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MatPlus.Net Forum Helpmates Analysing helpmates in 2

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Subsequent posts related to the definition of publication have been compiled in a separate thread
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I think this one is very interesting and could possibly raise diverse arguments (which is a good thing, of course!)

Aleksandr Pankratiev
3-4 Pr V. Bron-90 MT, Uralksy Problemist 2000
(= 8+8 )

h#2
b) d4<>e4

a) 1.Kxd5 Sf5 2.Sf6 Re5#
b) 1.Kxf4 Sf6 2.Sf5 Be5#

There are two fields that one could work on here, thematic purity and economy. Well, what do you think?

The bRg5 line closing is a fake in both solutions. In (a), the wS has no option to guard d6 but moving to f5 and in (b) the bS must block f5. The bBh8 line closing is OK because, in (a), it is the single motivation for B2 and, in (b), the wS has an option (f2) to guard g4.

After removing the unnecessary pieces / strategies, we come to:

(= 10+7 )

H # 2
b) wSd4 <> bSe4

same solutions

The correct way of showing the strategies is:

(= 9+8 )

H # 2
b) wSd4<>bSe4

a) 1.Kxd5 Sf5 2.Sd6 Re5#
b) 1.Kxf4 Sd6 2.Sf5 Be5#

I like the clever trick of switching the bishop's line in the second version very much. So, now that we resolved the issue of the interferences, how about going a bit extreme again? I do know that the captures look nice and blend quite well, but are they really necessary?!

OK.

The wR and the wB can be replaced by bPs and we come to a Meredith presentation:

(= 4+8 )

H # 2
b) wSd4<> bSe4

Unfortunately this may lead to the false conclusion that the second version in post (43) failed in presenting an economic setting (version) of the original helpmate.

In this version (43), both wR/B are necessary, even if they are downgraded in their functions (just guarding a single square - c4 / f3). They do act.

In helpmates, the capture of white officers is always interesting, even if this has been shown in the last decades.

The setting (second in post (43)) does not show any idle piece (it is captured).

I am fully aware that the wR and B are useful, I am only trying to get opinions if they are indispensable. As I said, the captures blend nicely to the matrix and even if they rise the aesthetic value/impression of the problem, to me they do not have so much substance since they are carried out by the king (which has, in any case, to move to these squares). Captures of white pieces have always been a field of h# composers' exploration, but imho and as I mentioned in the beginning of this thread we should be also (and perhaps more) interested in why the moves are played, and not only in what they are doing.

It is interesting that 5 years before the problem in post (42) appeared, Franz Pachl had already presented this matrix following the minimalistic approach (even if his setting is thematically flawed for 2.Sf5 in (b) is a self-block, too).

Franz Pachl
(= 4+6 )

h#2
b) d4<>e4

a) 1.Kd5 Sf5 2.Sf6 Re5#
b) 1.Kf4 Sf6 2.Sf5 Be5#

Shame on me, I was stuck searching for setups with the knights close to the king, so I miserably missed this jewel, but I guess better late than never :) Yes, 30 years ago...

Chris Feather
5 Pr Schach-Echo 1977
(= 4+7 )

h#2
b) b4<>c6

a) 1.Kf5 Sd3 2.Se5 Be4#
b) 1.Ke3 Se5 2.Sd3 Re4#