880 [BCM June 1923]

+-----------------+
|r+k+.+.+|
|0.+R+K+.|
|b+P+.).+|
|+p$.+.+.|
|.).+.G.+|
|+.+.+r0.|
|.+.+.+B+|
|+.+.+.+.|
+-----------------+

(JPT-C) Mate in two: J. Paul Taylor, 1880 [BCM June 1923]

+-----------------+
|.+.+.+.+|
|+Q+B+.+K|
|.+P+P+.G|
|$.H.i.HR|
|.+p+.+.+|
|+.+.+.+P|
|.+.+.+P+|
|+.+.+.+.|
+-----------------+

Solutions as printed in the BCM:

JPT-A: 1.Qg1 (This was a novelty at the time of first publication. It was awarded first prize in the British Chess Problem Association in 1878. J. Dobrusky afterwards showed that the construction was not all it should be.)

JPT-B: 1. c7 (A pretty piece of play as the Pawn promotion is unexpected and interesting.)

JPT-C: 1.Qb4 (This is one of the earliest of the six-flight-square two-movers. Here there are five mates. No doubt this position inspired composers to work in six mates.)


We are grateful to Stephen Jackson for calling our attention to the BCM item, from which the comments above are taken, and for finding the correction of the second problem in the September issue. He comments of this composition, "one more proof that chess in an art".

Chess Quotes

"You cannot play at chess if you are kind-hearted."
— -- FRENCH PROVERB