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101. Ian Shanahan
U.S. Problem Bulletin 1994
Helpmate in 2
2 solutions

White and black half-pins are combined in 1.S6g7 d8(Q)+ 2.Ke6 Sg5 and 1.Bg7 Se5 2.Kd6 d8(Q), and rendered in an economical Meredith setting. The white half-pin arrangement on the 7th rank prompts Black’s unpinning moves to g7. Black’s half-pin on the 6th rank is anticipatory in that the king only walks onto the thematic line during play, and this leads to a pair of pin-mates.

102. Alexander Goldstein
The Sun-Herald 1961
3rd Hon. Mention
Mate in 2

No mate is set for the black king’s flight to f6, and the key 1.Qh5! (threat: 2.Qf7) provides for it with 1…Kxf6 2.Qh6. The thematic black rook – appropriately unpinned by the key – defends by creating a potential flight on f5. A random rook move 1…R~ (including 1…Rxh5) opens the f-file and permits 2.Rf3, a battery mate that covers f5 and f6. Three correction moves disable 2.Rf3 but commit new errors: 1…Rf4 2.Qxe5 and 1…Rf2 2.Rxb6 show self-interferences, while 1…Rxf6 is a self-block that forces 2.Rd3.

103. Peter Wong
Die Schwalbe 1996
3rd Hon. Mention
Shortest proof game in 10

Some pieces on their home squares are not what they seem… 1.Sf3 Sc6 2.Se5 Sd4 3.Sxd7 Sf3+ 4.exf3 Sf6 5.Bb5 Sxd7 6.d3 f6 7.Bh6 gxh6 8.Sc3 Bg7 9.Se2 0-0 10.Sg1 Sb8. The paradoxical Sibling theme is effected twice, with the original knights from g1 and b8 getting sacrificed and replaced by their counterparts or “sibling” pieces.

104. Laimons Mangalis
Die Schwalbe 1952
Mate in 3

White has two thematic tries, 1.Kd8? and 1.Kd6? (both with the double threats of 2.Be6 and 2.Rc7), and they are refuted by 1…Bb6+! and 1…Bb8+! respectively. A good key 1.Kc7! gives a flight and entails one threat only: 2.Be6+ Ke7 3.d6. Now both black bishop checks are playable but White has an answer to each: 1…Bb6+ 2.Kd6 (3.Be6) Bc7+ 3.Rxc7, and 1…Bb8+ 2.Kd8 (3.Be6) Bc7+ 3.Rxc7. Clever Roman decoys of the black bishop to a square where it’s liable to be captured. Also, 1…Ke7 2.d6+ Kf7 3.Be6.

105. John Lindsay Beale
Chess World 1947
Mate in 2

Most of Black’s moves have set mates prepared, except for 1…e3 and 1…Qxc3, and the waiting key 1.e3! completes the block. Random moves by the black queen unguard e5: 1…Q~ 2.Se5. The queen has four corrections that prevent this knight mate, but all commit the error of self-block: 1…Qb5 2.Qxd4, 1…Qc5 2.Sd2, 1…Qd5 2.Qa4, and 1…Qxc3 2.Rxd4. Three pawn defences continue the accurate play – 1…dxc3 2.Rd4, 1…dxe3 2.Rxe3, and 1…exd3 2.cxd3, but 1…b5 allows multiple mates: 2.Se5/Qxd4/Qe6/Qf7. This unfortunate dual can be avoided by replacing the black pawn on b6 with a white one.

106. William Johnstone McArthur
Chess Monthly 1883
1st Prize
South Australian Chronicle Tourney
Mate in 3

This miniature is solved by the waiting key 1.Bc5!, after which the black king has two flights. 1…Kxd5 leads to 2.Se3+ Kxc5 3.Qb6 (an ideal mate), and 2…Ke5 3.Qf5, while 1…Kf4 enables 2.Sf2 Ke5 3.Qg5 (a model mate), and 2…Kf3 3.Qg4. A fine example of the Bohemian style of composition, which aims for a variety of elegant mating nets.

107. Srbo Zaric
Australian Chess Problem Magazine
Mate in 2

The key is the striking queen sacrifice 1.Qe5!, threatening the pin-mate 2.Qf4. Captures of the queen open lines for the white bishop and permit another two pin-mates: 1…dxe5 2.Bxc5 and 1…fxe5 2.Bxg5. Two knight defences result in yet more pin-mates, now based on the immobilised e4-bishop: 1…Sxe2 2.Rxd3 and 1…Sxe6/Sh3 2.Rxf3. The problem’s economy could be improved by replacing the c5-queen and the e4-bishop with black pawns.

108. Nigel Nettheim
The Games and Puzzles Journal
Series-selfmate in 17

In this neat miniature, White must arrange the pieces to accomplish two related goals simultaneously: (1) confine the white king for the eventual mate, and (2) restrict Black’s possible play to a move that gives mate. The only configuration that works is to place the white king on f1, with the other white pieces on g1, f2, and e2 to variously self-block and control the black king. 1.e4 2.e5 3.e6 4.e7 5.e8(R) 6.Rg8 7.Rg1 8.Kf1 9.Be2 10.c4 11.c5 12.c6 13.c7 14.c8(S) 15.Sd6 16.Se4 17.Sf2, and now Rxg1 mate is forced.

109. Henry Tate
Good Companions 1917
4th Hon. Mention
Version by Peter Wong
Mate in 2

The give-and-take key 1.Sd4! (threat: 2.Ke5) removes an unprovided flight on b5 but grants a new one on d4. The highly thematic key also unpins the black knight, which is freed to give multiple discovered checks. In doing so the knight allows d4 to be guarded by the g4-rook, and this enables White’s royal battery to fire in a variety of ways. A random check, 1…S~+, is followed by the dual 2.Kd7/Kf5. Two correction moves generate new battery mates – 1…Sxf6+ 2.Kxf6 and 1…Sxd6+ 2.Kxd6, while the dual mates are separated in the variations, 1…Sxc5+ 2.Kf5 and 1…Sg3+ 2.Kd7. If Black takes the flight, White answers with an indirect battery mate: 1…Kxd4 2.Sb3.

110. Denis Saunders
The Problemist 1988
Mate in 2

The surprising withdrawal key 1.Kb2! vacates c3 to threaten 2.Qc3. Two flights are offered to the black king: 1…Kd4 2.Qe5 (a double pin-mate) and 1…Kxb4 2.Qa3 (this line explains why 1.Kc2? or 1.Kd2? would fail). 1…Se5/Se3 opens the rank for the h4-rook, permitting 2.Qe3, and the unguard 1…Qxf7 allows the white queen to gain control of the two flights with 2.Qxd6.

111. Juan Kloostra
British Chess Magazine 1988
3rd Prize
Mate in 3

The key 1.Qf4! pins the e4-pawn to threaten 2.Sxg4+ Kxc4 3.Sxe5. The threat exemplifies a Siers battery, in which the front piece of a battery – the e3-knight in this case – gives a discovered check, and after a black king step, that piece plays again to deliver mate from another direction. The threat is stopped by any move of the unpinned e5-knight, which triggers five high-quality variations. 1…Sc6 is the “random” defence (in the sense that the move entails no effect other than to vacate/defend e5), allowing 2.Bxd5 (3.Qxe4) Bxd5 3.Rxd5. Two prospective self-blocks by the knight lead to new Siers battery mates: 1…Sxc4 2.Sxc2+ Kd3 3.Se1, and 1…Sd3 2.Sxc2+ Kxc4 3.Sa3. The knight also has two checks: 1…Sf7+ interferes with the g8-bishop, enabling the subtle 2.Kf6 (3.Rxd5) Sf~ 3.Qe5, and 1…Sf3+ permits 2.Sxf3+ gxf3 3.Qf6, a switchback mate.

112. Rurik Bergmann &
Brian Tomson

Chess in Australia 1980
Helpmate in 2 (4 parts)
Whole board for each

Upper left: 1.Sc7 Sc3 2.Sa6 Rb5 (model mate). Upper right: 1.Bf6 Sc8 2.Bd8 Sd6 (model mate). Lower left: 1.Rb2 Rb4 2.Rc2 Rb1. Lower right: 1.g3 Rh2+ 2.gxh2 Sf2 (ideal mate). A quartet connected by the consistent white material, while Black alternates the pieces used besides the king. Ian Shanahan and Michael McDowell point out that the lower right part is the stand-out position, because of its set play: 1…Rf3 2.gxh3 Rxh3. Not only does this set line end with an ideal mate (like the actual play), but the two phases together produce the Zilahi theme, i.e. the two white pieces exchange their functions of getting captured and giving mate. Furthermore, the Platzwechsel motif is seen in that the two white pieces end up swapping their positions!

113. Cyril Whitehead
Chess in Australia 1988
Mate in 2

A strong try 1.Sd6? entails multiple threats – 2.Sxc4, 2.Sxf7 and 2.Rf5, but fails to 1…Sxd6! The key 1.Sc5! threatens only 2.Sd7. 1…Rcxd2/Rxc3 opens a white bishop line to f5 and permits 2.Rf5. The other variations are straightforward unguards by Black: 1…Rgxd2 2.Bg3, 1…Qxe8 2.Bf6, 1…Sxc5 2.d4, and 1…Bb5 2.Rxe6.

114. Matthew Fox &
Frank Ravenscroft

The Field 1957
Mate in 2

The curious position has the black king enclosed almost totally by other black pieces, and it is solved by 1.Sg8!, which threatens 2.Sf6. The white royal battery opens four times with 1…Rxg8 2.Kh3, 1…Qc2+ 2.Kf1, 1…Bf~ 2.Kg3, and 1…e2 2.Kf2. The latter two defences are unblocks that create a flight, and so is 1…R~ which provokes 2.Qxd3.

Here’s an alternative setting of the problem that saves a black pawn but adds a variation. The key is now 1.Se8! with the threat of 2.Sd6. The play is similar to that in the original, except for an extra unblocking defence by the d5-knight, which gives 1…S~ 2.Sf6. The f7-pawn of the original can be removed, since its sole purpose was to prevent the d5-bishop from capturing the key-piece on g8.

114b. Matthew Fox &
Frank Ravenscroft

The Field 1957
Version by Peter Wong
Mate in 2

115. Linden Lyons &
Geoff Foster

Australasian Chess 2011
Mate in 2

After the key 1.Qc1!, White threatens the pin-mate 2.Qc4. Two defences on d6 unpin the d5-pawn, but cause a pair of Grimshaw interferences: 1…Rd6 2.Qf4 and 1…Bd6 (or 1…Rc6) 2.Sc6. A further seven variations show good variety of play: 1…Bc2/Ba2 2.Qxa1, 1…Bxd3 2.Rxd3 (changed from the set 2.Qxd3), 1…Se3 2.Qxe3, 1…Sd2 2.Qg1, 1…Qa2/Qc3 2.Qc3, 1…b5 2.Qc5, and 1…Re6+ 2.Sxe6. Including the threat, the white queen mates seven times from different squares.

116. John James O’Keefe
The Problemist 1931
Mate in 3

The key 1.Sg2! has no threat but waits for Black’s e1-bishop and h1-knight to mutually obstruct each other: 1…Bf2 2.Be2 and 3.Bd3 since 2…Sf2 is no longer possible; 1...Sf2 2.Ra4 and 3.Rxd4 since 2…Bf2 is ruled out (2…Sb3/Sc4/Sf3 3.Bf3). A similar pair of self-obstructions takes place on g3: 1…Bxg3 2.Bg4 and 3.Bf5 – 2…Sxg3?? illegal; 1…Sxg3 2.Ra6 and 3.Re6 – 2…Bxg3?? illegal (2…Sc4/Sf3 3.Bf3). There’s by-play with 1…h5 allowing 2.Sf3 and 3.Sg5 (2…Sxf3 3.Bxf3), and short mates follow 1…d3 2.cxd3 and 1…Sd~ 2.Bf3.

117. Frederick Hawes
Schackvärlden 1928
Mate in 2

A ‘random’ move by the e5-knight would threaten 2.Qd6, and two particularly interesting tries with additional threats are 1.Sxg6? (2.Qd6/2.Sf8) Sd7!, and 1.Sc6? (2.Qd6/2.Sxd8) Sb7! The key 1.Sf3! surprisingly grants two flights on the f-file and threatens only 2.Sg5. A pawn-Grimshaw occurs on f6 with 1…Bf6 2.Qh3 and 1…f6 2.Sxd4. A third interference on the same square is shown with 1…Kf6 2.Qe5, when the king cuts off the bishop. After 1…f5, the queen’s threat seen earlier becomes effective again: 2.Qd6. Lastly, 1…Kf5 is met by the battery mate, 2.Sg5.

118. Arthur Mosely
Australian International Problem
Tourney 1924
3rd Prize
Mate in 2

The key 1.Kf6! covers e5 to threaten 2.Sde6. The black bishop on e4 defends by vacating that square as a potential flight for the king, and generates seven diverse variations. The Q + B battery is activated in 1…Bf3/Bg2 2.Bf3 and 1…Bf5/Bg6/Bh7 2.Bf5. Interfering with the c1-rook allows another white battery to fire: 1…Bb1 2.Rc2 and 1…Bc2 2.Rb1. Two self-blocks take place with 1…Bd3 2.e3 and 1…Bd5 2.Sxb5, plus a square clearance with 1…Bxc6 2.Sxc6. The latter error also occurs in the by-play, 1…Rxd2 2.Rxd2.

119. William Whyatt
Busmen’s Chess Review 1970
1st Prize
Mate in 3

The key 1.Qh7! preserves the Q + R battery while threatening 2.Qe7+ Be6 3.Qxe6. Black has two knight defences to d3, self-blocking moves that free the c2-pawn to attack d4 or d5 and threaten a battery mate. The correct choice of white pawn move after each thematic defence is artfully determined. After 1…Scd3, White avoids 2.c4? with the threat of 3.Rxf4, because of 2…Rxf1!, allowing the king to escape to e3. Instead White plays 2.c3, and now 2…Rxf1 is ineffective against the threat of 3.Re5, which recovers e3 (2…Bxf5 3.Qxf5). After 1…Sfd3, not 2.c3? threatening 3.Re5, because of 2…Bxg1!, creating a flight on f3. Now 2.c4 is correct, and the threat 3.Rxf4 works against 2…Bxg1 by guarding f3 (2…Bxf5 3.Qxf5). Also, 1…Be6 2.dxe6 (threat: 3.Rc5, etc.) d5 3.Rxf4.

120. Molham Hassan
Australian Chess 2003
Mate in 3

A good sacrificial key, 1.Sd4!, makes no threat. If Black takes the knight, White continues with another waiting move – 1…exd4 2.Sf4, leading to 2…d3 3.Bf6 and 2…e3 3.Qh7. If the king moves, a pair of echo mates follows: 1…Kh5 2.Sf5 and 3.Rg5; 1…Kxh3 2.Sf3 and 3.Rg3, while 2…exf3 permits 3.Qh7. The set play (surprisingly ruled out by the key) 1…d4 2.Qxe4+ Kh5 3.Qh7, 2…Kxh3 3.Qh7/Qh1/Rh1 could be made more accurate by transferring the f2-pawn to h2, so that 3.Qh7 is always forced.

121. George Meldrum
Chess in Australia 1974
Mate in 2

A striking diagram in which the pieces seem to form an arrow shape. There are two similar tries: 1.Qd8? (threat: 2.Qh4) Rxd8 2.Rb1, but 1…Re7! refutes, and 1.Qa5? (2.Qe1) Rxa5 2.Rh7, defeated by 1…Rb4! The classic key 1.Qa8! (waiting) places the queen in a corner to ambush behind the two black rooks, and is also a double-sacrifice. 1…Rb~file 2.Qh8, 1…Rb~rank 2.Rb1, 1…Ra~rank 2.Qa1, 1…Ra~file 2.Rh7.

122. Arthur Charlick
Western Daily Mercury 1909
1st Prize
Mate in 2

It’s a slight weakness that initially no mate is set for the checking defence 1…Sd4+, but the thematic key 1.Kb7! (threat: 2.Sc6) exposes the white king to various other checks instead. 1…f6+ 2.Se7 and 1…f5+ 2.d7 see White firing different batteries to exploit the black pawn’s self-blocks. A third check is an unguard that activates another battery: 1…Qb1+/Qb2+ 2.Bb6. Yet more battery play is shown in 1…Sd4 2.Bxf4 and 1…Se7 2.dxe7, to give a remarkable total of five thematic variations with no by-play at all.

123. Hebert Grant
Evening News 1942
Mate in 3

White must release Black from a stalemate position, and the correct way is the delightful 1.Ra5! (waiting). Accepting the sacrifice, 1…bxa5, unpins the g5-pawn and White continues with another waiting move, 2.Be2, to prepare for the battery mate 2…gxh4 3.f4, and also 2…g4 3.fxg4, a model mate. If Black checks with 1…b5+, then 2.Bxb5 sets up another battery to answer 2…gxh4/g4 with the pin-mate 3.Be8.

124. H. Cox
Chess World 1950
Mate in 2

In this pleasing mutate, every black move in the diagram already has a mating reply provided, but White has no simple waiting move. The key 1.Bf5! (waiting) changes one of the set mates from 1…e3 2.Bxf3 to 1…e3 2.c4. The key also generates a number of added mates by unpinning the g5-knight: 1…Sxe6 2.Bxe6, 1…Sh3 2.Bxh3, and 1…Sh7 2.Bxh7. The remaining lines are unchanged from the set play: 1…R~file 2.c4, 1…R~rank 2.Sxf4, 1…Rxc3+ 2.Sxc3, 1…Sb~ 2.Qc5, 1…a6/a5 2.Sb6, 1…fxe6 2.Bxe6.

125. Ernest Jerrard
The Australasian 1918
Australian Columns Tourney
2nd Prize
Mate in 2

After the key 1.Sg2!, White threatens 2.Qf4. Black has two thematic defences to e5, self-blocking moves that allow White to fire the B + S battery: 1…Be5 2.Sb4 and 1…e5 2.Se7. So each defence entails a black rook’s line-opening that must be countered by the white knight’s shut-off – vivid strategy. Two more self-blocks free the white queen to mate in other ways: 1…Rxf5 2.Qe3 and 1…Bf3 2.Qc2. Lastly, 1…Bc1/Bd4 permits 2.Rd4.