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Chosen by Colin Sydenham

Narayan Shankar Ram

6th HM., The Problemist, 1986


Helpmate in 2: duplex

Black begins: 1.Ba5 Be4 2.Rf5 Bc6# White begins: 1.Rh5 Re4 2.Bc4 Re6#

Reason for choice: I have always been fascinated by problems in which the play of each side imitates the other, either formally or strategically, or both. The natural home for such work is the duplex helpmate, in which not only does Black help White to mate, but White proceeds to help Black to do the same: both sides fulfil the stipulation. This problem, by a very talented Indian composer, was an inspiration to me when I was first attempting this form of composition. The strategic correspondence of the two parts is perfect. The first move is a self-block, the second an interference-unpin on e4 (at the same time opening an essential line), the third is a reciprocal unpin by the unpinned piece, allowing mate by double check on the fourth. Beautiful. And note how all 6 line-pieces participate in both parts. Who could ask for more?

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 November 2011 15:07
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