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126. Peter Wong
The Problemist Supplement 1999
Helpmate in 2
4 solutions

The four solutions are divided into two interrelated pairs. The first pair, 1.Be2 Kh3! 2.Re1 Ba4 and 1.c2 Kxg1! 2.Qe1 Bg4, has more thematic interest, showing white king tempo moves and different battery mates. The second pair, 1.Bb2 Ba4+ 2.Kc1 Rd1 and 1.Kc2 Bg4 2.Qb2 Bd1, sees the black king moving instead, with White giving different mates on the square initially occupied by that king. The two pairs of solutions are also loosely connected by the way the mating moves of the first pair recur as the opening moves in the second pair.

127. William James Smith
The Brisbane Courier 1932
Mate in 2

The thematic key 1.Kc4! self-pins the knight on d4 and threatens 2.Rb5. The knight is unpinned by 1…Sf4 which also cuts off the f5-rook, enabling 2.Sf3. Another unpinning move, 1…Se4, self-blocks as well and allows 2.Sc6. 1…Sf6 interferes with the other black rook to permit 2.Rxe6. The black queen has two defences – firstly another self-block on e4 that leads to a different mate: 1…Qe4 2.Qxb8, and secondly a check granted by the key: 1…Qxd4+ 2.cxd4. Also, 1…Bd6/Ba7 2.Bd6.

128. Laimons Mangalis
Probleemblad 1955
2nd Hon. Mention
Mate in 2

Set play is arranged for two prominent flight-taking moves: 1…Kd5 2.Qd3 and 1…Kf5 2.Qf3. The key 1.Sxg4! threatens an indirect battery mate, 2.Sf6. Now when the king moves, the set mates don’t work because the key-piece has lost control of c6 and g6. Instead the actual play is 1…Kd5 2.Qf3 and 1…Kf5 2.Qd3, demonstrating a reciprocal change of white mates with respect to the two defences. The new mates are possible because the key-piece has also opened two potential pin-lines on the fifth rank, besides removing the g4-pawn’s guard of f3. There’s by-play with 1…Sf3 2.Qf4.

129. Ian Shanahan
The Problemist Supplement 1995
Mate in 4

If White tries 1.Ra3? to threaten 2.Ra8, Black refutes by playing 1…0-0! So White first executes a foreplan aimed at disabling the castling defence. The key 1.Rg7! threatens 2.Rc8 and forces 1…Kf8. The switchbacks 2.Rgc7 Ke8 bring us back to the original position, but with the difference that …0-0 has been made illegal. Now Black has no defence against the mainplan of 3.Ra3 and 4.Ra8. An attractive rendition of the theme, using merely seven pieces.

130. Joseph Heydon
Australian Columns Tourney 1921
1st Prize
Mate in 2

In this complete block position, every black move has been provided with a set mate: 1…Ba3/Bf8 2.Sf4, 1…Bh2/Bb8 2.Sdb4, 1…Sf~ 2.Qd2, and 1…Sb~ 2.Qc3. The key 1.Qf2! (waiting) disables all of the set play by abandoning the queen’s attack on d2 and c3. Now with the queen guarding e3 and d4, new mates are possible against the same defences: 1…Ba3/Bf8 2.Se5, 1…Bh2/Bb8 2.Scb4, 1…Sf~ 2.Qe3, and 1…Sb~ 2.Qd4. Furthermore, the key has enabled two additional variations: 1…e1(Q) 2.Qc2 and 1…e1(S) 2.Qxf1. This excellent mutate renders an uncommon complete change of play.

131. Alexander Goldstein
Themes-64 1957
Mate in 3

The e3-knight is prevented from giving mate by the pinning black queen, and the problem shows an attractive variety of ways by which the knight is unpinned. The key 1.Qf6! aims to divert the black queen with 2.Qa6+ Qa4 3.Sc2. After 1…Rg6, White can continue with 2.Ke2 and 3.Sc2 because the black rook has hindered 2…Bh5+??, and if 2…Qe5 re-pinning the knight then 3.Qxe5. The analogous 1…Rc6 enables 2.Kg2 and 3.Sc2 since 2…Bc6+?? is no longer an option. The black bishop in turn impedes the c8-rook with 1…Bc6 (also 1…Ra8) 2.Qxd4+ cxd4 3.Sc2.

132. James Joseph Glynn
The Sunday Times 1919
2nd Hon. Mention
Mate in 2

The black king initially has a provided flight: 1…Kxe6 2.Qe7, but White disrupts this set line by playing 1.Qe7! immediately, with the threat of 2.Sexd4. The thematic key has allowed Black to check on the 4th rank, though a random move by the d4-knight fails to handle the threat. The correction 1…Sf3+ cuts off the g2-bishop and forces 2.Sf4. Two other correction moves abandon the black knight’s control of the R + S battery: 1…Sxe6+/Sc6+ 2.Sxh4. This battery fires again with 1…Re4 2.Sfxd4. Three more variations make up the by-play: 1…Sf4 2.exd4, 1…c6/c5 2.Qd6 and 1…Bf6 2.Qxf6.

133. Vladmir Zapackis
feenschach 1952
Helpmate in 4
Set play

If White has the move, there is a set mate in one: 1…d3. When Black plays first, every move will disturb this mate, but the two sides can bring it back by each performing a rundlauf or round-trip. 1.f3+ Ke1 2.f2+ Kd1 3.f1(R)+ Ke2 4.Rf4 d3. We see three consecutive black checks, and good white-black interplay that determines the path of the triangulating king.

134. C. D. Fethers
The Australasian Chess Review 1931
Mate in 2

The fine withdrawal key 1.Qa3! grants a flight and permits two black checks. The threat 2.Bd5 utilises the newly formed Q + B battery, which fires again in response to the checks: 1…Ke3+ 2.Bf7 and 1…c1(Q)+ 2.Bd1. If 1…e3 then White exploits the opening of the diagonal with 2.Qxa8. Two quality cross-check variations, but it’s a pity that there’s so little by-play.

135. Charles G. M. Watson
Australasian Chess Magazine 1920
Mate in 2

After the waiting key, 1.Qf4!, Black has eight possible pawn moves and each provokes a different queen mate. 1…cxb3 2.Qc1 (switchback), 1…c3 2.Qxb4, 1…d2 2.Qxc4, 1…cxb5 2.Qxc7, 1…cxb6 2.Qd6, 1…fxg5+ 2.Qxg5, 1…f5 2.Qe5, 1…gxh5 2.Qf5. Yet three more queen mates occur after the black bishop’s moves: 1…Bf2 2.Qxf2, 1…Be3 2.Qxe3, 1…Bd4 2.Qxd4 (1…Bh2 2.Qf2/Qe3/Qd4). In contrast to the previous problem, the emphasis here is on the quantity of variations, which reveal little strategy but possibly constitute a task record blend of black pawn defences and white queen mates.

136. William J. McArthur
The Brisbane Courier 1917
Australian Columns Tourney
1st Prize
Mate in 3

The key 1.f4! threatens 2.Qf2+ Kxd1 3.Qd2. Five of Black’s defences commit the same type of error: the prospective self-block of a square not initially adjacent to the black king. 1…Rxf4 2.Rd2+ Kf3 3.Sg5, 1…Bxf4 2.Qf1+ Ke3 3.Qd3, 1…Bxd4 2.Qf1+ Ke3 3.Re1, 1…Sc4 2.Re1+ Kd3 3.Sxb4 (2…Kf3 3.Qg3), 1…Sxe4 2.Qf1+ Ke3 3.Rd3. Arguably 1…Rc2 is a sixth thematic defence even though it doesn’t stop the threat of 2.Qf2+, considering 2…Kxd1 3.Qf1 is a new mate that again exploits a distant self-block. Also, 1…Kf3 2.Sg5+ Kxf4 3.Rf1 or 2…Ke2 3.Qe1. The repetition of 2.Qf1+ is the only flaw in this remarkable problem, which shows great unity and is completely dual-free.

137. Denis Saunders
The Problemist 1991
2nd Hon. Mention
Mate in 2

The terrific key, 1.Sd5!, concedes two flights, enables Black to check, and also unpins the c4-bishop. A wealth of battery play follows, including the threat of 2.Sd8. 1…Q/Bxd4+ 2.Sxd4, 1…Kd6 2.Sxa5, 1…Kd7 2.Se5, 1…Bxb5 2.Sxc7, 1…Bxf4 2.Sxf4. The two white knights act as the front pieces of four different batteries, and participate in five double-checks (the threat included). The by-play sees the white queen regaining control of the two flights while giving mate: 1…Bxd5 2.Qxd5 and 1…Sxc6 2.Qxc6.

138. Frank Ravenscroft
Chess World 1946
Mate in 2

After the key 1.Bf6!, White threatens 2.Re5. Since the threat cuts off the white bishop’s control of d4, any move by the d4-knight would defend by creating a potential flight. Each knight move induces a distinct white mate, to produce the maximum possible eight variations. 1…Se2 2.Re3, 1…Sc2 2.d3, 1…Sb3 2.Qxb1, 1…Sb5 2.Qxa8, 1…Sc6 2.Qd5, 1…Sxe6 2.Qxe6, 1…Sf5 2.R5g4, 1…Sf3 2.R3g4. In this accomplished demonstration of the knight-wheel theme, the knight causes five self-interferences, two self-blocks, and one square-clearance.

139. Geoff Foster
The Problemist 2004
Mate in 2

Set play is provided for three captures on e5: 1…Kxe5 2.Qxc3, 1…Rxe5 2.Qa4, and 1…Sxe5 2.Qg1. The thematic try 1.Bc7? attacks e5 to threaten both 2.Qa4 and 2.Qg1, and while 1…Sxe5 compels 2.Qg1, 1…Rxe5! now refutes because the try has left c5 unprotected. Similarly, 1.Sf7? entails the double queen threats, and 1…Rxe5 forces 2.Qa4, but now 1…Sxe5! is spoiling as the try has unguarded e4. The key 1.Rf3! (threat: 2.Rd5) preserves the set play, 1…Kxe5 2.Qxc3, 1…Rxe5 2.Qa4, and 1…Sxe5 2.Qg1. There’s by-play with 1…Bxf3 2.Sxf3 and 1…Rd8/Se7 2.Re4. An elegant presentation of multiple defences on the same square infused with paradoxical elements.

140. Louis Goldsmith
New York Clipper 1885
Mate in 3

An imminent stalemate occurring after 1…f6 has to be dealt with. By playing 1.Rh8! White takes the rook across the critical square g8, with the plan of placing another piece on that square to cause a self-interference. Thus after 1…f6, 2.Bg8 releases the stalemate. The bishop move has formed a battery, which the black king must walk into due to zugzwang: 2…Ke8/Kd8 3.Be6. The famous Indian theme is rendered in a neat miniature setting.

141. Frederick Bennett
The Brisbane Courier 1930
Mate in 2

The black king has three flight-taking moves, of which the one to b6 has no set mate. The try 1.Rb8? provides for it with 1…Kb6 2.Ba8, but now there’s no answer to 1…Kc4! The key 1.Ba8! (waiting) enables 1…Kb6 2.Rb8 while retaining the set play, 1…Kc4 2.Sd4 and 1…Ka4 2.Sc7. This light problem illustrates the Y-flights theme, in which three king moves form a Y-pattern and yield different white mates.

142. B. S. Horton
The Brisbane Courier 1927
Mate in 2

Set mates are prepared against all black moves except for 1…Qxh7. The delightful key 1.Reg6! (waiting) dramatically increases the mobility of the black queen by unpinning it. A random queen-move, 1…Q~, permits 2.R6g3. Five correction moves by the queen foil 2.R6g3 but elicit new mates: 1…Qxg2+ 2.Rxg2, 1…Qg4+ 2.R6xg4, 1…Qe6+ 2.Rxe6, 1…Qf5+ 2.Qxf5 (changed from 2.Bxf5), and 1…Qxg6 2.Bxg6. The remaining play is as set: 1…Bc2 2.Qxc2, 1…Sa~ 2.Qc3, 1…Sf~ 2.Rd2, and 1…b4 2.Qxa6.

143. Bertram George Fegan
The Australasian Chess Review 1930
Mate in 2

The key 1.Rg5! threatens 2.Qg7. The two black knights are half-pinned by the white bishop, so that each is liable to be fully pinned when the other moves to stop the threat. White exploits the resulting pin in three of the five knight variations: 1…Sbd7 2.Rg4, 1…Sc4 2.Sb3, 1…Sxd5 2.Rxd5, 1…Sc~ 2.Qb4, and 1…Sd3 2.Re4. Lastly, 1…Qxf3 allows 2.Sxf3.

144. Guy West
Chess in Australia 1979
Mate in 2

The sweeping key 1.Qa3! with the threat of 2.Qa8 is difficult to find, not least because it involves a triple-sacrifice of the queen. Three black pieces are diverted from their defensive positions: 1…Bxa3 2.Sf6, 1…Sxa3 (or 1…Sb~) 2.Sc7, and 1…Qxa3 2.c4. Other black queen defences enable a different mate: 1…Qxe4/Qa4 2.Qxc5 (1…Qa5 produces a dual, 2.c4/Qxc5).

145. John Lindsay Beale
Chess World 1946
Mate in 3

The aggressive key 1.Qe6! removes an unprovided flight on e7, and entails a short threat of 2.Sc6 mate. On the positive side, the white queen allows itself to be taken with check: 1…Qxe6+ 2.Sc6+ Kc8 3.Rd8. Two other defences by the black queen are answered with its capture by the white rook: 1…Qxd4+ 2.Rxd4+ Sd6 3.Rxd6 and 1…Qg1 2.Rxg1 S~ 3.Sc6. A pawnless miniature in which, oddly enough, the white queen never moves again after the key!

146. Linden Lyons
The Problemist Supplement 2011
Mate in 2

The thematic try 1.Qh1? threatens 2.Qd1, and 1…Rf1/Rf2 permits 2.Qxe4, but 1…e2! refutes. The key 1.Qg4! threatens 2.Qxe4 instead, and now 1…Rf4 is answered by 2.Qd1. The threat and mating move in the try play (2.Qd1 and 2.Qxe4) are reversed in the actual play (2.Qxe4 and 2.Qd1) following different defences – such a relationship between the two phases is known as the pseudo le Grand theme. The black knight sets off three variations: 1…Sf4 2.Qg7, 1…Sg5 2.Qd7, and 1…Sc5 2.Bc3. Two additional tries are 1.Qg1? (2.Qd1) Rf1 2.Qxe3, but 1…Rf2! and 1.Qe2? (2.Qd1) Rf1/Rf2 2.Qxe3, but 1…Sf4!

147. Vassily Lapin
Chess World 1961
Mate in 4

If the c2-knight could be eliminated, Black would be forced by zugzwang to unguard f7 and allow a knight mate. Accordingly White aims to trap and capture the black piece, starting with 1.Sa1!, which by attacking c2 takes care of the black knight’s return to that square in most variations. 1…Sb4 2.Bc4 Sa6 3.Bxa6 S~ 4.Sf7, 2…Sc6 3.dxc6, 2…Sxd5 3.Bxd5, 2…Sd3 3.Bxd3, 2…Sc2 3.Sxc2, 2…Sa2 3.Bxa2. 1…Sd4 2.Bd3 Sb3 3.Sxb3, 2…Sb5 3.Bxb5, 2…Sc6 3.dxc6, 2…Se6 3.dxe6, 2…Sf5 3.Bxf5, 2…Sxf3 3.gxf3, 2…Se2 3.Bxe2, 2…Sc2 3.S/Bxc2. 1…Sa3 2.Bd3 Sb5 3.Bxb5, 2…Sc4 3.Bxc4, 2…Sc2 3.S/Bxc2, 2…Sb1 3.Bxb1. 1…Se1 2.Bf1 Sxg2 3.Bxg2, 2…Sxf3 3.gxf3, 2…Sd3 3.Bxd3, 2…Sc2 3.Sxc2. 1…Sxa1 2.Ba4 Sb3 3.Bxb3, 2…Sc2 3.Bxc2. 1…Se3 2.dxe3 fxe3 3.Be2. The multiple captures of a black piece shown in such a variety of ways constitute the Grab theme.

148. Adrian Berkel
The Brisbane Courier 1917
4th Hon. Mention
Mate in 2

Every possible black move in the diagram has been provided with a set mate. The key 1.Rf3! (waiting) preserves all of the set play but adds a variation by sacrificing the rook to the e4-pawn. 1…exf3 2.Kd3, 1…e2 2.Kd2, 1…Qxc2+ 2.Kxc2, 1…Qb3+ 2.Kxb3, 1…Qb4+ 2.Kxb4, 1…Qxc4+ 2.Kxc4 – six white king battery mates are individually forced. 1…Qb5/Qxe8 2.Qd4, 1…Qd7 2.Sxd7, 1…Qc6 2.Kb3/Kb4, 1…Rb5 2.Sd7, 1…Rc5 2.Qxc5, 1…Rd5 2.Qxd5, 1…Sa~ 2.Qc7, 1…Sg~ 2.Qe6 (1…Sxf5 2.Qe6/Rxf5), 1…h6/h5 2.Sg6.

149. William Whyatt
Magyar Sakkelet 1966
1st Hon. Mention
Helpmate in 2
2 solutions

The two solutions are 1.Bd1 Rc7 2.Sf6 Rg7 and 1.Be1 Rc6 2.Sg6 Bf6. In each case, Black’s initial bishop move not only unpins the c1-rook but also unblocks a flight-square. The white rook must choose its first move with care to prepare for a mate that will recover the flight. Then one of the two half-pinned black knights moves so as to self-pin the other and enable a pin-mate. Simultaneously, that knight self-blocks a square in anticipation of the mating move – a white self-interference that unguards a flight. Thus we also see a sort of white Grimshaw interference between the c1-rook and h8-bishop (though they intersect on different squares, g7 and f6).

150. John James O’Keefe
Good Companions 1917
1st Prize
Mate in 2

After the key 1.Rd5!, the pinned white queen threatens to mate by moving along the pin-line: 2.Qc6. 1…Bc3 cuts off the d3-rook’s control of a3 and b3, but the defence has also unpinned the queen, enabling 2.Qxa2. 1…Bc5 is similar and by shutting off the d5-rook it forces 2.Qa6 instead. A third thematic variation, 1…Sc3 2.Qxb4, sees the white queen unpinned by interposition once more. There’s one line of by-play in this nicely constructed Meredith: 1…Re6 2.Bxc2.