13th November 2023

Selected by Michael McDowell

Michel Caillaud

2nd HM, diagrammes, 1999


Mate in 2

In Anticirce a captured piece is removed but the capturing piece returns to its starting square (knights, bishops and rooks to the starting square of the same colour as the square on which the capture took place, pawns to the starting square of the file on which they capture). A capture is only legal if the rebirth square is empty. Here 1.h8Q is refuted by 1...Sd1, making 2.QxK illegal, while 1.h8B is refuted by 1...Kxd3 and the king returns to e8. An attempt to prepare 2.h8B by guarding e8 with 1.Rc8 fails to 1...Sd1, as after 2.h8B Kc2 neither queen nor bishop can capture the king. Since this flight can be given in the diagram it is a natural starting point for the solver. The problem forms a good introduction to the genre.