Saturday, 5 March 2016

Olympic Composing Tourney

Later this year the Chess Olympiad will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan. As part of the celebrations a chess composing tourney was organised. The provisional award of the section for mates in three has just been published. This evening I have been looking at it and I would like to share one of the problems with you.

Grigory Atayants

1st HM., Olympic Ty., 2016


Mate in 3


1.Qg2!       (2.Qxc6+ dxc6 3.Bxc6#)

1...Sxg2     2.Sa8    &    3.Sc7#
1...Bxg2     2.Sc4    &    3.Ra5#
1...Rxg2     2.Bxd7   &    3.Bxc6#
1...Qxg2     2.Sc8    &    3.Sa7#
1...Sd5      2.Bxd7   &    3.Bxc6#
1...Rd5,Rxd6 2.Qxa2   &    3.Ra5#
1...Qh1      2.Sc8    &    3.Sa7#

In making the key, White moves his queen en prise to three more black pieces and threatens to sacrifice it on c6. In answer, Black four times captures the queen, but each time he deprives himself of a useful defence and White can take advantage of the fact. For instance, after 1...Sxg2, White threatens 3.Sc7 and Black can no longer play 2...Sd5 or 2...Se6 to defend against it. In addition the white queen shows she is not just bait when the black rook defends on d5 or d6. 1...Sd5, by blocking the line from g2 to c6 has the same effect as 1...Rxg2 and so leads to the same thing. Lastly, 1...Qh1 makes the same error as 1...Qxg2. Apart from the threat, there is quiet play throughout, which I always value. Nice to see such an old-fashioned problem getting such a high place in a modern award.

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