HONORABLE MENTION: Juraj Lrinc of Slovakia!

Juraj wrote:

Hello David,

I am fan of your webcomic for a long time and as it has largely Victorian look, my answer to question "what will I do for your contest?" was quite easy to find:

Chess problem of style composed in the 19th century, especially by old English masters!

I hope you know chess rules and even better if you know chess notation used for description of moves. In such case you might be able to understand my creation. If you do not... well, my bad luck. :-)
Juraj, you don't know of my love/hate relationship with chess. Actually, it's more of a tepid-appreciation/hate relationship. Scratch that, agonizing-frustration/hate relationship. Nonetheless, in recognition of the creative mind that thought "What's something I can make that has to do with a comic strip? I know! A chess problem", I award Juraj the Honorable Mention and a framed print of any comic he'd like. Which will it be, Juraj? This one?

Here's Juraj's chess problem:

The problem has easy stipulation: Mate in two moves. I.e. White starts and whatever is defence of Black, White delivers mate in the second move.

White : Kf1 Ra8h3 Ba7b1 Sd5

Black : Ka3 Rh1 Bg1 Sa4b3 Pd6h4b2f2h2

#2 (6+10) C+

Mate in two moves

A few words for solver:

What can Black do in the initial position? Not much, almost all his pieces are blocked, knight b3 is pinned by rook h3 and king a3 cannot move to both b4 or a2. Only knight a4 can move somewhere.

If knight moves almost anywhere 1Na4 anywhere White delivers mate by bishop, employing the doublecheck 2.Bc5#. Knight is not strong enough to parry both checks.

But the knight has possibility to prevent move Bc5 1...Nb6 is so called Black correction, however White mates by capturing the knight 2.Bb6#.

Black has no other moves in the diagram position, so White just needs to make some move and then he can mate. If there was e.g. white pawn f5, move 1.f6 would solve.

But there is no waiting move available for White. So.. what will be the solution?


As there is no waiting move, White has to change the play and indeed he does change possibilities of Black quite crucially.

The key is 1.Be3!

Bishop leaves a-file, therefore rook a8 now pins knight a4. However the other black knight is now unpinned and may move.

If knight moves almost anywhere 1Nb3 anywhere White delivers again mate by bishop, employing the doublecheck 2.Bc5#. Similar to set play, isn't it?

But there is more. The knight has possibility to prevent move Bc5 1...Nd4 is again Black correction, however White mates by capturing the knight 2.Bd4#.

And there is one more defence by knight. 1...Nd2+ is check to white king. However there is another mate by bishop, namely 2.Bd2#.

As a result, the play of a-knight from the second page (called set play) is completely changed to the play of b-knight in the actual solution.

Can you make some joke from this, hehe? Chess problemists call such kind of problem mutate.

On to the next winner!

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