Selections 9

White king is not necessarily active in orthodox directmovers. Sometimes he makes even the liability: for a problem to be considered orthodox, it is necessary to have white king somewhere on the board and it might be a problem, when he is not needed and there is no safe place on the board to put him there. Maybe that is why it is subconsciously attractive if white king takes responsibility and tries to attack his black colleague. Of course, normally he cannot give check, but this is where the royal battery becomes an indispensable tool.

In some cases also the black royal battery can be exploited successfully, e.g. in this orthodox #4 as defensive device or checkmating in s#3.

So this is an attractive tool in general and this is where our selection begins. It start with orthodox #3, but then continues with helpmates and more and more fairy usages of royal battery.
Martin Hoffmann
Chris Handloser

2nd Prize Die Schwalbe 2009-10

1.Rc3! th. 2.Qf7+ Kd7 3.Qxe7#
1...Rh7 2.Sg5+ Kxd6 3.Kxg4#
     2...Rxg5 3.Rf6#
1...dxc3 2.Sc5+ Kxd6 3.Ke3#
     2...Qxc5 3.Qxe7#

There two bishops ready as rear battery pieces in the diagram position. Masked light-squared battery is fired immediately in the key (that is not very good), but the indirect dark-squared battery is of the royal variety and waits for its action until the last move - it delivers two different checkmates. Nice analogy of two variations.

#3 (10+9)

Alexandr Pankratiev
3rd-4th Place Moscow Championship 2008

a) 1.Rg3 Kxd4 2.Rg5 Bg6 3.f3 Kd3#

b) 1.Bg7 Kxd3+ 2.Kf5 Rh4 3.Rf6 Kd4#

Two checkmating royal batteries are formed by captures of black piece standing on the battery lines and then fired by moves to squares left by the other black piece. This is made possible by black interferences in the B3 and results in the exchange of 1st and 3rd white moves.

h#3 (4+15)
b) f4 -» g5

Tichomir Hernadi
Prize Probleemblad 2010

1.Kh7 Bxg4 2.Kh6 Bf5 3.Kh5 Be4 4.Kh4 Kf5 5.Kh3 Kf4 6.Kh2 Kf3 7.Kh1 Kg3#

1.Kg8 Bf7+ 2.Kf8 Bxa2 3.Ke8 Ke6 4.Kd8 Kd5 5.Kc8 Kxc6 6.Kb8 Bd5 7.Ka8 Kxc7#

Clearly, bK stands in the corner of the wrong colour. So it has to march to the opposite corner and it is a question which one - a8 or h1?

The correct answer is: to both. Two solutions have multiple common elements, with oustanding linear walks of the bK and final mates delivered by royal batteries forming the furthest possible echo (7,7).

h#7 (2+8)

Vincenzo Tinebra
Best Problems 2012

1.Qg1! th. 2.Qxg2(Qd1)#
1...hxg1Q(Qd8) 2.Ka2#
1...hxg1R(Rh8) 2.Ka1#
1...hxg1B(Bf8) 2.Kc1#
1...hxg1S(Sb8) 2.Kb2#

There is a considerable tension in the diagram position: Rh4 does not check because of Sh1, Pf3 because of Pg2 and Se5 because of Kb1. White cannot do much about Sh1 as its capture allows re-blocking of h1 by Ph2. There is possibility to capture Pg2 - this is used for the threat. However, wK still cannot leave b1 due to guard of all squares c1, b2, a2 and a1 by 4 different black pieces. This is how the duel of Ph2 and Kb1 is motivated: pawn defends by capture of wQ, but it has to promote and rebear in the shape of some black piece. This blocks their Circe squares and as a result White can fire Anticirce-specific royal battery.

#2 (14+10)

Hans Uitenbroek
Ruud Beugelsdijk

2nd Prize TT Derby 2006

1.Kc3 Qxb3(bQ) 2.Qh3(wQ) Ke4#

1.Kd5 Qxc6(bQ) 2.Qh1(wQ) Ke3#

Magic board implies change of colour of any moving piece except kings. As a result, utilization of royal battery is one of the easiest ways to achieve the checkmate. Batteries are formed with Qh8 as rear piece, also bK walks onto the battery lines. In the meantime White has to neutralize grasshoppers that could defend against checks. One of them is pinned by bK move, the other is transformed into bQ, unable to jump over bK.

Nice analogy.

h#2 (5+9)
Magic board
2+2 grasshopper

Ricardo Vieira
StrateGems 2009

1.Sg2 Rd7 2.Rb8 Kf2#

1.Sf2 Rc7 2.Rg8 Kg2#

Another Anticirce problem and again with considerable tension in the diagram position. While wK is not checked thank to two bRs standing on Circe squares of bB and bQ, bK is not checked yet thanks to wK. Obviously, any wK move allows reblock of f1 by bQ or bB. So White has to plan opening the battery by wK move to f2 or g2, while the other black linemover must be closed by bS. It is also necessary to remove two guards by bRs on wB line, so one of them is closed by wR and the other blocks Circe square of bS guarding square to be entered by wK.

Crystal-clear Anticirce strategy, only W1 has not so valuable content and only mass of wR is used in the checkmates, not its power.

h#2 (4+12)

Michal Dragoun
2nd Honourable Mention
Sachove umeni 2012

1.PAxe2+ Rxe2 2.Qxd5+ Kxd5#

1.NShd1 e3 2.NSxf5 Kxf5#

1.NSf2 e4 2.NSxd6 Kxd6#

1.KOSf3 exf3 2.NSxe5 Kxe5#

1.Vxd3 exd3 2.Rxf6+ Kxf6#

Checkmating black requires basically two steps: activation of wR along the 2nd rank and firing white royal battery. While there are ample possibilities for the first step, wK is unable to move and it is not so easy to find all five different ways how to allow him a firing move. This requires close cooperation especially with wPe2.

As a result we get not so unified black strategy, but Albino enriched by solution involving capture of thematical pawn.

h#2 (11+13)
vao f7 - g6, rao e1 - h4
0+3 nao, 0+1 pao

Ralf Kraetschmer
Prize M. Ridley-50 JT
Mat Plus 2011-12

a) 1.Sf6+ Kf8 2.Kh3 Qc8+ 3.Kh8 Rd8 4.Sh7+ Kg6#

b) 1.Se3+ Ke1 2.Kg4 Qe4+ 3.Kg1 Qc2 4.Sg2+ Kf3#

At first, it is difficult to understand, how can available white material force Black to checkmate wK. But when one realizes that wS check significantly changes the game, especially with bK on the edge of the board, the aim becomes more reasonable. For the royal battery to function well it remains to find a device preventing check defence by the previously checking knight. But of course, if bK is forced to move to square where he would potentially check wK in the knight's shape, then it all becomes possible.

In addition to the above sketched strategy of forcing checkmate, I like also the fact that two finales are taking place on the opposite sides of the board. Black king is moved in the twin, but wK transmuting property is thus well used too.

hs#4 (3+3)
1+1 transmuting king
b) h7 -» c2

Chris Feather
Fairings 2011


1.ELa3 2.ELb5 3.ELc6 4.ELc7 5.ELd8 6.ELe8 7.ELe2 8.ELc3 Kb7#

Besides firing royal battery (that is a visible feature of the position) it is interesting to consider alternative arrival squares for wK. Obviously, a7 is ruled out by RHa4 in all cases, but the differentiation between b7 and b8 is more subtle. In the set play, b7 is not good due to possible jump Ma8!, while in the solution Kb8 would block Circe square needed for Md3 guard of b2.

ser-h#8* (3+4)
1+2 moose, 0+1 rookhopper

Comments to Juraj Lörinc.
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