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To fully appreciate this clever three-mover solvers should first look for two prominent set play variations.
Solution: Set captures give the white queen access to d4, and White replies with battery shut-offs - 1...Bxd4 2.Sf6+ Bxf5 3.Qxd4 and 1...Qxd4 2.Sc3+ Bxf5 3.Qxd4. There is also a third set variation 1...Qe5 2.dxe5+ Bd4 3.Qxd4. The key, 1.Bc8, surprisingly abandons the battery and threatens 2.Ba6+ Kxe4 3.Qxc6. The captures on d4 defeat the threat by leaving a flight at e5, but White can move the knight away from e4 to threaten 3.Ba6 mate. It turns out that each time there is only one safe square for the knight which avoids capture or self-interference, and this reciprocally changes the set continuations - 1...Bxd4 2.Sc3 any 3.Ba6 and 1...Qxd4 2.Sf6 any 3.Ba6. There is a considerable amount of by-play. 1...Kxe4 2.Qxc6+ Kd3 3.Ba6; 1...Rh6 2.Sxg5 any 3.Ba6; 1...Qf6 2.Sxf6 any 3.Ba6 and 1...Qe5 2.Qxe5 any 3.Ba6, a third changed continuation.
Jacob Hoover: This was a great chess problem.
Dafydd Johnston: I like the element of paradox in this problem. The bishop battery is essential to the set play, allowing White to answer either capture on d4 by interposing the knight between queen and bishop with check. Yet the key abandons the battery and leaves the knight hanging. Black defences to the threat allow White a safe square for the knight, this time playing to the other side of the piece which self-pins on d4. The game-like pawn structure is nice too.
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