Two selections from ‘Problem Potpourri’

27 Jan. 2013 | by Peter Wong

The ‘Problem Potpourri’ column in Australasian Chess continues to draw splendid works from around the world. It’s not easy to pick the highlights from so many fine originals, but here are two of the best that appeared in the year 2012.

Leonid Makaronez
Australasian Chess 2012

Mate in 3

The three-mover is by regular contributor Leonid Makaronez, an IM of composition from Israel. The subtle key 1.Bf7! contains a quiet threat, 2.Rf3 followed by 3.Bb2 (which answers 2…Ke5 too). Black’s thematic defences are distant self-blocks: 1…Sb3 2.Re4+ Kc3 3.Rc4, and 1…Rxf6 2.Rd3+ Ke5 3.Rd5. There’s lovely by-play with 1…Sc6 (which stops the threat in view of 2.Rf3? Ke5!) allowing 2.Bd2 and 3.Re4, because 2…c1=Q no longer checks. Also note that 1.Bg8? is refuted by 1…Rg6!

Christer Jonsson
Australasian Chess 2012

Helpmate in 3, 2 solutions

The helpmate is by another IM, Christer Jonsson of Sweden. The black pieces seem already well-placed to facilitate a knight mate on c2 or b3, but if White plans 1…b5 2…Sb4 3…Sc2 or 1…d3 2…Sd2 3…Sb3, Black is unable to maintain the set-up while using up three moves. Instead, Black helps to clear a path for each white knight by capturing on b4 or d2. White then has a spare move with which to sacrifice a knight to a black pawn, thereby supplying Black with a tempo move. 1.Sxb4 Sg3 2.Sa2 Sb4 3.hxg3! Sc2, and 1.Sxd2 Sf4 2.Sb1 Sd2 3.gxf4! Sb3. Since the two white knights take turns to be sacrificed and to give mate, the Zilahi theme is realised as well, besides the unusual black tempo play provision.