Lucas Bull was one of the founders of the Durban Chess Club in
1893 and the first person to win the Durban championship on five
occasions, running out the winner in 1901, 1903, 1904, 1906 and 1911.
He also participated in the South African championships on three occasions,
finishing 9th in 1897, 7th in 1899, and 2nd on his final appearance in 1906.
Lucas Bull was born in Twickenham (part of London) in 1869, and came from a very large family, consisting of five sons (he was the third son) and four daughters. His father, Thomas Bull, was a surveyor and auctioneer, and must have had a profitable business, as the Bull family employed four servants at the time (source: 1881 census).
Bull arrived in Durban in 1892 and apparently chose South Africa, rather than the United States, as they don't play cricket in the USA! He was already the champion of the Twickenham Chess Club, and was starting to get an international reputation as a problemist. From the date of his arrival, up until the time that he discontinued serious over the board play in 1907, he was almost certainly the strongest player in Natal.
Lucas Bull is world famous as a composer of chess problems. He
wrote a column on chess for the "Natal Advertiser" (now
better known as the "Daily News") from 1893 to 1907 where
he published many of his problems. The chess column in the "Natal
Advertiser" stopped publishing problems in 1908 and thereafter
his problems appeared frequently in the "Natal Mercury".
A selection of his best 3 move mate problems can be seen in the book
"Sonatas in Chess" written by Donald McIntyre.
Here is a game from the 1899 South African Championship:
Bull,C A L - Van Breda, P G
RSA-ch03 Durban, 1899 (source: Len Reitstein)
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 d6 5.d3 Be7 6.c3 0-0 7.Be3 Bd7 8.Ba4 Qc8 9.Nbd2 Ng4 10.Bc2 f5 11.exf5 Bxf5 12.d4 Bxc2 13.Qxc2 Nxe3 14.fxe3 Qd7 15.Ne4 h6 16.Rad1 d5 17.dxe5 Nxe5 18.Nxe5
1.Ra3! forces mate. This is a problem in the Bohemian style which Bull specialised in. Notice that each square is covered only once, and that the King is only attacked by one piece at the end, making this a model mate. The nicest line is probably 1.Ra3! Kb4 2.Bc6 Kxa3 3.Bc5 mate.
The key move is an under promotion by 1.e8=N. There are three main variations, namely 1...Nxg8 2.fxg8=N Kxg8 3.Nf6# or 1...Nxe8 2.fxe8=N Kxg8 3.Nf6# or 1...Nd5 2.f8=N+ Kxg8 3.h7#