1st Prize, idee & form, 2002-03
Mate in 3
A problem whose idea may not be what the solver expects.
The key 1.Be6 occupies the intersection square of the black rooks and threatens two short mates, 2.Sxc6 and 2.Be5. Thus the problem looks like a standard example of the Plachutta theme, and the solver might expect the continuations to be 1...Rexe6 2.Sxc6+ and 1...Rgxe6 2.Be5+, however the removal of the guards on c4 and d5 allow the king to escape. Surprisingly the continuations are reversed: 1...Rexe6 2.Be5+ Rxe5 3.Qc4 or 2...Kd5 3.Bf6 and 1...Rgxe6 2.Sxc6+ Rxc6 3.Qd5 or 2...Kc4 3.Sd6. A beautiful feature is that in each line the pin of e6 is exploited.