This site now hosts a complete archive of PDF versions of The Problemist Supplement, from 1992 to the current year. This magazine is aimed mainly at newcomers to chess composition, so it is recommended for those who want to find out more about chess problems. You can find the archive here.
The past week's post brought the January issue of The Problemist, and with it
a lovely 40-page booklet prepared by various Society members, as a tribute to the
late Christopher Reeves, who died a year ago. This week's problem is one of
Christopher's finest twomovers, which, as top Serbian composer Marjan Kovacevic
explains, in a warm tribute in the booklet, was the problem which first attracted
him to twomovers. Look out for set play and tries, and Christopher's favourite
theme of white correction.
To appreciate this problem, you first need to understand the set play and tries.
Let us start with the former, the three important variations being: 1...Sh5/Rxb4/Bxd3, met by 2.e4/Sxb4/Rxd3#
White would like to just remove the bBd2 from the board so that he can threaten 2.Sf4.
Clearly White cannot remove that bishop but he can
cut its line to f4, with the same threat, by putting a piece on e3 and these attempts
constitute the tries.
1.Rhe3? is one try, which preserves the set mate after 1...Bxd3, and provides a new
mate after 1...Rxb4 2.Bxc6#. However, there is no mate after 1...Sh5!
1.e3? corrects, by preserving the set mate after 1...Sh5, and providing a new mate
after 1...Bxd3 2.Qxd3#, but now 1...Rxb4! defeats. Finally, the further correction
1.Be3? keeps the set mate after 1...Rxb4 and provides the new mate 1...Sh5 2.Qf3#,
but 1...Bxd3! defeats.
Since blocking the line of the Bd2 fails, we need another way to deny it protection
of f4. The key 1.Qd1! does this by setting up a pin-mate after 2.Sf4#, and
keeps the three set mates after the defences 1...Sh5/Rxb4/Bxd3.
A strict logical scheme of white arrival correction, plus three changed mates in
the try-phase – a typical example of Christopher's brilliance.
Any comments or questions on this problem should be addressed to
Steve Giddins (our Libarian and Archivist) using the 'Contact'
item in the menu on the left.