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A problem by a great Dutch composer, employing remarkably simple means to show a four-fold example of a
In the Loshinsky magnet theme, first shown by Russian composer Lev Loshinsky in the late 1940s, a black piece
moves along a line and is followed by a white piece which stops one square before the black piece. Three
thematic variations are considered the minimum necessary. In Sammelius’ problem the key 1.Rg1
places Black in zugzwang. After 1...Rg3 2.Rg2 threatens 3.Qa1. After 1...Rg4 2.Rg3 must
be played, as 2.Rg2 would prevent the queen from recapturing after 2...Rxe4. 1...Rg5 threatens to
defeat a queen mate on a1 by 2...Rxc5, so White must play 2.Rg4 to prepare 2...Rxc5 3.e5.
1...Rxg6 gives a flight at e5, so White must continue with 2.Rg5 any 3.Qa1. The by-play
variations are also interesting. After 1...Rf2 and 1...Rh2 Black can no longer capture the
knight, so 2.Rc1 and 3.Rc4 is possible. 1...Rxe2 corrects this error by attacking c2, but prevents the rook from reaching the fifth rank,
so White can simply promote his d-pawn 2.d7 any 3.d8Q. Finally 1...Rxg1 helpfully clears the first rank, and 2.d7 works again,
as 2...Rg5 or Rxg6 can be met by 3.Qa1.
Dafydd Johnston: We see that the rook on the first rank needs to make way for the queen to reach a1. But first we ask why the brutal 1. d7 doesn't work, and find it is defeated by the strong defence 1... Rxg6. The only answer to that is for the white rook to play to the g-file and follow the black one upwards, creating a magnet effect. I like the different motivations for the four rook moves up the file, 2. Rg2 just to clear the first rank, 2. Rg3 to avoid cutting the queen's diagonal, 2. Rg4 to create a battery anticipating 2...Rxc5, and 2. Rg5 to cover the king's flight on e5.
Any comments or questions on this problem should be addressed to
Michael McDowell using the ‘Contact’ item in the menu on the left.