Final AWARD in informal tourney «Problemist of Ukraine - 2010». Helpmates

     I thank the editorial staff of the magazine for honour to evaluate the chess works in the rather numerous international tourney.
     84 originals (44 h#2, 25 h#3, 15 h#N) from 48 authors from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine were published in the magazine during 2010 year.
     The general level of chess works is not high. H#N section has turned out to be the most weak. Problems with uninteresting play and obvious defects (such as unmatched play of both sides in phases, unnecessary repetition of moves, idle white officers in mate positions, unsatisfactory construction or twinning form, evident symmetry in play) were excluded from awarding. The report contents direct links to the chess problem database server http://www.softdecc.com/pdb/index.jsp.
7 not a quite matched play of the Black; in addition partially anticipated: P0525341 [rn2k2r/p4b2/4B3/8/8/8/K7/1R2R1q1 h#2 2.1..], P0525358 [r2bk2r/3p1p2/8/8/8/8/4K3/5RR1 h#2 2.1..].
H8 in diagram position there is a B-B Umnov effect instead of Bristol theme; in three phases the idea has been already realized with more interesting white play: P0535028 [b1n4n/1P6/8/1B1p1p1K/8/8/rb3kp1/qr6 h#2 b),c)Kf2->b6,f7].
H9 - a similar idea has been already shown with more matched black play: P0578160 [2R3B1/1pn5/5P2/1NnP4/1qk1PR2/2N2P2/K4brr/8 h#2 b)Kc3->c1].
H16 - see the similar problem with more harmonious play: P0573977 [b5K1/8/2p1R3/pnpp4/Bpk5/2rp4/2r5/2n5 h#3 2.1..].
H18 - a crude play in 2nd solution.
H19 - the idea is rather interesting but the construction is not optimal: Qc7 can be replaced by BP and one can place two black knights instead of BRb7 & BBa8. WS can be moved to e5 square in initial position for greater paradoxicality of the twin (C+).
H30 - anticipated: P1070907 [q1R3BK/2b1p3/4p3/pn6/ppkn4/3pp3/b3r3/2r5 h#3 2.1..]. See also P1098928.
H32 - anticipated: P1185731 [8/8/qB2k3/3r4/4K3/8/6N1/8 h#3 2.1..].
H36 - a great number of similar problems with more harmonious play of both sides, e.g. P1078666 [8/6B1/3kn3/8/2R1q1P1/6P1/6p1/5bK1 h#3 b)-Se6]. See also P1005203, P1085194, P1072748.
H35 - a solution that ends with Be3# move differs strongly (in terms of content) from the other two ones. In my opinion, it is better to leave two phases in a light construction: 8/6B1/3K4/4P3/2rk4/1pRn1n2/3b4/8 h#3 2.1.. (C+)
H38 and H40 have the same defects: radical twinning form and symmetry in the play of both sides.
H41 - heterogeneous play in phases and the repeated moves of BK.
H46 - multiple predecessors, for instance:P0547553 [2k5/8/8/5R2/1K2p3/2Bp3B/8/2Rq4 h#2 2.1..].
H47 - a phase beginning with 1.Sg6 differs strongly from the rest content of the problem and contains repetitions of moves in the play of WSs.
H48 - in a mate position of two solutions WBh7 is idle plus repetition of 2.Sfd4. The following version could deserve a distinction: 4n3/4P3/8/4k1P1/5n1R/1N6/7B/K4R2 h#2 3.1.. (C+).
H53 - a combination of Grimshaw with Pickabish interferences has been already shown in more ambitious work: P0565535 [3K2B1/1br1ppb1/3R1R2/2p5/8/B4p2/2k5/1r6 h#2 2.1..].
H54 - in my view, an unsuccessful attempt of improvement of author's older work P1094761 (52 Chess Leopolis, 2009, No 3621): solution beginning with 1.g4-g3 does not match to the general concept of the play and contains a repetition of mating move (Sf4#).
H55 - taking into account the task idea, a radical twinning form could have been forgiven but the idle white officers in mate positions of 'c' and 'd' twins - no way.
H56 - repetition of B2 and unjustified heavy construction.
H59 - anticipated: P0524502 [N7/8/3r3q/5K2/2k5/3rp3/6B1/N7 h#3 b) Bg2->g7].
H63 and H84 demonstrate a combination of slow Excelsior with Phoenix theme that has been shown many times. See e.g. P0559635 [8/8/8/1K6/4p3/k7/1p2Pp2/8 h#7], P0533815 [4k2r/8/8/7p/8/4p3/4P3/5K2 h#7].
H64 - anticipated: P0557829 [8/8/8/8/5p2/N1N1pk2/5p1K/8 h#2 b)Kh2->h4].
H65 - unmatched play of both sides in phases plus repetition of the move Rf4.
H66 - anticipated: P1106433 [K7/8/1N6/1bpR4/Bn6/2k5/rb4q1/8 h#2 b)Ka8<->Qg2], P0541617 [8/rR1K4/3N4/5B2/6b1/2k5/3p4/8 h#2 b)Pd2->d4].
H67 - there is a superfluous WB in solution beginning with move Sb4.
H69 - repetition of B2 in pairs of solutions plus superfluous WB in solution finishing with Qe4#. These defects can be eliminated: KQ4r1/Pp3pp1/bP3p2/3r4/PBk1p3/1pbR1n1q/8/1n6 h#2 4.1..(C+).
70 - anticipated: P1213852 [3K1n2/3b2BQ/6q1/8/2n1k1rR/3rp3/8/8 h#2 2.1..].
H72 - a play in the phase that begins with Qe6 does not correspond to the play in the other two phases. Furthermore the idea of a cyclic pin of two black pieces is known: P0504406, P1106182.
H80 - a syntheses of Indian theme with Maslar theme has been realized in Neiman form more than once: P1087780 [5K1n/p1n2p1b/5bp1/3krBpp/P4R2/2ppr3/8/7q h#3 4.1..]. See also: P1073779.
     All the competing helpmates were divided into three usual sections. I have been using the following abbreviations in my comments: B1 (2,3 etc.) the first (second, third, etc.) move of the Black; W1 (2,3 etc.) - the first (second, third, etc.) move of the White.
     I propose the following award.

      Helpmates in 2 moves
1st Prize - H51
M. Dragoun (Czech Republic)


1) 1.Rxb4 f8=Q+     2.Kc5 Qxd6 #
2) 1.bxc4 f8=S+      2.Ke5 Sxd7 #
3) 1.Rxc3 fxe8=Q+  2.Kd4 Qe3 #
4) 1.Qxf3 fxe8=S+   2.Ke4 Sexd6 #

    Powerful problem in multi-solution form with a square-vacation for BK (and distant blocking in the two last solutions) by means of capturing of white units, "preventive gunshot" of direct white battery P+B with fourfold promotions of WPf7 in knight and queen on two adjacent squares and mates by promoted pieces with the BK position in four different squares. Profound and, most importantly, an organic contribution to the known two-phased problem of G. Bakcsi: 3 Prize Schach-Aktiv 1993. See P0574795.
h # 2          4.1..        (7+14)
2nd Prize - H73
E. Orlov, V. Shevchenko (Ukraine)



1) 1.Sc4 Sec6  2.Sb2 Sb5 #
2) 1.Sb5 Sdc6  2.Sc3 Sc4 #

     Harmonious and a tactically saturated problem with an organic interplay of two half-pin mechanisms (as strange as it may sound), reciprocal change of squares on which the both sides play at B1/W2 in phases, B-B and W-B interferences and model pin-mates. A first-class "cavalry quartet"! There is a slight imbalance at B2: 2.Sb2 besides of interferences is the blocking, too.
h # 2          2.1..        (5+12)
3rd Prize - H71
A. Stepochkin (Russia)




1) 1.Qxe7 Kc4(Ke2?)  2.Kf5 Qh3 #
2) 1.Qxf7 Ke2(Kc4?)  2.Ke5 Qe3 #

    Sufficiently original, interesting and harmonious play with a square-vacation for BK by means of capturing of a white piece, anti-dual W1 (motivated by indirect check-avoidance at B2), gate-opening for WQ and orthogonal-diagonal mates. Abundance of technical units is a necessary measure to restrain the powerful white material in the open position.
h # 2          2.1..         (6+9)
1st Honorable Mention - H52
S. Parzuch (Poland)




a) 1.Sd6 Sg5 (Sc5?)  2.R2f6 (R7f6?) Rc5 #
b) 1.Bd6 Se7(Se3?)  2.R7f6 (R2f6?) Re3 #

    A pleasant Meredith with alternate blocking of squares d6 & f6, anti-dual B1 motivated by mate-square block-avoidance and model mates in a perfect construction for the presented content. Sequence of black moves is conditioned by the need of anticipatory line-interference to avoid a direct check to WK. Displacement of WS in twin reduces (a little) the impression.
h # 2     b) Se4->d5     (4+8)
2nd Honorable Mention - H6
A. Stepochkin (Russia)


1) 1.Sg4 Bxd5+  2.S7xd5 Rc4 #
2) 1.Sg6 Rxd5    2.S3xd5 Be8 #

     The author has realized a brilliant tactical combination in the play of mechanism of two white indirect masked batteries with anticipatory line-closing and masked line-opening at B1, substitute-sacrifice at W1 (involving active Zilahi), square-block and masked line-opening at B2 with orthogonal-diagonal mates. Slight dissonance at B2 (unguarding of mate-square c4 in one solution) in this scheme is unavoidable and quite acceptable. In spite of technical BQ the problem could win a prize if not a partial anticipation with the same geometry of white play: F.Fiedler, 4 H.M., harmonie, 2000 - P0577565.
h # 2          2.1..         (7+9)
3rd Honorable Mention - H74
G. Kozjura (Ukraine)



1) 1.Rxe7 Sxe7  2.Qxf5+ Sxf5 #
2) 1.Rxb6 Sxb6  2.Rxc4+ Sxc4 #

     Harmonious problem with consecutive black vacating nsacrifices, reciprocally changed functions of Rc5/Qe6 and reciprocally changed roles of Bb6/Re7, check to WK at B2 and pin-mates. The saddest thing - the problem is correct with BPe6 instead of the BQ, that in this case is fatal for the work. Therefore, in my view, a version on diagram A (see APPENDIX at the end of the report) would be preferable, although BBe6 can be replaced by a black pawn, too. Compare with P1080159; see also P0540770.
h # 2          2.1..         (9+8)
1st Commendation - H29
I. Antipin (Russia) author's version



a) diagram     1.Kxc6 d4       2.d5 Se5 #
b) Pd2->f4      1.bxc4 Re6     2.Bc6 Re5 #
c) Pd2->a2     1.Kxc4 Bd4+  2.Kb4 Bc3 #
d) Pd2->f5      1.Rd4 Re6      2.Bxc5 Se3 #

     A doubled passive Zilahi with four model mates in a well-constructed position without technical units. There is an additional nuance in the 1st pair: mates by different white pieces on the same square. ODT in the play of the White is also connects two pairs of phases. Nice twinning form. However the repetition of move 1... Re6 has reduced the judge's evaluation.
h # 2    see solution     (5+9)
2nd Commendation - H5
A. Stepochkin (Russia)




1) 1.cxd6 Bb1  2.Kd5 Qb5 #
2) 1.exf5 Rd1  2.Ke6 Qe2 #

     Rather interesting problem containing a white piece annihilation with self-block and square-vacation for BK, white indirect self-unpinning, reciprocally changed roles of Rd6/Bf5 and orthogonal mates by WQ playing along the a6-f1 diagonal. Nevertheless there is a lack of complete harmony.
h # 2          2.1..       (5+11)
3rd Commendation - H50
V. Kopyl (Ukraine)





1) 1.Sxd4 Bxh8  2.Qxe5 Bxe5 #
2) 1.Rxd4 Se3   2.Qxg2 Sxg2 #

     To guard f5 flight the Black firstly unpin its BQ with unguarding of e5/g2 squares and then do a vacating sacrifice on these squares. White play is crude. "The pulling a shutter" (Bxh8) is mostly unpleasant.
h # 2          2.1..       (8+10)
4th Commendation - H68
V. Syzonenko (Ukraine)


1) 1.Kf4 Rxf5+  2.Ke4 Bc2 #
2) 1.Kg4 Rd5   2.Qc8 Raxd4 #
3) 1.Sf4 Rxd4    2.Sh5 Rg4 #
4) 1.Sf3 Bxe2    2.Sh4 f4 #

     An attempt of building a TF-type problem in which the two pairs of solutions are connected by the playing on f4 and g4 squares at B1 and W2 accordingly. This - indicated by the author - paradox, in my opinion, can not be considered as a sufficient reason for a complete justification of not a quite matched (in tactics) play of sides in the 1st pair of solutions added to I. Han's problem: P1186211. It seems promising to start up the found mechanism achieving a better analogy of play (see diagram B as a version).
h # 2           4.1..        (6+8)
5th Commendation - H27
V. Kopyl, D. Grinchenko (Ukraine)



1) 1. Kxd2 Be3+ 2. Ke1 Rb1 #
2) 1. Kxb4 Be1   2. Ka5 Rd5 #
3) 1. Sb6 Rdb2    2. Sc4 R4b3 #
4) 1. e1S Rbb2    2. Sd3 Rdc2 #

    Rather rich in content an eight-piece setting in which the pairs of solutions are connected by reciprocally changed functions of Sa4/Pe2 (passive/active blocking). It is a great pity that battery mate is not matched strongly to the general play. It is obvious that we can not achieve a complete harmony but something could be improved (see diagram C).
h # 2           4.1..        (4+4)
6th Commendation - H26
V. Lasiy (Ukraine)




1) 1.Ke4 Qd1!   2.Qf3 Qd4 #
2) 1.Ke5 Qc2!   2.Qd6 Qf5 #

    One more quasi-miniature with black self-unpinning/pseudo self-unpinning, unexpected tempo/ambush WQ move, active blocking with gate-opening and model chameleon echo-mates. The prefix «quasi-» can be removed (see diagram D) but the play seems less paradoxical.
h # 2           2.1..        (4+4)
7th Commendation - H77
S. Lamba (Romania)


a) 1... Bc5+ 2.Kc3 Sfd1(A) #,    1... Sd3 2.Kc3 Bb2(B) #
    1.Ke5! Bf8 2.Kxf6 Sfg4(C) #,  1... Ke2 2.Kf4 Bd6(D) #
b) 1... Ke2 2.Kf4 Bd6(D) #,        1... Bf8 2.Kxf6 Sfg4(C) #
    1.Kd4! Sd3 2.Kc3 Bb2(B) #,   1... Bc5 2.Kc3 Sfd1(A) #

    The clearest example of a chess-work in which the "marriage" between the internal form and the external one generates the content proper. Here you have the change of set/actual play, multiple reciprocal changes of W2 producing a "perpetuum mobile" cycle (Pauly theme), an unusual form of the actual play (Onitiu), and such unusual as previous one the twinning form. This form dominance gives to the judge only a formal reason to find fault with the problem - repeated B2 in the set-play of position 'a' and repeated B2 in actual play of position 'b' accordingly.
h # 2**   b) after B1    (8+2)
Special Commendation - H45
D. Grinchenko (Ukraine)




1) 1.Ka3 R8h3+  2.Qb3 Be7 #
2) 1.Qb5 R1h3+   2.Ka4 R8h4 #

    A minimal miniature with the play on h3 square by both WRs and long-distance orthogonal-diagonal model pin-mates in Aristocratic position.
h # 2          2.1..         (5+2)

      Helpmates in 3 moves
1st Prize - H79
C. Jones (England)



a) 1.Rcc5 dxc5+  2.Kxc5 b6   3.cxb6 Rc4 #
b) 1.Re5 d5+    2.Kxd5 bxc6   3.dxc6 Bc4 #

    Despite of the "too small" play, the problem presents an original strategy of two direct white battery destruction by means of consecutive active sacrifices of WPs on four different(!) squares. The idea is decorated with model mates by different white pieces on the same square occupied by BK in initial position. Unbalanced B1 is acceptable shortcoming justified by the light Meredith construction without technical units. In addition, here we have some kind of function-permutation of each BR separately: active/passive sacrifice (Rc6) and passive/active blocking (Rd5).
h # 3      b) + wPb4      (5+6)
2nd Prize - H60
B. Milosheski (Macedonia)



a) 1.g1=S! Bxe4+   2.Kxe4 Rg3  3.d5 Rxe3 #
b) 1.g1=B! Rxf5+   2.Kxf5 Bg2   3.f6 Bh3 #

    Rather homogeneous play of both sides beginning with a curious nuance - an accurate tempo-promotion. The problem is also contents Kniest theme, active Zilahi, white ODT and B-B Umnov effect. For the purity of tempo-move in position 'a' the displacement of BPg2 to f2 is suggested, but to achieve a correctness in this case is not easy: an illegal position is come out when we are trying to eliminate multiple cooks.
h # 3    b) Kd5<->Pf6   (8+11)
1st Honorable Mention - H57
K. Velikhanov (Azerbaijan)




1) 1.Kc5 Sh5  2.gxh5 Rxd6  3.Sg7 d4 #
2) 1.Ke5 dxc4  2.Sd4 Sf5    3.gxf5 Bxd6 #

    Despite of an absence of function-permutation of some pieces, indicating of a tactical heterogeneity of the play in phases (so-called anti-identity - in its pure form - is also absents), the problem is still interesting by "topological" effects and complex cooperative play.
h # 3          2.1..       (5+13)
2nd Honorable Mention - H14
C. Jones (England)




1) 1.Kxf6 Rg5   2.Se7+ Kxh4  3.Be5 Bxe5 #
2) 1.Kd4 Kh2  2.Se3 Rc5      3.Bc3 Bxc3 #

    Not a quite matched but rather interesting and a tactically saturated play ending with model echo-mates. It is a pity that WPb4 is needed only in one solution. Technical WPf6, as one could see, is a forced flaw.
h # 3          2.1..       (5+12)
3rd Honorable Mention - H15
U. Belokon, G. Chumakov
(Ukraine & Russia) author's version




1) 1.Qd4+! exd4  2.Kb5 d5   3.Ka6 e2-e4 #
2) 1.Qf3! exf3     2.Kc5 f4    3.Sb4 e3-e4 #

    Relatively simple but a highly original strategical problem with a sacrifice of BQ motivated by attraction of Pe3/Pe2 to the needed d/f-file and its subsequent movement interfering of Bg8/Bh6 at W2. Model battery mates with the play by both WPs on e4 square. A well-constructed Meredith without technical units. The last moves of both sides in phases unfortunately are not balanced.
h # 3           2.1..        (5+7)
1st Commendation - H78
C. Jones (England)




1) 1.Rc4 dxc4   2.Kd4 cxb5+  3.Kc5 Sb7 #
2) 1.Re4 dxe4   2.Kf4 e5+    3.Kg5 Sf7 #

    A nice setting with the cooperative creation of pseudo battery P+R motivated by the need of square-vacation for the Dark Monarch with his posterior quick march to the place of his death. A nice Meredith with model mates. There is a strong feeling of some symmetry in the play.
h # 3           2.1..        (4+8)
2nd Commendation - H37
V. Lasiy (Ukraine)


a) 1.Rc8 Sd8!  2.Kc4-d4 Ke8(tempo)  3.Rc4 Sd8-e6 #
b) 1.Rg3 Sg5!  2.Kd3-d4 Kg6(tempo)  3.Rd3 Sg5-e6 #

    The relatively successful realization of well-known idea (see P0523423). Absolutely homogeneous play of both sides in phases with a paradoxical self-pinning by WK tempo-move, direct unpinning and active blocking with B-B Umnov effect and white switchback. At the first glance everything is great but a closer study reveals serious shortcomings of the problem. Obviously weak B1 urges to realize the idea in 2,5 moves. The visible variety of the play in phases is conditioned (partly) by twinning form that is exposed by monotonous mates. But the idea is good and it can be realized with a real variety of play (see diagram E).
h # 3  b) Kc4<->Pd3   (4+10)
Special Commendation - H58
V. Khupchenko U. Belokon (Ukraine)




a) 1.Kg2 Bd3  2.Kf3 Bf1  3.Ke4 Bg2 #
b) 1.Bd3 Sd4   2.Bf1 Sf3   3.Bg2 Sg3 #

    An elephant has been repainted but it has not forgotten the way to the water. A remembering problem with a curious paradox. It is a little bit pity that it is impossible to remove the technical WPe5 keeping the miniature form.
h # 3     b) black Bh7    (6+1)

     Helpmates in more than 3 moves
1st Honorable Mention - H62
U. Belokon (Ukraine)



1) 1.Bg4 Rxh1 2.Rh3 Rxh3 3.Bf6 Rxg3 4.Bh3! Rg7+  5.Kd8 Rb8#
2) 1.c2 Rb3  2.Sb2 Rxf3  3.Kb6 Kxe2  4.Ka5 Rb1 5.Sd1! Ra3#

    Not a quite homogeneous and rough play however contains interesting switchbacks of Bh3 and Sd1. Moves Bd8-f6 and c3-c2 are also rather interesting, though not equal. It is a pity that function-permutation between white rooks has failed. Model mates at different edges of the board. The mentioned circumstance justifies the choice of five-mover form. The construction is heavy and crowded but it seems optimal.
h # 5         2.1..         (3+16)
2nd Honorable Mention - H82
M. Gershinskiy (Ukraine)




1... Bf5  2.Bh5 Bg6!!(Bh7?)  3.Ke6 Bh7  4.f6 Bg6  5.Re7 Bh7  6.Bf7 Bf5#

    An entertaining tempo-strategy in the play of waiting WB in a light Meredith position with multiple "topological" effects. The check to WK in initial position has reduced the judge's evaluation. Compare with P1083353.
h # 6          0.1..         (2+7)
Commendation - H21
V. Lasiy (Ukraine)




1.Be7! a4  2.Qh2 a5  3.Qb8 a6  4.Sd6 a7  5.Qf8 a8Q  6.Se8 Qa2#

     Against a background of a fast white Excelsior, we see the three black active blocks with a beautiful three-stepped maneuver of BQ which draws a mirrored letter «Z» upwards - like extraterrestrial being do. Joke! It is noteworthy that ordinary clerk (WPa2) who has achieved the most "top" terminates his career at the initial step of the ladder. Compare with P0559623.
h # 6          1.1..        (2+11)

     APPENDIX (I am not pretending to co-authorship at all).
Diagram A (version H74) Diagram B (version H68)
h # 2          2.1..         (8+7)h # 2   see solution    (6+12) 
     Diagram A 1) 1.Rxe7 Sxe7 2.Bxf5 Sxf5 #, 2) 1.Rxb6 Sxb6 2.Rxc4 Sxc4 #, The content is slightly simplified, but no technical units!
     Diagram B zero a)-Pa3 1.Ke5 Kd7 2.f5 Bb2 #, b)-Pe7 1.Kg5 Kxf7 2.Rxh6 Rxd5 #, c)Rg6->e6 1.Sf4 Bxe3 2.Sg6 Bg5 #, d)Kf6<->Rg6 1.Sf5 Rxd5 2.Sxh6 Rg5 #. Instead of dubious paradox of square unity, we have here a pure change of functions between Rc5/Bc1 in both pairs of solutions: pinning/mating - in a)/b) and support/mating - in c)/d). It must to be acknowledged that this version is also has flaws.
Diagram C (version H27) Diagram D (version H26) Diagram E (version H37)
h # 2           4.1..        (4+3)h # 2          2.1..         (4+3)h # 3          2.1..         (6+8)

     Diagram C 1) 1.Re6 Rbb7 2.Rd6 Rdc7 #, 2) 1.Re5 Rdb7 2.Rc5 R5b6 #, 3) 1.Kxb5 Rd5+ 2.Ka4 Bb3 #, 4) 1.Kxd7 Be6+ 2.Ke8 Rb8 #. We have eliminated unsuitable battery-mate been keeping all the model mate-finales. Miniature!
     Diagram D 1) 1.a2(tempo) Qb6 2.Qf3 Qd4 #, 2) 1.Ke5 Qc2(tempo) 2.Qd6 Qf5 #. Mutual tempo-moves. Miniature-block can be created if we will replace BPa3 by BBa1.
     Diagram E 1) 1.Qf1 Sf2! 2.Kc5 Kf3(tempo) 3.Qf1-b5 Se4 #, 2) 1.Qf5 Sg4! 2.Kc4 Kxh3(tempo) 3.Qf5-b5 Se3 #.

Judge of the tourney Vitaly Medintsev
12 January 2012, Krasnodar.

[ up ] [ h # 2 ] [ h # 3 ] [ h # N ]