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German problem chess suffered a great loss in June with the death of
Thorsten Zirkwitz at the early age of 51. Though primarily a composer of
three-movers, Thorsten composed a number of notable more-movers, of which
this is an example.
Immediate attempts to mate at a7 by 1.Qe7? or 1.Qf7? fail to 1..Sc7!
The key 1.b3 closes the lines of the black rook and bishop and threatens a short mate 2.Rb5+ cxb5 3.Qxb5. Captures on b3 lead to matching variations where two black pieces are cleared from lines to allow queen mates which exploit both the interference on b3 and the half-pin on the fifth rank.
Dafydd Johnston: The Novotny on b3 leaps to the eye, but the line clearances for the WQ after the two captures are more difficult to spot. I like the two pairs of echoes in the mates on a7/e3 and b5/c4.
Peter Niehoff: Both 1.Qe7? and 1.Qf7? prove to be a washout after 1...Sc7! Things look
different after 1.b3! ...Nowotny introducing an elegant choice of ambush with a spectacular line-opening and pinning combination, twice over.
Any comments or questions on this problem should be addressed to
Michael McDowell using the ‘Contact’ item in the menu on the left.