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Olympic-Themed Problem Solution (25.08.2012.)

This weekend sees the Steve Boniface Memorial Congress taking place in Bristol, while next Sunday will be the start of the Paignton Congress at Oldway Mansion. This will be the last congress there for a bit, because the developers will have moved in by next summer as they start to convert the mansion into a hotel. Although they are planning to retain the Ballroom for functions, it’s unclear whether the congress will be able simply to slot back in as before.

Last week’s pawn promotion problem was solved by 1.Qc8 and after any king move 2.Pd8=Q mate.

This week’s diagram is a repeat of the one given three weeks ago, the winner of a world-wide competition which challenged any composer to find an imaginative interpretation based on the Olympic’s symbolic five interlocking rings. The judge of the 2-move section was Christopher Reeves of the Truro club and he felt this entry was head and shoulders above the others. Although the 22 entries he saw were nameless, this one turned out to be by Marjan Kovačević of Serbia, generally recognised to be currently the world’s best 2-move composer.

The solution is 1.Qf8! threatening 2.Nb5. Black has five attempts to stop this but each is met in a different way: viz. 1…Rg6 2.Nxf3; 1…Na3 2.bxc3; 1…Qxb2 2.Be3; 1…Bf5 2.Rxd5; 1…e4 2.Qf6.

The allusion to five rings may be found in the fact that White had five unsuccessful attempts at mate:

viz. (a) 1.Rc8 threatening 2.Nb5 refuted by 1…Bf5.

(b) 1.Bf8 threatening 2.Nb5 refuted by 1…Qxb2.

(c) 1.Qc8 threatening 2.Nb5 refuted by 1…Na3.

(d) 1.b4 threatening 2.Nb5 refuted by 1…Na3 and

(e) 1.Nd3 threatening 2.Nb5 refuted by 1…Rg6.

White’s unsuccessful tries are, in sequence, moves by a rook, bishop, queen, pawn and knight, and the refutations are, again in sequence, moves by bishop, queen, pawn, knight and rook – a cyclic shift in attack and defence.

Fiendishly difficult for the casual solver, of course, but ingenious when explained.

The reader who got this spot on was Mr. Giles Body of Lympstone, near Exmouth who wins the £25 prize.

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