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White is to play and mate in two moves. Have a go at solving this first and then, when
you are ready, click the button below to see the solution and a commentary explaining
what the problem is all about.
The wRh2 is rather out of things... 1.Be3?-A (>2.Rh4-C) 1...Sh6 etc 2.S7d6, 1...Rg1(Rh1)
2.Sa5 but 1...d1Q!-a. 1.Bxd2?-B (>2.Rh4-C) 1...Sh6 etc 2.S5d6, 1...Rg1(Rh1) 2.Sa3 but
1...e1Q!-b. Key 1.Rh4!-C (>2.B4~) 1...d1Q-a 2.Bd2-B and 1...e1Q-b 2.Be3-A. This is
exactly the same pattern as was seen in the
twomover by Mackenzie
– the Banny theme.
However, there is much more to Geoff Foster’s problem! If 1...Sh6/Sg5/Se5/Sd6 2.BxS or
if 1...Rg1/Rh1 2.Bg3/Bh2. All possible threats by the wBf4 have been separated by unique
black defences – the Fleck theme. Moreover, mates following defences by bSf7 and bRa1
have been changed across the three phases of play – the Zagoruiko theme. The elements
are all well known but their exquisite combination made this #2 well worthy of its
prize. There are no lines controlling the R+B battery until Black promotes one of his
pawns; this too is an unusual feature. Many solvers have criticised this kind of Banny
problem because the key is obviously stronger than the tries. This can be expressed
another way. Rh2-h4 is always necessary, whereas in one circumstance Bf4-e3 is needed
and in another it is Bf4-d2 that is required. By playing Rh2-f4 first, White avoids the
mistake of premature commitment.