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This week, we make a rare foray into the world of fairy chess, with an example of the
Anti-Circe condition. In this form, a capturing unit (K's included) is replaced on its
square of origin, with the captured piece disappearing from the board. For example,
a capture by the white queen sees that piece immediately reborn on d1. A capture is
only legal if the rebirth square is free. In the case of a king capture, the e1/e8
square must be both free and not guarded by an enemy piece. Note that rooks and knights
are reborn on the same colour square as the capture takes place, eg. a wS capturing on
b4 reappears on g1, a BR capturing on f3 reappears on a8, etc.
In the above problem, we have a mate in two, with the Anti-Circe condition. Note
that as the position stands, the move 1...Kxh2 is illegal, as the e8-square is
presently guarded by the Bh5, but if (for example) the bP were on g6, then the
capture Kxh2 would become possible.
1.N2f3! Threat 2.Qh1. As hinted, Black's defences involve cutting the Bh5's control
of e8, thus making a bK capture possible. Thus: 1...Bg6 2.fxg6 (Pg2) mate 1...Rg6 2.Bxg6 (Bf1) mate; Note that 2.fxg6? is now illegal, because the
reappearance of the wP on g2 would leave White in check. Likewise, 2.Bxg6 does not
work after 1...Bg6 or 1...g6, because it the bishop's rebirth on f1 would leave e8
unguarded, whereas after 1…Rg6, that function is taken over by the wQ. 1...g6 2.Rxg6 (Rh1) mate;
Finally, there is the by-play variation 1...Bd6 2.Qf1# (No Kxg4 because the Rg8 now
The problem shows nice dual avoidance, in the way the different white captures on
g6 are separated, so that only one of them works after each thematic defence.
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.