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This week, we have a problem type we have not seen in this column previously. A
reflexmate is a selfmate (White, to play, must force a reluctant Black to mate him in
the stipulated number of moves), but with one extra condition – either side MUST give
mate in one, if able to do so. Thus, unlike a normal selfmate, where White must place
Black in a position where every legal move involves mating White, here he only
needs to put Black in a position where ONE of his legal moves is mate. However, at
the same time, White must avoid ever being placed in a position where he himself is
able to mate Black in one.
The key is 1.Se5!, which threatens 2.fxg3, when Black would have to mate with
2...Rf1#. There are then three thematic defences with the black g-pawn: 1...gxf2
2.Rg3 forcing 2...f1Q#; 1...gxh2 2.Bg3 for 2...h1Q#; and 1...g2
2.Sg3, for 2...g1S#. Thus we have a Grimshaw (mutual interference of the white R+B) plus an extra
interference on the R by the S. There is also the non-thematic defence 1...Rf1,
which is answered by the very nice 2.Sc6! forcing the pin-mate 2...Re3#.
Lovely stuff, but hopefully, you are wondering why the same variations do not work
after 1.Sc5? The answer is 1...Kc6! when White is hoist with his own petard, and
must himself give mate by 2.Rxe6#.
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.