Some h#2s selected from the WCCI

by Chris J. Feather

It was quite an experience acting as one of the helpmate judges in the recent WCCI. The most depressing feature was the large number of partially or totally anticipated problems. In the end the list of these stretched to several pages, despite the fact that virtually all the problems had already been appraised by one or more tourney judges. It was also a great shame that joint compositions were excluded, thus depriving the competition of the contributions of the successful Bakcsi/Zoltán, Jonsson/Wiehagen and Abdurahmanovic/Ellinghoven teams, among others. But despite all that there were some very interesting works, and not just by the three leading composers. Here are a few of the other h#2s, not necessarily the best in terms of points scored, but ones which nevertheless appealed to me for various reasons.

(JL: Chris judged recently finished helpmate section of WCCI. I believed he had come across some less known, but good and interesting helpmates and asked him about possibility to provide a selection of them. He reacted positively and very quickly sent me these commented h#2s. I hope you'll enjoy them. Thank you, Chris! He included in the selection one problem already published at CCM, my own h#2 from Springaren Christmas Tourney 1998 with the following comment: "Six-step round trips by WR and BQ in a h#2 are not seen every day. A simple enough concept... once you have seen it!")

Michal Dragoun
Variantim 1998

1.Sxb2 Bf5 2.Sxa4 Qe5#

1.Sxc2 Rb7 2.Sa3 Qc6#

Easy but pleasant solving, and an exciting theme for a h#2 collector because white doubling brought about by black captures is a very unusual combination. But a judge has to look further, and the fact that the "thematic" Rh5 is superfluous came as a great disappointment.

h#2 (8+11)
2 solutions

Michal Dragoun
Schach-Aktiv 1999

1.Rxb7 Se2+ 2.Qf4 Re8#

1.Rxc8 Sf2+ 2.Qd3 Qa7#

Another interesting scheme, with the hideaway captures taking place at a good distance from the BK.

h#2 (9+12)
2 solutions

Zoran Gavrilovski
1st Place Macedonia-Croatia 1998

1.Bg5 Bd5 2.Kxd5 Qf5#

1.Sf2 Bd4+ 2.Kxd4 Qe3#

Most modern h#2s are assemblages of familiar elements, so much so that in this case I solved the problem from the diagram in a few seconds. Nevertheless it is thematically well unified, visually attractive (especially the interferences behind the mating pieces), and it seems to be an original matrix.

h#2 (5+12)
2 solutions

Gennadij Kozjura
3rd Prize Moscow Tourney 1999

1.Qf7+ Kh8 2.Kf8 Bb4#

1.Qd7 Kg8 2.Ke8 Re4#

1.Sc7 Re4+ 2.Kd8 Re8#

1.Sd7 Bb4+ 2.Ke8 Rf8#

Anticipatory selfpin is one of the most overworked motifs in the h#, but a fourfold setting with model mates and only 8 pieces is a noteworthy achievement, despite a few repeated moves.

h#2 (4+4)
4 solutions

Arpad Molnar
1st HM Bakonyoszlop 1999

a) 1.Sc4 Rd2+ 2.Ke5 f4#

b) 1.Rc4 Rc3+ 2.Kf4 Bd6#

Attractive dual avoidance unpins in a light setting with model mates. The square vacation and re-occupation on the first moves adds to the visual appeal. (But please let us NOT call this effect by the name of a Russian composer who campaigned to prevent his countrymen composing helpmates!)

h#2 (8+7)
b) -Sh3

Mario Parrinello
2nd Prize Feather-50 JT 1997-1998

1.Kd4+ Raxd3+ 2.Sbxd3 Qb4#

1.Kf3+ Rdxd3+ 2.Rxd3 c7#

"It appears so paradoxical to capture a piece which Black has just pinned. The technical difficulties have been overcome without too much strain and the interchange of functions between the white rooks is most pleasing." (F.Chlubna & C.J.Feather, judges in the original tourney). I strongly suspect that a judge who did not actually solve the problems would rate this less highly; indeed that may well have happened in the WCCI! Parrinello’s originality is too subtle for some tastes, but he might well have come first in this WCCI section if it had been limited to helpmates in 2 moves.

h#2 (6+14)
2 solutions

Nikola Stolev
2nd HM Mario Figueiredo MT 1999

1.Qe6 Rc7 2.Kxd6 Sc4#

1.Qc6 Rxe3+ 2.Kd5 c4#

1.Qc5 Re6+ 2.Kd4 Rc4#

Anticipatory selfpin again, this time with mates from the same square. This combination is not new but the construction is ingenious and the position dynamic. The tourney was a very strong one.

h#2 (8+9)
3 solutions

Ashot Jegjazarian
1st HM Mario Figueiredo MT 1999

1.Qxb4 Bh5 2.Qd6 Bxd6#

1.Rxf3 Rxe4 2.Rf6 Rxf6#

Hard to believe that this neat Meredith, showing capture and switchback along the masked battery line, can be original, but it seems to be so!

h#2 (5+7)
2 solutions

Comments to Juraj Lörinc.
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