Sam Loyd: The Master Puzzler
Born in Philadelphia in 1841, Sam Loyd went on to create a career for himself as the first and greatest of American puzzle masters, publishing his first efforts while still in his teens and continuing relentlessly for decades in books, magazines, and newspapers. A brilliant mathematical mind, a great composer of chess puzzles, a tireless self-promoter, and something of a rogue, Loyd was not at all above taking credit for composing puzzles he didn't actually compose and accomplishing things he didn't actually do, such as inventing the game of Parcheesi. Loyd nevertheless left behind an indelible puzzlist's legacy, encompassing puzzles of all kinds and varieties, which has not been equaled in the century since he died in 1911.
Loyd once challenged the great chess champion Wilhelm Steinitz to solve an impromptu chess problem in less time than he, Loyd, took to compose it, and barely lost that bet to one of the greatest chess players ever.
Martin Gardner brought his vast knowledge of and fascination with Loyd's work to Dover in the 1950s, and the Dover edition of Mathematical Puzzles of Sam Loyd has been in print continuously since 1959.
Loyd's varied accomplishments underscore the connection that has always existed between mathematics and chess, and between recreational mathematicians and chess players.
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