Set:

1...a 2.A

1...b 2.B

1.Try?

1...a 2.C

1...b 2.D

1...x!

1.Key!

1...a 2.E

1...b 2.F

There are thousands of 3x2 Zagoruikos in existence, but fewer 3x3s, and even less 3x4s, 4x2s, etc.

A nice example in miniature form. It is clear that the wQ or wR must get to the h-file to deal with KxS...but how should they approach? 1.Rc4? (Rc2? etc) (-) 1...Be5 (B any) 2.Qg6 1...Kxh6 2.Rh4 1...Bg7! 1.Qc4? (Qa4) (-) 1...Be5 (B any) 2.Qe4 1...Kxh6 2.Qh4 1...Bd4! Finally it is clear that the wQ should approach the h-file along a white square diagonal. 1.Qc8! (-) 1...Be5 2.Qf5 1...Kxh5 2.Qh3s |

Stocchi made several Zagoruikos and can be credited with popularizing the theme. Here the two thematic defenses are both interferences 1...g6 and 1...Bb2, both placing guard on d4 but interfering with the bRs. 1...g6 2.Se6 1...Bb2 2.Sb3 1.Sf5? (>2.Qd4) 1...g6 2.Bd6 1...Bb2 2.Bb6 1...Rb4! The refutation gives a hint to the key which places guard on b4. 1.Sc2! (>2.Qd4) 1...g6 2.Qxc6 1...Bb2 2.Qb4 1...Sb4 2.Qc4 1...cxd5 2.Sd3 |

Quite possibly one of the most outstanding Zagoruikos, let alone, two-movers ever by the great Russian composer. One can criticize the unprovided flight, but it is necessary for the mechanism to work. 1...Rxd5 2.Qc2 1...Sxd5 2.Bxf5 To handle the flight KxR White must move the wS on d4. Doing so creates a threat of Rd4. 1.Se6? (>2.Rd4) 1...Rxd5 2.Sg5 1...Sxd5 2.Sxc5 1...f4! 1.Sxf5? (2.Rd4) 1...Rxd5 2.Qxe3 1...Sxd5 2.Sd6 1...Sd7! 1.Sc6! (2.Rd4) 1...Rxd5 2.Sg5 1...Sxd5 2.Sd2 1...Kxd5 2.Qd3 1...Rc4 2.Re5 A 4x2 Zagoruiko! Perfection on a chess board. |

Here's one by the man himself. A nice open near Meredith with interference changes. Chunky pieces with no white pawns. 1...Sc2 2.Bc6 1...Sf3 2.Bf7 1.Se6? (>2.Qd4) 1...Sc2 2.Sc7 1...Sf3 2.Sf4 1...Rc4! 1.Sb3? (>2.Qd4) 1...Sc2 2.Qc5 1...Sf3 2.Qe4 (this time the bS interferes with the bB) 1.Se2! (>2.Qd4) 1...Sc2 2.Sc3 1...Sf3 2.Sf4 1...Rc4 2.Qd6 Excellent work. |

An ambitious Zagoruiko in block form with flight giving try and key. 1...e2 2.Bd4 1...b5 2.Re6 1...Sf4 2.Qg7 1...Sf6 2.Qg3 1.Rd6? (-) 1...e2 2.Re6 1...b5 2.Sd7 1...Sf4 2.Qf6 1...Sf6 2.Qg3 1...bxc5! 1.Rd4! (-) 1...e2 2.Sd7 1...b5 2.Re4 1...Sf6 2.Qf4 1...Sf4 2.Qg7 1...Sb~ 2.Rd5 This is what is called a reduced Zagoruiko because the mate Sd7 is transferred between different defenses, that is, a 3x2 Zagoruiko should have 6 different mates after the defenses, but this one only has 5. |

Here is another form of reduced Zagoruiko the cyclic Zagoruiko or Rice cycle after J.M. Rice's famous problem (Problem 37th TT 1961 yacpdb.org/#371177). The pattern is the following: 1st phase 1...x 2.A 1...y 2.B 2nd phase 1...x 2.B 1...y 2.C 3rd phase 1...x 2.C 1...y 2.A This problem also shows what is called the Ellerman-Makarov theme: there are three set mates for 1...Ke6 and the tries each separate these mates. 1...Ke6 2.Qxb3/Qe3/Qf4 But there are no mates set for random moves of the bS. 1.Ra3? (-) 1...Ke6 2.Qf4 1...S~ 2.Qxb3 1...Se3! 1.Bh6? (-) 1...Ke6 2.Qxb3 1...S~ 2.Qe3 1...Sf4! 1.Sf2! (-) 1...Ke6 2.Qe3 1...S~ 2.Qf4 1...e5 2.Rxd5 1...f4 2.Qe4 The idea is that to compensate for random moves of the bS White must give up guard of a square in the bK's extended field. This will determine which mate works after 1...Ke6. If not for the unused wBh1 post-key this would be probably the best problem on this entire blog. |

This is a Zagoruiko in three move form. The key 1.Qxc6 threatens 2.e5+ Be4 3.Rf1. Black can defend by moving the bRb7 to open the bQ's line, but each move will interfere with the bB or bQ in some way and the thematic defenses are 2...Qxe4 and 2...Kxe4. 1.Qxc6! (>2.e5+ Be4 3. Rf1) 1...Rb6 2.Qc5 (>3.Qe3) 2...Kxe4 3.Rg3 2...Qxe4 3.Qf2 1...Rxa7 2.Qxb5 (>3.Qe2) 2...Kxe4 3.Rg4 2...Qxe4 3.Qf1 1...Rb8 2.Qd7 (>3.Qg4) 2...Kxe4 3.Re2 2...Qxe4 3.Qh3 1...Rxc7 2.Qd6 (>3.Qf4) 2...Kxe4 3.Rf2 2...Qxe4 3.Qg3 An amazing problem. Interestingly, this play is shown as in multiphase form in the following two-mover by Lobusov (The Problemist 1976 yacpdb.org/#30150) |

One of the greatest achievements in the Zagoruiko framework: a 3x4. The wQ is adroitly placed for 4 set mates, these are changed in the try and then changed again after the key. 1...c5 2.Qa8 1...e5 2.Qg8 1...Rxg2 2.Qxd6 1...cxd2 2.Rc5 1.Qf6? (>2.Qd4) 1...c5 2.Sb4 1...e5 2.Qf7 1...Rxg2 2.Qxf3 1...cxd2 2.Sf4 1...Rg4! 1.Qb6! (>2.Qd4) 1...c5 2.Qb7 1...e5 2.Sf4 1...Rxg2 (Rg4) 2.Sb4 1...cxd2 2.Qxc6 |

Finally here is my only Zagoruiko - which pales in comparison to the above problems. The problem is a zeroposition which means the diagram is not for solving but must be altered. The twinnings are: (a) bRc1 > g3 (b) wRe1 > d1 (c) wBg7 > f8 The problem was entered in a theme tourney for Newotny (New ideas in the Novotny) in honor of John Rice, Barry Barnes, Michael Lipton, and Colin Sydenham's 80th birthdays and received a commendation. The judge Wieland Burch writes: "The same key and the same defenses three times over – not something that’s usually desirable... But here this gives rise to three distinct types of Nowotny: first the standard form, then a paradoxical Nowotny with reciprocal change of the mates, and finally a Romanian Nowotny with the captures as total defenses The result is a 3x2 Zagoruiko." (a) 1.d4! (>2.Qc4,Qe5) 1...Bxd4 2.Qc4 1...Rxd4 2.Qe5 (b) 1.d4! (>2.Qc4,Qe5) 1...Bxd4 2.Qe5 1...Rxd4 2.Qc4 (b) 1.d4! (>2.Qc4,Qe5) 1...Bxd4 2.Sb4 1...Rxd4 2.Sf6 |

Starting out with one of my own which I think is quite nice. The key is obvious but does allow two checks. This has a definite theme: Karstrom-Fleck. The key makes 3 threats which are each individually forced and there are three total defenses. 1.Kc2! (2.Be2/Bd3/Bxc4) 1...Be2 2.Bxe2 1...Bd3+ 2.Bxd3 1...Ba6 2.Bc4 1...Bb3+ 2.axb3 1...Bd5 2.Bg2 1...Bxf2 2.Rxf2 Six mates, five of them with batteries, in a miniature. |

Here is a classic. The problem is a complete block: 1...B~ 2.Q(x)c2 1...S~ 2.Q(x)d2 1...c3 2.Qb5 The key gives a flight threatens a mate thus making it a block-threat. 1.Rg2! (>2.Qd4) 1...Ke3/c3 2.Qe2 1...Sd2 2.Qxd2 1...Sf2 2.Rg3 Two observations about this problem. First, it is a nice exercise to see why the wR has to go to g2 for the key instead of say h2. Second, it has a minor dual after 1...Sc3 2.Qd2/Rg3. |

Another classic from the great American composer. The key-piece is out-of-play but there changed mate, corner to corner wQ mates, Black correction, and accurate play. The wS could be a wP, but that is a matter of taste. 1.Ra7 (-) 1...Kxa2 2.Rxa6 1...B~ 2.Qh8 1...Bc8 2.Qa1 |

One good Shinkman deserves another. Composing in the early 1900 must have been nice when simple, neat ideas like this were still possible. Here the wR takes the LONG way around the board back to its original square. 1.Rh8 (>2.a8=Q) 1...Kxa7 2.Rxh1 Rb8 3.Ra1 Rc8 4.Ra8 |

Here is a beautiful idea by the late American miniaturist Bob Lincoln (1937-2017) who composed thousands of miniatures. This one is really special with battery mates and an unusual aspect: change of rear battery piece. 1.Re5? (-) 1...B~ 2.Re1 1...Bg3 2.hxg3 1...Bf2! Of course the best play is reserved for post key. Changed mates after a flight giving, sacrificial key. 1.Rg3! (-) 1...B~ 2.Rg1 1...Bxg3 2.hxg3 1...Kxg2 2.Rxg4 The problem won first prize in a tournament for miniatures with battery play. |

This might be one of the greatest two move miniatures of all time (IMO). It was an inspiration for my problem above. Notice the moves of the bR north, including the set check, have a response with a battery mate. 1...Re~ (Re2+) 2.B(x)e2 1...Rxd1 2.Qxd1 1.Qh8! (2.Re4/Re3/Re2/Rxe1) 1...Re4 2.Rxe4 1...Re3 2.Rxe3 1...Re2+ 2.Rxe2 1...Rxd1 2.Re1 1...Rf1 2.Rf5 1...Rg1 2.Rg5 1...Rh1 2.Rh5 1...Rxe5 2.Qxe5 Absolutely amazing! A perfect Karlstrom-Fleck with 4 threats and 4 total defenses separated by exactly that many moves. Two changed mates from the set play and a corner to corner wQ key. One may criticize the out-of-play wR which begs to form a battery, but that is it. |

One of the few miniatures in an FIDE album. A beautiful corner to corner key and some nice distant self-blocks. 1.Bh8! (-) 1...c6 2.Re5+ Kd6 3.Qe7 1...c5 2.Rb6+ Kd5 3.Qd3 1...Kd6 2.Qf7 (-) 2...Kc6 3.Qd5 2...c6 3.Be5 2...c5 3.Rb6 Nice variety in a beautiful open position. |

Now for something mathematical. The key makes three threats and the Black moves allow all possible combinations of the threats. Mathematically if we have three threats A,B, and C the possible combinations are {A}, {B}, {C}, {A,B}, {A,C}, {B,C}, {A,B,C}, \(\varnothing\). 1.Ke2! (2.Qe3/Qe5/Qg4) 1...Sg6 2.Qe3 1...Sg2 2.Qe5 1...Sf3 2.Qg4 1...f5 2.Qe3/Qe5 1...f6 2.Qe3/Qg4 1...Sf5 2.Qe5/Qg4 1...g4 2.Qe3/Qe5/Qg4 1...Kd4 2.Qd3 |

Click to set custom HTML

Here is something beautiful and possibly one of my best. The idea of R+B and B+R batteries is well worked in helpmates. But this seems to be a perfect form of the idea. One piece performs all moves in each solution. 1...Bb1 2.Rd7 Bg6 3.Be5 Bf7 1...Rh3 2.Be5 Rb3 3.Rd7 Rb6 A very high risk of anticipation and there are some front runners, but overall very elegant. |

Here is a clear example. The bK has a flight d5 and capturing the wR leads to 1...Kxd5 2.Qf3 1...Bxd5 2.Sd2. Notice that the wBd4 plays an important role guarding e3 and e4. As soon as the wB moves it threatens Rd4 but relinquishes guard on at least one of these squares. 1.B~ (say Bc5) >2.Rd4 but 1...Bxd5! However, the wB can provide for this mate by cutting into Black's lines. 1.Be5? corrects by blocking the bBb8 guard on f4. However this also blocks the wR's access to e5. 1.Be5!? >2.Rd4 1...Bxd5 2.Qxe4 but 1...Ba7! We can keep going up 1.Bf6? now blocks the bR guard to f5 but obstructs the wSh7. 1.Bf6!!? >2.Rd4 1...Bxd5 2.Bxf5 but 1...Rd8! Finally the square g7 does it by blocking the bRg8's line. 1.Bg7! >2.Rd4 1...Bxd5 2.Sg5 1...Kxd5 2.Qf3 1...Ba7 2.Re5 1...Rd8 2.Sf6 |

Another memorable problem from the great two-move composer. Not the prettiest position but the beauty is in the logic it displays. There are three relevant set mates: 1...Sf6 2.Qxf6 1...Bxc4 2.Re3 1...gxf5 2.Qe3 A random move of the knight on d5 creates a threat of Rd5 but commits the error of unguarding f4. 1.Sd~ (>2.Rd5) but 1...Sf6! Now the correction begins. 1.Sc3!? (>2.Rd5) 1...Sf6 2.Bg4 but 1...Bxc4! (Re3?) The problem was that key piece blocked the masked line of the wRa3. 1.Sf4!? (extra guard on e6) >2.Rd5 1...Sf6 2.Bxg6 but 1...gxf5! (Qe3) The two tries fail by blocking the wR's and wQ's access to e3. Surprisingly the key commits both of these errors! 1.Se3! (extra guard on f5) >2.Rd5 1...Sf6 2.Qxg3 1...Bxc4 2.Sxc4 1...gxf5 2.Qxf5 1...fxe6 2.Bxg6 1...dxe6 2.Ra5 1...Sf4 2.Qf6 |

The above two problems had more of a pure form of White correction in the sense that there was a set mate to the general refutation. Often this requirement is relaxed. Consider the following problem. A random move of the wSe5 creates two threats: 2.Qe5/Qe6. These threats also have two refutations: 1...Re1/Bf1. The specific moves 1.Sd7? and 1.Sf7? hand 1...Re1 but not 1...Bf1!. Instead the wS must cut into the e2-a6 diagonal. 1.Sd3? (2.Qe5 only) 1...Re1 2.Sb4 1...Qxf4 2.Sxf4 1...Be4! (Qc4?) 1.Sc4! (2.Qe6 only) 1...Re1 2.Sxb6 1...Be4 2.Se3 1...Qh6 2.Qxg2 |

The great Italian composer offers a nice example. 1.S~ (2.Qxe7) 1...Re1 2.Be4 1...Qe1 2.g5 1...Se6! 1.Sc5!? (2.Qxe7) 1...Se6 2.Sd7 1...Re1! 1.Sg5!? (2.Qxe7) 1...Se6 2.Sh7 1...Qe1! Finally the flight granting key works and changes both replies to 1...Re1,Qe1. 1.Sf4! (2.Qxe7) 1...Se6 2.Rxg6 1...Re1 2.Sd5 1...Qe1 2.Sh5 |

The master of correction play offers a three fold arrival form of correction. Marjan Kovacevic selects this as one of his favorite British #2 problems. The point is that a dummy piece on e3 creates the threat 2.Sf4. However each arrival of such piece destroys a set mate. Set: 1...Sh5 2.e4 1...Bxd3 2.Rxd3 1...Rxb4 2.Sxb4 However, the problem is more subtle. Each try actually destroys two set mates but changes one and is refuted by the other. 1.e3? (>2.Sf4) 1...Sh5 2.e4 1...Bxd3 2.Qxd3 1...Rxb4! 1...Re3? (>2.Sf4) 1...Bxd3 2.Rxd3 1...Rxb4 2.Bxc6 1...Sh5! 1...Be3? (2.Sf4) 1...Rxb4 2.Sxb4 1...Sh5 2.Qf3 1...Bxd3! Finally, the wQ imposes a pinning threat and the three mates are preserved. 1.Qd1! (>2.Sf4) 1...Sh5 2.e4 1...Bxd3 2.Rxd3 1...Rxb4 2.Sxb4 I guess my only dislike is that there are not more changes after the key, but overall a wonderful problem. |

Here is an outstanding problem that combines White and Black correction. The White correction is departure based while the Black correction is arrival based. Both White correction moves give a flight. Excellent work. Placing the wK must have been a struggle! 1.S~? (>2.Qg5) 1...Re5 2.Qf3 1...Sde5 2.Qxd2 1...Sce5! 1.Sg3? (>2.Qg5) 1...Sce5 2.Se2 1...Sde5! 1.Sd4! (>2.Qg5) 1...Sde5 2.Qe4 1...Sce5 2.Se2 |

Here is another Christopher Reeves masterpiece. This time we have reciprocal White correction perfectly unified with a White and Black Grimshaw unpinning defense. Beautiful work. 1...Bb5 2.Sb6 1...Rb5 2.dxc4 1.Rg~? (>2.Qe6) 1...Bb5 2.Sb6 1...Rb5! (2.dxc4?) 1.Rf4? (>2.Qe6) 1...Rb5 2.dxc4 1...Bb5! (Sb6?) 1.Bg~? (>2.Qf3) 1...Rb5 2.dxc4 1...Bb5! 1.Bf4? (>2.Qf3) 1...Bb5 2.Sb6 1...Rb5! 1.Bh2! |

Finally, here is my offering with a light 14 pieces. I was fortunate on this to work with the expert D. Shire who basically remade one of my earlier problems. We were able to obtain two obstruction tries and an obstruction key with a beautiful Grimshaw changed to a white interference mate. 1...Rxe5 2.Qd3 1...Bxe5 2.Qf3 1...Re6 2.Bxb7 1.Se~ (>2.Qxd6) 1...Rxe5 2.Qd3 1...Bxe5 2.Qf3 1...Re6 2.Bxb7 1...Rg8 2.Qxg8 1...Sxc7! 1.Sf7!? (>2.Qxd6) placing extra guard on d6 1...Rg8! (Qxg8?) 1.Sc6!!? (>2.Qxd6) 1...Sxc7 2.Sb4 1...Re6! (Bxb7?) 1.Sd3! (>2.Qxd6) the key obstructs Qd3 but changes it. 1...Sxc7 2.Sb4 1...Rxe5 2.Sf4 1...Bxe5 2.Qf3 1...Re6 2.Bxb7 1...Rg8 2.Qxg8 |

What better way to start out than with a Loyd miniature. The excellent flight-giving, sacrificial key puts Black in Zugzwang: 1.Re!! If the bB is lifted off of the board then White can mate with Qg1. The bB can correct by moving to g2 and prevent this mate. However this move self-blocks and allows 2.Qh4. 1.Re1 (-) 1...B~ 2.Qg1 1...Bg2 2.Qg4 1...Kxe1 2.Qd2 |

Here is a textbook example that Mansfield used to demonstrate Black correction in his classic book Adventures in Composition. The key 1.Re8! threatens 2.Qxd5. Movement of the d5 knight obviously defeats the threat. However, it also makes the error of opening the wQ's guard to c4 thus freeing the wSa3 and allowing 2.Sxc2. The d5 knight can correct this error by landing on b4 and guarding c2, but this interferes with the bRb3 yielding 2.Sb5. The d5 knight has a second correction 1...Se3, this time self-blocking and succumbing to 2.Be5. There is a more parallel correction play by the bSe4. 1...Se~ 2.Sxb3, 1...Sd2 2.Se2. |

Here is a problem that I was recently made aware of in David Shire's article on Tikkanen in the September 2017 issue of The Problemist. Notice there are several ambushed white pieces aimed at the bK's flights. This one, with its waiting key, would be very difficult for me to solve. The three mobile black pieces each open guard and correct by self-blocking. 1.Qf8! (-) 1...R~ 2.Qd6 1...Rxe6 2.Qc5 1...Se~ 2.Qa8 1...Sc6 2.Sxc3 1...Sc~ 2.Rxe5 1...Sxe4 2.Sc7 1...Kxe6 2.Qf7 Outstanding use of the bK flights and self-blocks. |

Another Mansfield classic with an outstanding key and subtle threat. This time correction play is seen from both the bSg4 and bBg6. The idea is that these two pieces clear the way for the double check from the R+B battery. However, they can play onto the battery lines to correct this, only to interfere with other pieces. 1.Rh1! (>2.hxg4) 1...Bg~ 2.Be8 1...Bf7 2.Qf5 1...Bf5 2.Sf4 1...Sg~ 2.Be2 1...Se5 2.Sg7 1...Qxh1 2.Qh4 A classic! |

Another classic from a French expert on correction play. The problem shows three changed mates after correction moves. The problem is an excellent light-weight.Set: 1...Sd~ 2.Qe5 1...Sf7 2.Sf6 1...Sc4 2.Rd4 1.Qxb6! (>2.Sc5) 1...Sd~ 2.Qe6 1...Sf7 2.Qg6 1...Sc4 2.Qd4 Wonderful changes and some beautiful by-play: 1...Qc8 2.Sxd6 1...Rc4 2.Qb1. |

Here is one of my earlier compositions showing the four-way formula where the key move sets up the following effects: 1. the opening of a Black line defeating the threat, 2. the opening of a White line creating a new contingent threat 3. the closing of a White line defeating the contingent threat 4. the closing of a Black line allowing mate. 1.Bf6! (>2.Se7) 1...Sh4 (Sh~) 2.Qg4 1...Sf4 2.Rxg5 1...Bf4 2.e4 1...Sd5 2.Bc2 Looking back on the problem I wish I would have moved wSd7 to g8 and the wK to a8. Giving the extra variation 1...gxf6 2.Sgf7. |

Here is an example of quaternary black correction. The key 1.Qf8 threatens 2.Se7. From here the idea is that a black piece on d5 will self-block and allow additional threats. 1...Bd5 does just that allowing 2.Qc8. 1...Scd5 defeats the original threat and the contingent threat but allows 2.Rxc4. 1...Sbd5 defeats the original threat 2.Se7, the first contingent threat 2.Qc8, the second contingent threat 2.Rxc4, but allows 2.Sb8. Finally, 1...d5 defeats all of the above threats but now allows 2.Qc5. 1.Qc8 (>2.Se7) 1...Bd5 2.Qc8 1...Scd5 2.Rxc4 (2.Qc8?) 1...Sbd5 2.Sb8 (2.Rxc4? Qc8?) 1...d5 2.Qc5 (2.Sb8? Rxc4? Qc8?) |

Here is what one of the solvers called a superb example of a dying breed: an incomplete waiter. In the diagram White must do something about 1...Sc~ and 1...Rxc6. Placing guard on d6 will help. 1.c8=S? (-) 1...Rf6! 1.Be7! (-) 1...Rf~ 2.Qxe6 1...Rf6 2.Bd6 1...Rh5+ 2.Qxh5 1...Sc~ 2.Rc5 1...Sd5 2.Sg6 1...Se4 2.d4 1...Rb~ 2.Rxe6 1...Rxc6 2.Sxc6 1...Rb8+ 2.cxb8=Q 1...Sa~ 2.Sc4 Three black pieces with two correction moves each. |

The key makes three threats and Black has three knight moves - each which neatly dictates which of the individual threats will work. 1.Kd3! (>2.Bd4/Bf4/Rh5) 1...Sh3 2.Bd4 1...Sf3 2.Bf4 1...Se2 2.Rh5 Notice there is a 1-1 correspondence between the number of Black's moves and the number of threats - this sometimes referred to as an ideal Fleck. |

Here we have quite possible the economy record for a Fleck. 7 threats separated by the moves of Black and only 6 pieces. Some people have suggested adding a wP on a7 to make it an ideal Fleck. The key is obvious due to the unprovided check 1...Ra1+, but you cannot argue with the economy for such a task. 1.Rh8! (>2.B any) 1...Rh1 2.Bh6 1...Rg1 2.Bg7 1...Re1 2.Be7 1...Rd1/Kb8 2.Bd6 1...Rc1 2.Bc5 1...Rb1 2.Bb4 1...Ra1+ 2.Ba3 |

Here is what appears to be the (non-battery) record for a Fleck. The flight taking key sets up eight threats which are nicely differentiated: 1.b5! (>2.Qb3/Qd3/Qd6/Qe5/Rd1/R1e5/R8e5/Rd8) 1...Bxb2 2.Qb3 1...Rxb2 2.Qd3 1...axb5 2.Qd6 1...Rxa3 2.Qe5 1...Sf7 2.Rd1 1...Se6 2.R1e5 1...Se4 2.R8e5 1...Sf3 2.Rd8 This problem is one of my favorites because of the open position and differentiation. |

Now we come to what is called a secondary Fleck. The key makes a single threat. If the bS on e5 is lifted off the board then there are 6 mates available. However, wherever the bS lands only one of the mates works. Beautiful differentiation. 1.Qd7 (>2.Qf5) 1...Se~ (2.Qh3/Qf7/Qd5/Qd3/Qd1/Rg3) 1...Sg6 2.Qh3 1...Sf7+ 2.Qxf7 1...Sg4 2.Qd5 1...Sd3 2.Qd3 1...Sc4 2.Qd1 1...Sxd7 2.Rg3 The mate 1...Sxc6+ 2.Qxc6 is what is known as an elimination mate or total defense: it eliminates all of the threats. |

Stocchi pulls off a primary and secondary Fleck. 1.Qxe5! (>2.Qf5/Qg3/Qf4) 1...Se2 2.Qf5 1...S1h3 2.Qg3 1...Rxh4 2.Qf4 So the three threats are separated. A random move of the bSg5 defeats all threats by pinning the wQ. Now, there are 3 mates 1...S5~ (2.Qxh5/Bxh5/Rxe4) which are forced by the landing spots of the bS. 1...Sh3 2.Qxh5 1...Sxe6 2.Bxh5 1...Sf7 2.Rxe4 |

At the age of 71 Mansfield had something to say about the Fleck theme. Here the traditionalist comes through with a modern problem. This time the Fleck is impure - there are Black moves that allow duals, otherwise known as a partial Fleck. The key makes eight threats that are forced by eight 'best' moves for Black. .1.Sdf4! (2.Qb5/Qc5/Qd5/Qe4/Qd3/Qc2/Re4/Se5) 1...Rxf4 2.Qb5 1...Bxb7 2.Qc5 1...Qxe3 2.Qd5 1...Bxf4 2.Qe4 1...Bf6 2.Qd3 1...axb4 2.Qc2 1...Sxb7 2.Re4 1...Sxf5 2.Se5 |

Here is another partial Fleck. The key makes six threats, but this time there are six Black moves that separate the threats. However, all other Black moves intentionally allow all six threats, not duals, triples, quadruples, or quintuples. The judge of the tourney, Barry Barnes, coined the term essential Fleck. I'll leave it to you to figure out what these moves are. |

Here is one of my experiments with the Fleck theme. By looking at the problem you can see that the Fleck will have to be partial. Here I offer a combination of Novotny and Fleck. 1.e4! (>2.Rb2/f3/Rxd4/f4) 1...Rxe4 2.Rb2 1...Bxe4 2.f3 1...cxd5 2.Rxd4 1...Qd5 2.f4 1...dxe3 e.p. 2.fxe3 I like the way the threats Rxd4 and f4 are forced and the elimination en passant defense. |

Finally, here is the only pure Fleck problem that I have made. A king on its home square with the ability to castle has the ability to make four mates (including the castle). This ideal Fleck with these four mates. There is also a nice little try 1.Bf2? c3! 1.Bh2! (>2.Kd2/Ke2/Kf2/0-0) 1...cxd4 2.Kd2 1...Kc1 2.Ke2 1...c3 2.Kf2 1...Rxb2 2.0-0 The problem is after Milan Velimirovic's problem www.yacpdb.org/#26857, which shows a Fleck with these four mates and uses similar mechanisms. My problem is more economic and demonstrates an ideal Fleck, whereas Velimirovic's has Black duals. |

From White to Green, this problem achieves a castling key in mutate form. The wK has an active role in both the set and post key play. The changes have a reciprocal feel to them with capture/self-block interchanged. 1...Bxh3 2.Rxh3 1...Bxf3 2.Sf1 1.0-0! (-) 1...Bxh3 2.Sxh5 1...Bxf3 2.Rxf3 |

This problem shows some nice battery play with the wK walking into a couple checks, and changed play after a flight giving castle try and key. 1.0-0? (2.Rfe1/Rae1) 1...Ke4+ 2.Sc5 1...Ke2+ 2.Sd4 but 1...bxc4! 1.0-0-0! (2.Rhe1/Rde1) 1...Ke4+ 2.Sg5 1...Ke2+ 2.Sf4 1...Sd4 2.Sxd4 |

Here is a nice twinning that uses a retro trick to accomplish long and short castling. Black is in stalemate and must be relieved. a) 1.Sg4! 1...Kxh1 2.Kf2 1...Kxf3 2.0-0 b) 1.Sg4? 1...Kxf3! (0-0?) 1.0-0-0 Kxf2 2.Rh2 The reason why Black cannot short castle in part (b) is that the bK must have made the last move to g2 and this can only have happened if the wRh1 had moved previously. |

Here's a problem that probably would have been well received if it was composed in the late 1800's. As is, it is not that interesting. It appeals to me because of the nice withdrawal key that gives two flights. I also like how the bR self-blocks on d8 for two different mates. 1.Ba3! (2.Qd7) 1...Rd8 2.Rxe2 1...0-0-0 2.Qb2 1...Ra7 2.Rb8 1...Re7 2.Qxe7 |

We now embark on some of my problems that involve castling. Here I was able to use an idea of Barry Barnes to show half-battery with a partial Fleck theme in each part. a) 1.Sb3! (2.Ke2/Kd2/0-0-0) 1...Qd5 2.Ke2 1...Qf3 2.Kd2 1...Qg2 2.0-0-0 b) 1.Kb5! (2.Sb8/Sc7/Sc5/Sb4) 1...Qxh8 2.Sb8 1...Bf6 2.Sc7 1...Qe5 2.Sc5 1...Qb2+ 2.Sb4 |

Here the half-battery/Fleck/castle scheme is put to use to show the Banny theme: 1.A? but 1...a!, 1.B? but 1...b! 1.Key 1...a 2.B, 1...b 2.A. The Banny theme is a reversal pattern theme that is interesting but not paradoxical due to the switch of mates. 1.Sf3? A (2.Ke2/Kf2) 1...Qxh7 2.0-0 1...Kc1! a 1.Se2? B (2.Kf2) 1...Qxh7 2.0-0 1...Qf5 2.Qxf5 1...Rf6! b 1.Kf2! (2.Se2/Sf3/Sg3) 1...Qxh7 2.Sg3 1...Kc1 a 2.Se2 B 1...Rf6+ b 2.Sf3 A |

Here is a problem that I was recently made aware of in David Shire's recent article in the Problemist Supplement on the Albino theme. This is an absolute masterpiece in my mind. There are two important set mates 1...Qxc5 2.c4 and 1...Sd2 2.Rxe3. The capture key sets up three batteries and changes these mates. Sit back and enjoy the show. 1.Sxe3! (2.Qxc4) 1...Qxc5 2.c3 (c4?) 1...Qd3 2.cxd3 1...Qb3 2.cxb3 1...Qb5 2.c4 a complete Albino theme at this point of the solution 1...Sd2 2.Sxc4 1...Qa2 2.Sxf1 1...Sf3 2.Bg5 1...Rd8 2.Bxh2 Beautiful battery couplets. 1...Qd4 2.Qf5 (self-block) 1...Qd5 2.Qxd5 1...Rc6 2.Qe5 An absolutely stunning problem. |

I have always admired Barry's problems and this is one of my favorites. It is on the cover of his must read autobiographical book: Barnes about chess problems. A beautiful cross checker in Meredith with a key that puts the wK on the firing line. 1.Kc3! (2.Qc4) 1...Bxf2+ 2.Sf3 1...Bd4+ 2.Sed3 1...Bf4+ (else) 2.Sfe3 1...Rb6+ 2.Qxb6 1...Kd4 2.Nxc6 |

Here is another beauty from the British octogenarian. The problem has 5 battery mates including the Arguelles theme: passive and active interference this time between the bQ and bP. 1.Qa4! (2.Sf4) 1...Qh4 2.Bf4 1...e5 2.Bf8 1...Kd2 2.Bb4 1...Qxh2+ 2.Bxh2 1...Qe5 2.Bxe5 1...Qh6 2.Qd4 1...Rb4 2.Qc2 |

Here is a light weight problem with some battery play. It looks like it might be a half-battery problem but it turns out to be a block set up by a nice flight giving key. The wK acts a backstop 1.Be6! 1...Kb5 2.Bd7 1...b5 2.Rxa3 1...a5 2.Bxa3 1...Bb2 2.Bc3 1...Bc1 2.Bd2 1...Bxb4 2.Qxb4 |

Here is an attractive open position with a mirrored bK and no pawns. All of the variations are set but I like the wQ sacrifice, threat, and the three battery mates that each unpin the wB. 1.Qb7! (2.Qh7) 1...Qxb7 2.Bxb7 1...Qe8+ 2.Bf7 1...Qb4 2.Be4 1...Qxd5+ 2.Qxd5 1...Rb4 2.Rc3 |

Here's another open Meredith position. This has ended up being one of my favorite compositions despite the dual after 1...Qg4 (luckily it is minor dual because these two mates are separated). The key unpins the bQ and allows her to do some damage with 3 checking variations. The cross-checks and active wQ were pleasing to me as well. 1.Qh5! (2.Qe2) 1...Qb6+ 2.Sc5 1...Qh3+ 2.Sg3 1...Qd7 2.Sd6 1...Qxe4+ 2.Rxe4 1...Qd5 2.Qxd5 1...Sc5 2.Qxc5 1...Bd1 2.Qb5 |

Here is one of my first award winners - 2nd HM in the The Problemist. The problem is a modern try problem and is overall very clean with the Albino, Sushkov, and Barnes themes. The problem also features wonderful line play and obstruction tries. Notice that if we remove the wP then there is a double threat by the R+S battery. 1...f2 2.Sxd3 1.e4? (>2.Sxd3/Sxf3) 1...d2 2.Bxa6 1...f2! (2.Sxd3?) A nice try that closes an already closed line of guard of wB a7. 1.e3? (>2.Sxd3/Sxf3) 1...f2 2.Sxd3 1...d2! (2.Bxa6?) Here the try grants a flight by closing the other wB's line, but this turns out to be a problem later on. 1.exd3? (>2.Sxf3) 1...Bxd3+ 2.Sxd3 1...f2! This time the check granting try is defeated not by line closure but because of square obstruction: d3 is the only place for the wSe1 to go after f2. 1.exf3! (>2.Sxd3) 1...Sxf3 2.Sxf3 1...d2 2.Bxa6 1...Sxg2 2.Sxg3 This is a personal favorite that has a funny story associated to it. Do you notice anything suspicious about the problem? That's right the wBb7 is promoted! I originally had a wS on g2 but switched last minute. Of course this has an easy fix: shift the pieces in the d-h files left one file and bring the cluster of bishops down a rank. David Shire writes: 1.e3?, 1.exd3? and 1.exf3 defines a Barnes pattern, 1.e4? completes the Albino set. The pre-closing of b7-g2 is exquisite; indeed the line-effects across the entire solution are quite admirable. |

I consider this beauty to be my best problem. It only won a commendation, but I am still extremely proud of it. This is still a feat in the high quality French magazine. Again we have a light and fluffy 13 pieces. A square vacating move of the wRd5 induces 2 threats: 2.Qxb4/Qd5, but the wR also controls the flight b5 so it should probably stay on the 5th rank. The tries 1.Ra5,Rb5,Rc5+ have trivial defeats and so the rook must head east. Let's try to move the wR all the way to g5. 1.Rg5? (2.Qxb4/Qd5) 1...f5! The bP shuts the door on the wR and defeats both threats. Now the fun begins. The only two squares left for the wR to go are e5 and f5 but these will interfere with the wBs. Let's try e5. 1.Re5? (2.Qxb4) 1...Rc3 2.Qd5 1...f5 2.Bg8 1...Ra4/Rxa6 2.Qd3 1...Bc5 2.Rxc5 1...Rb3! This blocks the wBh8's guard on c3 so only the threat 2.Qxb4 works because the wQ must retain guard of c3. We say that 2.Qd5? is an avoided threat. However, the bR can block the wQ's path 1...Rc3 but selfblocks leading to the avoided threat 2.Qd5. I also absolutely love the defense 1...f5 which closes the other wB's line hence defeating the threat, but opens the way for the wBh7. Finally, the f5 square should do the trick. 1.Rf5! (2.Qd5) 1...Rd3 2.Qxb4 1...f6 2.Bg8 1...Ra5 2.Qc2 1...Bc5 2.Rxc5 1...Bd4 2.Qxd4 This time the wR closes the other wB's line to d3 thus threatening the avoided mate (2.Qd5) from the try and avoiding the original threat (2.Qxb4?) from the try completing the Barnes theme (1st try makes a double threat A and B, 2nd try threatens A only, and third try threatens B only). In addition, the threat from the try 2.Qxb4 becomes a variation after 1...Rd3 now selfblock a square that had triple guard in the diagrammed position. This completes a special form of the pseudo Le Grand theme known as the Sushkov theme. The mate Bg8 is transferred to the different defense 1...f6. I still cannot believe I made such a beautiful problem. By the way, in the original version I have wK on h1 and bB on b6, but this version avoids the dual try 1.Rg5,Rh5? |

This problem arise from my studies in to changing a check. We have a complete half-pin set up with convincing set play. 1...Qxe4+/fxe4 2.Rxe4 1...f4 2.Shf6 Notice that the double check Sef6 is lurking after any unpin of wSe4. Let's try to unpin wSe4 by moving the wK which has 3 reasonable moves. 1.Kf1? (>2.Sef6) 1...Qc4+! 1.Ke1? (>2.Sef6) 1...Qb3+! 1.Kd2 (>2.Sef6) 1...Qa2+! We have a little wK vs bQ duel. Some would say that the checking refutations are strong, but they are an integral part of the problem. Instead, the key completely abandons the half-pin and set play. 1.Qb5! (>2.Qe2) 1...Qxe4+ 2.Qe2 (threat) 1...Qc4,Qb3,Qa2 2.Sef6 1...f4 2.Qxg5 Now those same moves that defeated the tries threatening 2.Sef6 allow it as a variation - the Dombrovski paradox! The judge Barry Barnes had the following: Persistence with an old idea of a threat becoming a changed mate (by interposal) after a self-pinning Black check has led to a bizarre but most worthwhile problem. A complete half-pin is abandoned, and WK tries (to threaten 2.Sef6#[A]) are refuted by BQ checks a/b/c. This is a new slant on the Dombrovskis theme in part – a black defense which defeats a threatened mate in the try gives that very same mate after the key. It‘s an excellent construction enriched by the changed mate after 1...f4. |

Another light weight, in fact a Meredith. Again an abandon half-pin - this time incomplete. It is a traditional problem but it has some excellent mates. There is relevant set play: 1...Qxe4+ 2.Bxe4 1...Rxe4 2.Qxd3 The wQ's position is obviously instrumental in these mates - both pin mates. 1.Qc5! (>2.Qf5) 1...Qxe4+ 2.Qf5(threat) 1...Rxe4 2.Qf2 1...Re2 2.R2g3 1...Qd5/Qb5/etc 2.Sd2 1...e6/e5 2.Qf8 1...hxg4 2.Rf2 A fine blend of selfblocks, self pinning, unpinning and gate opening. |

We'll start with one of my problems that features an unpin self-pin strategy. There is relevant set play: 1...Rb8 2.Sb7 1...Ra8 2.Sa6 1...Rxc5+ 2.Rxc5 However, this is not retained in the actual play. Notice that the wBd7 can step away and make a threat along the b1-f5 diagonal but this action will also unpin the bS. This determines where the wB must land, all the way at the edge of the board to provide for the oncoming check 1...Rxc5+ and now 4 variations follow from the newly unpinned bS including the switchback. 1.Ba4! (>2.Bc2) 1...Sxc5 2.Bd7 (switchback) 1...Sxd4 2.Sxd4 1...Sf4 2.Sg3 1...Sg5 2.fxg4 Also the check 1...Rxc5+ is now met by the threat 2.Bc2. |

Here is a classic. Notice that Black is in stalemate and it seems that White must unpin the bB. 1.Se5? (-) 1...Bh3 2.Ng4 1...Bxe6 2.Sf3 1...Bxd3 2.Qg2 but, 1...Be4! 1.Qg2! (>2.Qa2) 1...Bxd3 2.Se5 1...Bxe6 2.Qg5 Two switchback in each phase and the Salazar theme: Reversal of try move and variation mate. |

Mansfield offers three switchback from 3 different pieces and a true switchbacked themed problem. As usual flight giving tries and key are thrown in for good measure. 1.Sdxe4? (>2.Rd4,Qd3) 1...Qxa1 2.Sd6 1...bxc5! 1.Scxe4? (>2.Re5) 1...Qxa1 2.Sc5 1...Kxe6 2.Qf7 1.Rcxe4! (>2.R4e5) 1...Qxa1 2.Rc4 1...Kxc5 2.Rc4 1...Sxd5 2.R6e5 |

More Mansfield magic. This time the wK makes the switchback while giving a flight and sacrificing two pieces at the same time. 1.Ke7! (>2.Re5) 1...exf5 2.Kd6 1...exd5 2.Kf6 1...Kxd5 2.Sf6 1...f6 2.Qxe6 1...Sf3 2.Qxd3 1...Sc4 2.Qxc4 Notice the nice little change from the set play after 1...f6. |

Now on to the exquisite creations of possibly the greatest living two-move composer. Marjan has composed more switchback problems than I can include in the blog, so it was an impossible task to pick just one. I have selected three problems all in FIDE albums. All three problems have a choice of battery formation with a switchback in each phase. Also, take a look back at the battery play blog for another example and the article by David Shire in the March 2015 Problemist. There is a battery to be formed on d5 but which should be the lead piece, the wB or wS? Either one opens a bR line to defend and makes for a nice little switchback coupled with a shut-off mate after the bR crosses the battery line. 1...c4 2.Rxd5 1...Bc4 2.Sxc4 1.Sxd5? (>2.Qa6) 1...c4 2.Se3 1...Rb3 2.Sc3 1...Bc7 2.Qxc7 1...Bxd5 2.Rxd5 but 1...Bc4! 1.Bxd5! (>2.Qxb8) 1...c4 2.Be4 1...Rb4 2.Bc4 1...Bc7 2.Qf8 1...Bxd5 2.Rxd5 The white economy is superb. Perfect unity and stunning changes. |

Here is another battery creation wonder. The bK has a flight at d3 with a set mate 2.Qxd4. Notice the strong Black move 1...Rxg1 that creates a flight for the bK at f3. This suggest a threat of Qf5. 1...Kd3 2.Qxd4 1...Qf3 2.Rxd4 1.Sxd4? (>2.Qf5) 1...Kd3 2.Sc6 (switchback) 1...Qf3 2.Sb3 but 1...c5 provides an excellent refutation 1.Bxd4! (>2.Qf5) 1...Kd3+ 2.Be5 1...Kf4+ 2.Be3 1...Qf3 2.Bb2 Amazing play with a Zagoruiko (three different mates after the defenses 1...Kd3/Qf3) and a beautiful flight giving key that allows two cross checks. So artistic. |

One more that I could not resist. This time the battery creation does not even require a capture. Here we have a choice of masked battery creation. A move to d4 will unpin the wS and threat the double check 2.Sb6. Again there is meaningful set play. 1...Rxd5+ 2.Bxd5 1...Sxe3+ 2.Sfxe3 1.Bd4? (>2.Sb6) 1...Rxd5 2.Sd6 1...Sxe3+ 2.Sdxe3 1...Sxd5 2.Ba1 (what a switchback!) 1...Sxe2 2.Qxe2 but 1...Bb4! 1.Sd4! (>2.Sb6) 1...Rxd5 2.Qxc8 1...Sxe3+ 2.Sxe3 1...Sxd5 2.Sf5 1...Sxe2 2.Qxe2 Again we have a Zagoruiko theme with unpinning and lovely switchbacks - my favorite is the switchback in the try phase. |

The problem is not to hard to solve since Black is in stalemate. White must give black a move so how should it be done? A move of the wRh2 north will give the bK a flight (and sacrifice wS) but White must provide for this flight. The only way to do so is to go all the way up the file giving the wQ access to h7. Typical Sam Loyd key: 1.Rh8! Kxc2 2.Qh7 |

Here is the classic Bristol clearance problem and the reason for the namesake. A key that would baffle anyone and an unbelievable idea for the date: 1.Rh1! The main line happens when the bBb5 moves to d7 or e8 in which case a flight for the bK is opened. The wQ can move to b1 making the threat Qb4 (notice the wQ keeps control of b6). However, the bB can move back to b5 defeating the threat because it blocks the wQ's guard on b6. And now we see the motivation for the key move. 1...Bd7 2.Qb1 Bb5 3.Qg1 A couple things to notice: the wBa1 is just a plug, it can be removed but then there would be two keys 1.Rh1 and Ra1. Second, I cannot find a purpose for the wRf3. This was probably put on the board to confuse solvers at the time. |

Another classic and personal favorite! The above two problems have pure Bristol clearances because the clearing piece has no role other than to get out of the way. This time the clearance is not pure, but the effect is still astonishing. Here the wBe5 has to clear for two pieces: the wQ and the wR on a5 to make way for the threat. The reason the wB must stay on the diagonal is to respond to the check 1...BxQ+. It must go all the way to the corner square so the wQ can access g7. Moreover the unpinning effects are striking. Wonderful stuff! 1.Bh8! (>2.Rg5) 1...Rc5 2.Qd1 1...c5 2.Qg7 (the reason for the clearance) 1...Bxd4+ 2.Bxd4 1...Ra1 2.Rxa1 1...Bf2 2.Qxf2 |

Here is my Bristol offering. The problem is my first to appear in the prestigious British Chess Magazine. I use a twinning to achieve two maximum length Bristol clearances first with a wB and then with a wR with changes. Amazingly White has all of that wood but can't mount a threat in either part. This is one of those problems that you compose that stays near to your heart. a) 1.Ba1! (-) 1...Kxf2 2.Qb2 1...gxf2 2.Qa8 1...gxh2 2.Rxh2 b) 1.Rh1 (-) 1...Kxf2 2.Rb2 1...gxf2 2.Qh2 Notice that the wQ and wRs mate on the same squares b2 and h2 in the different parts. Moreover, an interesting aspect is the role of wBg7: it plays no active part in b) other than to stop cooks and it actually plays no active part in a) post key other than to make the key. My only lament is that I could not work in three variations in part b). |

A modern try problem. Here there are two Bristol clearances with a king's battery and brilliant changes. The wK is bottled up and needs a place to go. Should the wR or wB be the ones to make the move? 1.Ba4 (>2.Kd7) 1...Rxe4 2.Qb5 1...Kxe4 2.Kf6 1...Nd4 2.Rd5 1...Bf8+ 2.Kxf8 but 1...Nf4! 1.Ra8 (>2.Kd8) 1...Rxe4 2.Ra5 1...Kxe4 2.Kd6 1...Nd4/Nf4 2.Qb8 1...Bf8+ 2.Kxf8 |

Often it is the weaker pieces that are clearing the way for the stronger piece. In this example the opposite effect happens: the wQ clears the way for the wB and wR. 1.Qf3? (>2.Qd3) 1...Rg3 2.Bd5 1...Bg3 2.Qc3 1...c6 2.Sxd6 but 1...Rb5! 1.Qb1! (>2.Qd3) 1...Rg3 2.Qb5 1...Bg3 2.Rb4 1...c6 2.Sb6 1...Sc2 2.Qa2 The question I asked myself when solving is why can't the wQ mate after all of the thematic defenses of the bR and bB on g3? It's because she controls the square d3. The icing on the cake is the changed mate after c6. A beautiful problem that won first prize in StrateGems. Poetry on the chess board. |

How about Bristol clearances in a helpmate? 1.Qe4 Rh1 2.Bf5 Qg1 1.Rf2 c4 2.R8f5 Rc4 Excellently matched solutions in which the clearance happens so the rear piece can interfere on the clearance line of the other solution. Notice also we have a wP clearance. |

This time we see two wR making the clearances with three outstanding changes between try and key. 1.Ra8? (>2.Qb8) 1...Qh6 2.f4 1...d4 2.Ra5 1...Se4 2.Sf3 but 1.bxc3! 1.Rf3! (>2.Qf6) 1...Qh6 2.Qf4 1...d4 2.Rc5 1...Se4 2.Sf7 Moreover, the key is both Bristol and anti-Bristol because it restricts the wPf2 from reaching f4. |

Here we have an attractive position with no white pawns and the mirrored bK. It also shows two masked Bristol clearances: the bSs stand on the clearing line. 1.Bd5? (>2.Bc4) 1...Se3 2.Qe4 1...Bxd5 2.Rxd5 1...Bb5 2.Be4 1...Rxc1+ 2.Sxc1 but 1...Qf7! 1.Rc1! (>2.Rc3) 1...Se2 2.Qd1 1...Rxb3 2.Rd1 1...Rxc1+ 2.Sxc1 Wonderful harmony with the wQ and wB mating on e4 in the try play and the wQ and wR mating on d1 after the key. |

We end with a recent 1st prize winner in the The Problemist. This wonderful problem has a pair of Bristol clearances with a partial switchback and white halfpin. To top it off there is a flight giving key. Just overall excellence. 1.Bg4? (>2.Qf5) 1...Rxf4 2.Qe6 1...c5,c6 2.Bf5 (Rd4?) but 1...e2! 1.Rd3! (>2.Qd4) 1...Rxf4 2.Qd5 1...c6 2.Rd4 (Bf5?) 1...c5 2.Bd5 Interestingly the original version had 3 bRs. The separation of 1...c5,c6 and the matched play in both phases make this problem a true work of art. |