Solutions for Motley Helpmates

{A}
1. Bc6+ Nb5+
2. Kd5+ f4+
3. Re4+ c4#

{B}
1. Rf5+ Rg4+
2. Bf4+ Bc2+
3. d3+ Kf2#

{C}
1. Ndb4+ Nc5+
2. Bd3+ Kf4+
3.Qd4+ Ne4‡

In these three, every move is a non-capturing check. {B} came first. It is cluttered, but it did win me a bottle of wine for my father. Then came {A}, and then Michel Caillaud found {C}, where no pawn checks are needed. Michel believes a 3.5 would be very difficult without a pawn check, and absolutely necessary for a 4.0. I am not sure that either of these would exist, with or without a pawn check, but if anyone could find one, it would be him.

A related composition is:

H.-P. Reich & A. Schöneberg  Probleemblad 1992
8/8/6b1/6r1/4kPR1/8/N1K5/4q3
(4+4) h#3

where all moves are checks, but the last is also a capture. Another interesting one by Bachmann, Schöneberg & Reich, is an all-check h#8 with many captures, from an initial checking position.

{D}
1. Nf6 Kd8 2. Ne8 fxe8=Q 3. Kd6 Qd7#
1. Nh6 Kf6 2. Ng8+ fxg8=Q+ 3. Kd6 Qe6#
1. Kc6 f8=Q 2. Kb7 Qf3+ 3. Kc8 Qa8#

Note that Kd6 occurs in 2 lines. This overlap is perhaps best avoided in a version with Nicolas Gonnin (3n4/6P1/2p5/3k4/BK6/8/8/8), but that one has other costs, and I prefer the current version.

{E}
Set Play: 1... Bc4 2 Kd4 Be5# Actual Play: 1. Kd4 Bd5+ 2. Kd5 Bc4#

Although there are dozens of published compositions with this material, research in PDB turned up only one possible anticipation of the mating matrix, in a cooked h#2 by Lajos Riczu. The second mate noted in PDB can also begin 1. Kb3 and is evidently a bug.

This composition was unplaced in the Gábor Cseh Memorial Tourney where the idea was for an h#2* to show an identical chess-problem motif in each line of play. The problem is probably too simple - the most interesting feature is an invisible one - the pieces can't be shifted wholesale in any direction without allowing a cook (unless they are rammed right against the edge of the board). So the little composition is unique.

{F} 1. Rg7 Be8 2. Bg6 Sg4#.
This is the only rebus I've ever composed. The Principle of Economy of Material must still apply to such a puzzle - i.e. no units extraneous to the solution. Also of course a Principle of Economy of Calligraphy also pertains: no extraneous curlicues on the letters!

{G}
1. Kd8 Qh1 2. Kc8 Qa8#
1. Ke7 Qf1 2. Kd8 Qf8#
1. Re7 Qg1 2. Rd7 Qg8#
1. Rf7 Qc1 2. Re7 Qc8#
This problem corrects, "untwins" and extends a problem by Wolfgang Pauly.

My thanks to Nicolas Dupont, Michel Caillaud, Dan Meinking, Rolf Wiehagen and Nicolas Gonnin for help at various points in the production of this page.

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