2017 Nottingham #2 Award (in full)

Written by Michael Lipton

The tourney required “orthodox two-movers with any theme or number of units, but extreme economy of force for the theme. Conventional flaws, twins etc, even zeropositions, were allowed but might be somewhat penalised. Developments of older positions (preferably cited) and/or alternative versions of the same entry, were welcome”. Given the broad but difficult requirement, the tourney was announced on the BCPS website on the Wednesday before the weekend conference, as well as in the usual way (Friday evening at the conference). Problems submitted online were eligible for honours, but only problems submitted and composed by conference attenders were eligible for book awards. I received 24 entries: three at the conference and 21 online, including four honoured entries. They, rather than other numerous and variously unsatisfactory miniatures, justify the online experiment.

Mykola Chernyavsky (Ukraine)



a) Diagram
b) Qd4 to c8
c) Bf5 to b6
d) WS replaces WBf5
e) Pc2 to b4
f) e) and also Qd4 to e4
g) f) and also Pb2 to c2

a) 1.Qa7  Kc4 2.Bd3; 1...Kc6 2.Bd7
b) 1.Qc7  Ka6 2.Bd3; 1...Ka4 2.Bd7
c) 1.Bd8  Ka6 2.Qb6; 1...Kc6 2.Qd5
d) 1.Qa7  Kc4 2.Sd6; 1...Kc6 2.Sd4
e) 1.Qc5+ Ka6 2.Bc8; 1...Ka4 2.Bc2
f) 1.Qb7+ Kc4 2.Qd5; 1...Ka4 2.Bc2
g) 1.Qb7+ Kc4 2.Qc6; 1...Ka4 2.Qa6

With these septuplets, fewer than half the units – the Kings and WPa3 – are fixed throughout. So it is not surprising that more variety is possible than in the fixed position of a normal (only-child) miniature. Yet this remains an astonishing achievement. With 2.Bd3, Bd7 transferred from A to B, siblings ABD form a complete Rukhlis (1...Kc4, Kc6 changed A-D), and siblings ABE form another (1...Ka6, Ka4 changed A-E). C again changes one pair of flights, a6 and c6, from ABDE; F and G again changes the others, a4 and c4. Hence, across the seven siblings, there is a 4x3 split Zagoruyko – three distinct mates for each of the star-flights – plus a fourth for 1...Kc4. The mates and twinning mechanisms are varied and attractive. Mixing conventional quins A-E with successive triplets E-G isn’t ideal, and makes for less difficult composition. So do computers. However, if you think it’s easy, try it yourself!

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