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This week's problem is a beautiful twomover, based on the theme of dual avoidance. The
problem is taken from the book Chess Problems: Introduction to an Art, by John
Rice, Michael Liption and Robin Matthews. This book, a seminal event in chess problem
publishing, appeared in 1963, exactly 50 years ago, and the latest issue of
The Problemist contains a most interesting article by John Rice, recollecting
the writing and publishing of the book.
The key is 1.Sd5 Threat 2.Rc3 mate. Black has four defences, all involving moves of the
1...Sd7 cuts the Rd8's defence of the Sd5, but allows 2.Sfe3# Note that 2.Sde3+? does
not work, because White needs to regain control of d3. 1...Se4 covers c3, but also opens the Bh8's line to control c3, allowing White in turn to
close the Rh3's now redundant control of that square with 2.Sde3#. Note that this time
2.Sfe3+? fails, because White needs to open the Rd8's guard of d3. 1...Sxd5 self-blocks d5, allowing 2.Sd6#
Finally, 1...Sb5 self-blocks b5, allowing 2.Sb6#
The mastery with which Barulin manipulates the various line-opening and -closing
effects, so as to ensure a unique mate after each Black defence, is a perfect
illustration of dual avoidance.
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.