Five years ago, with the occasion of the Chess Olympiad in Dresden 2008, a quick composing tourney with two sections was organized. The required theme in the tourney was:
In a h#3 White pins (after a checkless key) his own piece on its first move. The pinned piece delivers check mate.
A: 1.Bd5 Bxf2 2.Sf4 Bxe3 3.Qd7 Bc5#
B: 1.Rd5 Rxe2 2.Sd3 Rxe3 3.Qc7 Re6#
The judge Udo Degener praised the construction hoping that no anticipation will be found. The whole play is based on the destruction of two black batteries unpinning the thematic white pieces and black Grimshaw.
The black Queen performs a selfblock while unguarding the mating square.
[Award of the Dresden 2008 QCT]
One year later, the same piece arrangement leaded to another success in a different tournament:
A: 1.Qh2 Sxa4 2.Bxa4 Bxe3 3.Bc6 Bc5#
B: 1.Rd2 Sxg7 2.Rxg7 Rxe3 3.Rc7 Re6#
Each wS actively sacrifices in order to allow a black active selfblock. The white thematic pieces initially pinned must be unpinned at B1. The black Grimshaw is lost, but we have the mutual exchange of roles between wSs and model mates.
Finally, during the European Chess Solving Championships 2013 held in Vilnius a composing tournament with two sections was organized on the occasion of Nikolaj Zujev's 60th birthday. In the second section the required theme was:
In a h#3 the mate is delivered from the square where moved the black key unit.
1.Bxd5 a3 2.Bxf3 Bxf3 3.Bd4 Bd5#
1.Rxc3 a4 2.Rxf3 Rxf3 3.Rd4 Rc3#
Each black thematic piece annihilates alternatively a wS and afterwards sacrifices on f3. The black Grimshaw still appears in the last move. The control of squares b4 and b5 is ensured by the single / double step of wPa2. The placement of the wK avoids cook.
Four pairs of pieces mutually change their roles:
- wRh3 & wBh1: guard vs mate
- wSc3 & wSd5: guard vs passive annihilation in B1
- bRd2 & bBf6: mutual interference on d4
- bRc2 & bBf7: cookstopper vs active sacrifice on f3
[Award of Zujev-60 JT]
Same pattern, three problems. Same mates, different strategies. That’s what actually helpmate composition is all about nowadays: finding new mixture(s) of known effects in more or less explored settings.