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.
1st Prize, British Chess Federation Tourney No.72, 1952-53
Mate in 3
Robin Matthews (1927-2010) was Britain’s finest composer of strategic three-movers. This problem employs the
arrangement of black rooks and bishops known as the Organ Pipes to show four highly unified variations.
Solution: 1.Qb5 threatens 2.Rf3+ Ke4 3.d3. Black can defend with an anticipatory shut-off of the white queen's guard of e5, but each defence removes a guard of either c4 or d4, allowing the white battery to close the second guard. If 1...Bd5 2.Rb6+ Qxh7 (Rxh7, Sxh7, Sg6) 3.Rxd4, also 2...Be4 3.Bxe4 or Rf3. If 1...Rd5 2.Rc6+ any 3.Qxc4; If 1...Rc5 2.Rd6+ any 3.Rfxd4 and finally if 1...Bc5 2.Re6+ any 3.Qxc4. The battery opens again in the by-play variation 1...Qf6 2.Rh6+ any 3.Rh3 (dual 3.Bxf5 after 2...Qf5) and after 1...Qxe5 the threat leads to a new pin-mate 2.Rf3+ Qe3 3.Qf5. The judge of the tourney, Vincent Eaton, (another top class composer of strategic three-movers) pointed out that a small saving of material can be made if the a1 bishop replaces the e5 pawn.
David Friedgood: There is an intricate and delightful relationship between the two Grimshaws making up the organ pipes. Each interference allows the g6-rook to check and shut off the other ‘pipe’ guarding c4 or d4 to force mate on one of these two squares. The exceptional unity is conveyed by the geometric play of the Grimshaws as well as the arrival of the white rook on the consecutive squares between b6 and e6. A work evoking the same kind of emotion as a piece of the finest classical music.
Any comments or questions on this problem should be addressed to
Michael McDowell using the ‘Contact’ item in the menu on the left.