Thursday, July 25, 2019

Changed mates after same defenses in three-movers

Changed mates have been considered one of the most exquisite artistic expressions in two-movers. The reader may find an excellent presentation of two-movers with changed mates in this OzProblem article by Peter Wong: Zagoruiko.

Naturally, chess composers tried to express this idea in longer problems as well. The first successful rendering of the idea dates back in the 19th century, when Stanislav Trčala published the following composition:

Trčala, Stanislav
Zlatá Praha 1897

#3 9 + 7

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Here there are even three changed mates after Black defenses 1… Ke5 and 1… Kc5.
Of course, White continuations are checking and some mates are model, according to Bohemian school principles.
A slight blemish is the triple mate in the threat, although the quiet second move is highly enjoyable.

The perfect presentation of the Zagoruiko theme was shown more than 50 years later.
Henk le Grand managed to show the theme in a spectacular setting, using a three-fold play of a Siers battery after anticipatory line closing:

Le Grand, Henk
Die Schwalbe 1953-07
2nd-3rd Prize

#3 9 + 12

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A few years later, Petko Petkov used the same Siers battery to show the theme extending the number of thematic variations to 4. Surprisingly, the Novotny threat is not thematic and allows two anti-critical defenses which alternatively block black King’s thematic flights.

Петков, Петко Андонов
Problemas 1980
1st Prize ex aequo

#3 10 + 11

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The idea was picked up by Romanian composers, particularly by Mircea Manolescu, who was able to show it without recurring to black King flights.
Moreover, Mircea was keen to express the theme using quiet White second moves.

Manolescu, Mircea Mihai
Nestorescu, Virgil

Rusenescu MT 1992
1st Prize

#3 10 + 11

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In this memorable problem, the whole subtlety and difficulty resides in the logical tries after the Black defenses: 1…Bh3 2.Qe1? Rc3! and 1… Rh8 2.Qd2? Bc3!
The judge highly praised the combination of black Grimshaw with changed mates on c3 and the pair of variations played by the white King.

We would like to express our thanks to Petko Petkov for showing these instructive examples of this ever-green theme.

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