Samuel Loyd, born on January 30, 1841, and passing away on April 10, 1911, was a prominent figure in the world of chess. He was not only an accomplished chess player but also a skilled chess composer, puzzle author, and recreational mathematician. Known for his innovative approach, Loyd created numerous chess problems that incorporated fascinating themes. He enjoyed great success as a chess player and was regarded as one of the top players in the United States during his prime. Among his notable contributions is the renowned chess problem called Excelsior, which initially appeared in the London Era publication in 1861.
What’s in the name? “Excelsior,” a concise poem penned in 1841, originates from the creative mind of American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poem portrays a youthful protagonist journeying through a mountainous village as evening approaches. The young man carries a banner bearing the word “Excelsior,” which translates from Latin as “higher,” but also carries a broader connotation of “onward and upward.”
A lone journey of the seemingly weakest piece on the board is actually the fundamental idea of this problem. The following diagram shows the Loyd’s position: