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Jesper Norgaard
09-04-2012, 05:39 AM
I found this lovely helpmate of the eternally delightful Samuel Lloyd, author of so many gems. This is a helpmate from Chess Monthly November 1860, black moves and black and white coordinate their forces to mate black in three moves:

6R1/7q/8/5k2/3K1B2/8/8/8 b - - 0 1

The solution is 1...Kf6 2.Ra8 Kg7 3.Lb8 Kh8 4.Le5+ checkmate
Although this leads to 4 moves in the move counter, we are only at 6 halfmoves as expected.

If I had only known this study or known a little more about the mechanics of helpmates, I would not have had such a difficult time with this helpmate:

8/8/8/8/4n3/8/4K3/k1NR4 b - - 0 1

Black moves, and black and white mates black in 3 moves. I got to this from

http://www.praguechess.cz/index.php?modul=&akce=&orderby=1722&strankovani=0&zobrazeni=ano

checking out about the Chess Train tournament. The study was made by Pal Benkö and has prominent list of non-solvers (people who tried but failed): Bobby Fischer, Vlastimil Hort, Boris Gulko, Rafael Vaganian. Only Anna Myzuchuk solved it when being presented to it in Oldhands vs. Snowdrops 2011 in Marienbad, thus saving a small moral victory against Oldhands as well as being on the winning team. There is even a nice photo below showing all three players pondering on the position on a board with some very strange chess pieces.

I too must admit my defeat against this. After fuming for half an hour with all sorts of mating patterns in the corner I gave up and downloaded software to solve it (shame!). I just had to smack my forehead with "Of course!" when I saw the solution. I think if I had been in the right mindset, for instance using the idea of the Sam Lloyd study, I'm sure I would have found it in a couple of minutes. Please don't try to mate black in the corner!

With the weird checkmates allowed by FIDE even in normal OTB games, I found this "solution": 1...Nc3+ 2.Kc2 (illegal move, legal position) 2...Na2 3.Nb3+ checkmate. Even if you demand the last move (Nb3+), the next last move (Na2) and the position before those to be legal, it would still go "below the radar" and be accepted as a checkmate. Alas, in problem chess all moves need to be legal, which destroys this idea.

Apparently the article doesn't give the solution. Can you solve it here (please, answers in white)?

Aaron Guthrie
09-04-2012, 11:59 AM
I too must admit my defeat against this. After fuming for half an hour with all sorts of mating patterns in the corner I gave up and downloaded software to solve it (shame!). I just had to smack my forehead with "Of course!" when I saw the solution. I think if I had been in the right mindset, for instance using the idea of the Sam Lloyd study, I'm sure I would have found it in a couple of minutes. Please don't try to mate black in the corner!It is a very frustrating solution, with Black knight checks not allowing a number of mates. In the end, one does have to be in the right frame of mind, i.e. the study solving frame of mind.

Jesper Norgaard
28-07-2012, 04:01 PM
It is a very frustrating solution, with Black knight checks not allowing a number of mates. In the end, one does have to be in the right frame of mind, i.e. the study solving frame of mind.

I had forgotten about this, but the pretty solution of Pal is 1...Kb2 2.Rd5,Kc3 3.Rc5+,Kd4 4.Nb3+ checkmate.

Desmond
28-07-2012, 08:33 PM
1...Kb2 2.Rd5 Kc3 3.Rc5+ Kd4 4.Nb3+ checkmate.