Originals 02-040114; Fairings No.35


2nd-4th of January, 2014:

  • (04.01) No.478, 479 – Václav Kotěšovec – Two groups of different hoppers in two wonderful serial problems in Vaclav‘s style!
  • (04.01) No.477 – Miodrag Mladenović – A modern Fairy #3 showing Zagoruiko theme! Warm welcome to Miodrag!
  • (04.01) Fairings No.35 – Chris Feather – One more issue of Fairings is added to the Articles page! Thanks to Stephen Emmerson for the distribution!
  • (03.01) No.476 – Nikola Predrag – This funny problem made me laugh! Locust in h#7 Miniature. No more comments to leave more fun to the solvers!
  • (02.01) No.475 – Valerio Agostini & Gabriele Brunori open a new season – JF-2014/I – with a nice Italian overture!

All previously published problems you can find in the subsections of  Original Problems menu on the top.
The judge for informal fairy tourney 2014(I)Vlaicu Crișan. 

Marine pieces III – the article!

sea-italy13 May, 2013

I’m happy to present you the last part of  the article by IGM Petko A. Petkov about Marine Pieces! This is the 3rd part and dedicated to Marine MAO and Marine MOA. I’ve promised Marine Ship as well, but there’re some differences in implementation in WinChloe and Popeye, so it was skipped for now.

Now the 8 Marine pieces were discussed and all of them are implemented in the both programs – Popeye and WinChloe. So, can be used by most of you I believe, and will be included into Marine TT:

1 Part I – Siren, Triton, Nereid

Part II –  Marine Knight, Poseidon and Marine Pawn

3 Part III –  Scylla (Marine MAO), Charybdis (Marine MOA) 

Enjoy the article! –






With a gratitude to Mr. Petko A.Petkov for his material and work 

and to Mr. Geoff Foster for English correction!

Marine pieces II – the article!

sea-italy07 May, 2013

Almost a month ago I’ve promised thematic tourney dedicated to Marine pieces. Now it is really going to be announced very soon, but first I’d like to publish two more parts of the article by IGM Petko A. Petkov about Marine Pieces.

As you know, the 1st part of the article was “Do You know the Marine pieces? (Part I – Siren, Triton, Nereid)”. And now I’m happy to present you the 2nd part – about Marine Knight, Poseidon and Marine Pawn! For some time these pieces were implemented in WinChloe only, but as you know from the latest Popeye’s release 4.63 – all these pieces are just implemented in Popeye as well!

So, enjoy the article! –




I’d like to add also, that the 3rd part of this article will come very soon, and will be dedicated to Marine MAO, Marine MOA and Marine ship. Why these pieces? Mostly because they’re implemented in the both programs – Popeye and WinChloe. So, can be used by most of you I believe, and can be included into Marine TT.

As always I’m thankful to Mr. Petko A.Petkov for so interesting material and so big work 

and to Mr. Geoff Foster for English correction!

Marine pieces – the article!

DSCN580603 April, 2013

The sea is amazing and beautiful at all seasons! Nothing compares to it… And approaching the summer season, I’ve started to think about thematic tourney dedicated to Marine pieces. The Tournament will be announced later, but prior to it I’ve asked GM Petko A. Petkov to write for Julia’s Fairies an article about Marine Pieces.

So, now I’m very happy to present you the 1st part of the article “Do You know the Marine pieces?”:


My gratitude to you, dear Petko !

Thanks a lot for the English correction to Mr. Geoff Foster !

Parry Series by Petko A. Petkov

30th November, 2012

I’m  happy to present you  a new edition of the article originally published in StrateGems No.51, 2010,  “The Wonderful (new genre) Parry Series”
by IGM Petko A. Petkov,

as a first part of  publication, dedicated to the memory of Dan Meinking,
the inventor of Parry Series.

The second part to this article with a new ideas and containing also some problems dedicated to Dan Meinking, will come soon.

The article “The Wonderful (new genre) Parry Series” is also available  from the Articles page. 

I’d like to tell a special THANKS to Mr. Geoff Foster for the language correction! And, of course, a gratitude from all of us to Mr. Petko A. Petkov for all his efforts and support!


With a gratitude for the linguistic control to Mr.Geoff Foster!



(The translation of Russian original published in The Ural’s problemist  – 2011)


In recent years in the world of fairy composition the Help-self mate genre (Help–compel mate, if we use the terminology of FIDE Albums) has become extremely popular. About 15 years ago this old but forgotten genre was noticed by Romanian problemists – and the well-known magazine Quartz (editor – Paul Raican) published a series of material and problems of this genre. As well as Raican, great activity in this direction was demonstrated by the excellent composers Vlaicu Crisan, Eric Huber, Dinu Ioan Nicula and Ion Murarasu.

A very interesting tradition has already been established in the annual Romanian thematic TZUIKA tourneys, which are carried out regularly during the World Congress of Chess Composition and are dedicated solely to HS# problems.

In regards to the Romanian activity, I have also expressed an interest in this genre, although it was not anything new to me, as for a long time I had known very well that HS# exists and in the early 1970s had discussed these issues with the famous German fairy composer, publisher and innovator, Albert Kniest. But my first problems of this type were published at the beginning of the 21st century and also at the same time I started to publish a series of articles dedicated to this genre.

My first article “HELP-COMPEL MATE – A STIPULATION OF THE FUTURE”, was published in the magazine StrateGems, No. 32 (X-XII/2005). In that article I tried to define for the first time a number of aesthetic criteria for the genre, which of course were based on my own principles as nothing about these issues had previously been published. In the following years I also published a series of other materials dedicated to HS# – in USA, Serbia, Macedonia and France. I have composed about 300 problems of this type and have won a series of prizes in international competitions.

For this reason, I have decided to publish a special article in Russia – as recently some noticeable activity in this direction by some Russian authors has been visible. Since so far there is no generally accepted, official theory of fairy composition, the reader must know, I repeat, that in this article I express only my own ideas and principles, which more or less are confirmed by the HS# -problems which I’m presenting as illustrations to this article.

I want to specifically mention, that I’ll speak mostly about HS#-problems – i.e. problems which finish in mate to the white King. But it is well-known that there are some other kinds such as HS= (finishing in stalemate), HS== (finishing in double-stalemate), HSx (finishing in capture of a white piece) etc. Unfortunately, I am a bit short of space here to write in detail about all this variety.


The genre of help-self mate was invented by the famous German composer Franz Palatz in 1922. The definition of HS# is as follows: „In a HS# in N moves White begins. Both sides help each other throughout N-1 moves with the aim of creating a position in which White forces self-mate in 1 move”.

In other words, play during the first N-1 moves has a cooperative nature. But before the last (Nth) move the character of play dramatically changes and now a self-mate in 1 move is needed, in a position which was created by the joint efforts of both sides! Therefore, we can see that there are 2 phases in a HS# problem: the 1st one – cooperative phase in N-1 moves and the 2nd one – S#-phase in 1 move.

This is how it looks in the 1st problem published in 1923 by the inventor of this genre: N 1 The 1st phase (N-1 = 2 moves): 1. 1.Rc5! Bh7 2.Bc4 Qg6. As can be seen, Black has realized the Turton theme, while White closes a line after a critical move of the Rook. Thus, the 1st phase has ended and now the 2nd one, S# in 1 move, follows –  3.Sc2+ Qxc2#.

N2. – this is the first problem by the inventor where he uses fairy pieces: 1.Gd2! Rd8 2.Bc3 Sd7+ 3.Kd3 f5 4.Gd4 Kf6. This is the end of the 1st phase and now follows: 5.Gg4+ Se5#! A very nice battery play!

Palatz composed just 4 HS# problems before giving up this genre. For a long time, even after the 2nd World War, HS# problems were not popular – too few were composed, most were of poor quality, and most were also not correct.

HS# had never received proper recognition, as many composers had considered that this genre was just a bad modification of helpmates, with the only difference being that in the final position a kind of “self-mate sounding” appears. Even Thomas Dawson, the trend-setter of the „fairy mode” of those times, did not pay any attention to this discovery.

In spite of the incredible boom in recent years, a special book dedicated to this genre has not been published up to this day. I have prepared such a manuscript, but it is not yet clear where and when it might be published.

By the way, later in this article in a very short form I offer to readers some of my theoretical concepts of HS# from that unpublished book.


1. In HS# problems a mate to the white King should be forced only as in standard self-mates! In a correct HS# problem this mate should be given exactly on the Nth move, which is the last move of the solution – not earlier and not later! Thus, not only is Black not obliged to give mate, he is even forbidden from giving a voluntary mate – either during the process of the 1st cooperative phase, or at the last move!

Let us see how this works on the simple scheme N 3 Here, after some free move by White (e.g. 1.Ве5), Black, at first glance, can seemingly give mate by 1…g1=R# or 1…g1=Q#. But Black is not allowed to do this, because voluntary mate is unacceptable; the only possibility is forced mate! This is how it can be achieved: 1.Sc6! g1B 2.Bc3 Bd4. White and Black have realized the 1st, cooperative phase. The next one follows, which is S# in 1 move: 3.Bb2+ Bxb2#.

A logical question: why can’t we solve the problem in another way, such as, for example: 1.Sе6? g1B 2.Bc3 Bd4 3.Bb2+ Bxb2#?? The answer: because Black is not forced to give mate here, he can answer with 3…Kb4! Such a move is a very original and interesting defense in this genre! As the final play fully meets the requirements of self-mates, Black is required to defend himself from mate, if such a defense exists! That is why White plays 1.Sc6! , taking away the possible escape (defense) to b4 by Black on the last move!

2. Cooks and duals in play are totally unacceptable in HS# problems! But, as in standard help-mates, it is not only possible but even desirable to realize the idea in 2 or more thematic solutions (phases) or, eventually – in set-play and real solution.

In this regard, the cases we should first pay attention to are those in which cooks are possible in fewer than N moves. In the scheme N 4 the author’s (thematic) solution is: 1.Qb6! e1B 2.Sf2! Bc3+ – the end of the 1st phase. The 2nd one follows: 3.Qb2+ Bxb2#. But here it is possible to realize HS# in 2 moves: 1.Qb6 e1Q+(or 1…е1=R+) – only after this 1-move cooperative phase follows the 2nd one: 2.Qb1+ Qxb1# (respectively 2…Rxb1#). Thus, here we have a cook in 2 moves after 1.Qb6! If we had a stipulation HS#2 from the beginning, the problem would still be incorrect, as the aim would be reached by 2 (dual) methods – after promotions 1…е1Q+ and 1…e1R+.

3. If there is set-play in a HS# problem it will start with a black move. But it will be impossible to keep this play (because of zugzwang), so in the solution White starts and realizes the real play.

In N 5 the set-play starts with 1…h1B+! – It is obvious that the first, cooperative phase, consists of 1 black half-move only! The 2.Sg2! follows and Black, who is in zugzwang, has to give mate: 2…Bxg2#. But White has no waiting move, so the plan must be changed: 1.Sf3! h1=S! 2.Sg3+ Sxg3#. Of course, you will have already noticed that the problem can’t be solved after 1.Sg2? h1=B 2.Qe6? – Black is not forced to give mate here as he has a defense – 2…Kg5!

It is interesting that up till now there have not been many composed HS# problems with set-play, but there are many possibilities. As in other genres, both phases should be expressed in a most interesting and full way; here, set-plays of 1 move would look very primitive.

In N 6 promotions of the white pawn are combined with reciprocal Anti-Bristol interceptions of the black Q and R, while one more thematic line-opening and anti-dual is demonstrated by Rf3. In the beginning: 1… Rh3! (1…Rd3?) 2.d8=S! Qf2!! 3.Sf5+ Qxf5#; but there is no waiting move, so the play must be changed: 1.d8=B! Rd3! (1…Rh3?) 2.Bg5 Rf6 3.Bf4+ Rxf4#.

4. HS# problems with a fractional number of moves, such as 2.5, 3.5, 4.5 etc., are also possible. This means that Black starts the play, after which everything is the same as for standard HS# problems, where the first move is done by White. For example, if we have a set-play in a HS#2.5 problem, it means: а) set-play is in 2 moves with the 1st move by White; b) real play is in 2.5 moves with the 1st move by Black move, as it is impossible to keep the set-play because of zugzwang.


The summary of my principles will now follow – I replicate it from my already published article in “StrateGems” No.32 (2005). Of course, some other interpretations are also possible. Unfortunately, nothing about these questions were said by the inventor Franz Palatz  – only looking at his first problems can we guess to some extent, what it was the famous composer had thought or dreamed.

I am deeply convinced that the HS# genre is a completely independent genre in fairy composition, with its own thematic ideas, and which promises a very large range of interesting practical possibilities. Although this genre to some extent can be considered as a compilation of helpmates and self-mates, in reality this combination has a unique specificity and significance.

Consequently, the most common, general aesthetic criterion can be expressed as follows: in a high-quality HS# problem a tricky and original thematic complex should be shown in maximally economical and aesthetic form. At first glance of such a problem it should already be clear, that the content has such elegant form, that it can’t be presented either in a helpmate, or in a self-mate, or in any other genre of composition!

A logical question here:  on what basis can we expect such a uniqueness and independence of HS# problems? The answer is easy and interesting at the same time.

1. Of course, a special nature of the play in a HS# is determined by the particular structure of its content – the 2 contrasting phases of play: cooperative in N -1 moves and inverse in 1 move. And as such content does not occur either in H#, or in S#, the composer should specially emphasize this feature of HS# problems. If a HS# problem looks more paradoxical in comparison with a helpmate or self-mate (its content and construction), then it is better. On the contrary – if a HS# problem shows a modest or banal idea that has already been met many times in H# and S# in good constructions, de facto such an HS# loses its sense of content and existence.

2. In HS# it is possible to significantly “retire” from the banal cooperative schemes for one very important reason. The fact is that in HS# problems you can safely use very strong material – Queen, Rooks, Bishops etc. In helpmates it is almost impossible to compose problems with such an abundance of white material because of unavoidable cooks. And exactly this possibility of unlimited use of powerful white material in HS# (and this is largely true for the black material as well!) opens up opportunities to realize new and complicated strategical complexes. The composer should use this chance to a maximally rational degree, working in 2 ways: theoretical, which outlines the possible combinations of the motives (synthesis), and practical, when the abstract ideas are brought to actual realization.

3. It is easy to determine why a high-quality HS# problem should be significantly different from help- and self-mates, where at first glance thematic complexes have partially analogical motives, as they occur in HS#. In a self-mate the play is direct only – from the first till the last move. Moreover, especially in problems with a small number of moves (2,3), it is necessary to almost completely restrict the mobility of the white King, and very often – of the black King as well. In a HS# there are conditions for a much greater freedom and activity of both Kings, and this fact should be fully used!

All of this doesn’t mean that HS# is much better than H# or S#. On the contrary – such comparisons are even completely inappropriate. I just want to emphasize that HS# is a sufficiently independent genre. The limitless possibilities for composing in this arena are not an estimation on the basis of theoretical predictions, but have concrete practical reasons: here we work with a new structure of the content and with new, more powerful material. In these days it is already possible to check such problems with a computer – approximately in 5-6 moves and even longer. By the way, strangely enough, the computer testing of HS# problems is not as fast as, let’s say, of helpmates or even self-mates. So, don’t fall into composing of too long HS# – it would mean first of all a risk of primitivization of the content  and on the other hand – impossibility of computer testing!

Let’s look at some relatively recent problems, where very brightly is shown the most important feature of good HS# problems – the presence of original and even paradoxical synthesis of already known themes and ideas, presented in surprisingly good constructions.

N 7. I. 1.Kd3! Bxb6 2.Be2 Kxd7 3.Qe6+ Kxe6#; II. 1.Ke3 Rxd7 2.Re2 Kxb6 3.Qb5+ Kxb5#. Amazing “aristocrat”, where every half-move is thematic, with dynamic play of both Kings.

N 8. I. 1.Bc7! (A) Bxe3 2.Rd7!(B) Bf2 3.Bh3 Re3 4.Bd6+ Bxc4#; II. 1.Rd7! (B) Rxe3 2.Bc7! (B) Re2 3.Rc3 Be3 4.Rd6+ Rxf5#. Wonderful complex, demonstrating masked white battery-creation, unpins of black and white pieces, Annihilation (Pe3), Grimshaw (e3), cycle AB-BA in ODT form.

N 9. I. 1. Sf1! Bd1 2.Sxg3! Bxf3 3.Se4+ Bxe4# ; II. 1. Qb7! Bf2 2.Qxb3! Bxe3 3.Qb6+! Bxb6#. Zilahi theme on the background of reciprocal Annihilation of 4 pieces – 2 white and 2 black – with a goal – creation of masked black batteries.

N 10. I. 1.Bc1! Qg3!! 2. Rf3! gxh3 3.Bd3! Kb3 4.Bb1+! Qxf3#; II. 1.Rb4! Qh7!! 2.Bf5! gxf4 3.Rd3! Kb1 4.Ra3+! Qxf5#. White Indian theme in combination with black-white Bristol, double line-opening – for the white and black pieces.

N 11. 1.Rf5+! Kg2 2.Rf2+ Kg3 3.Rg2+ Kf4 4.Rg5 Rd6+ 5.Kc5 Ra6+ 6.Kd4 Ra2 7.Bd2+ Rxd2#. A unique combination – white and black Rook-Rundlauf + white battery creation!

N 12. a) 1.Bg3! g1R 2.Bg2+ hxg2 3.Kf4 h1Q 4.Bh2 Qxh2#; b) 1.Kxe4! g1B! 2.Bf3 h1S 3.Be5 h2 4.Rf4 Sg3#. Paradoxical realization of black Allumwandlung in zugzwang form – one of the pieces is walled in, but the other gives mate!


N 13. a) 1.Ba1 Bg2 2.Re5 Rf3 3.Kd5 Kg7 4.Rh5+ Rc3#; b) 1.Rxc5 Rh3 2.Be5 Bf3 3.Kb3 Kh5 4.Bg7+ Bd5#. Double Indian theme in combination with Grimshaw is realized from both sides!

N 14. a) 1.Rb7! Rh6 2.Rhd7 Qg6 3.Qc6+ Qxc6#; b) 1.Rc7! Bh8 2.Rhe7 Qg7 3.Qd4+ Qxd4#. White realizes RR-Bristol two times, black answers with Turton theme! Unbelievable construction with 9 pieces only!

N 15. a) 1…Ra4 2.Qg5 Kb4 3.Kd4 Qe1 4.Qb5+ Kxb5#; b) 1…Ba2 2.Qg7 Kb3 3.Kd5 Qc7 4.Qb2+ Kxb#. Black Indian theme with black King as forward battery-piece, indirect white batteries K/Q, created after ambushes of the white Q!

N 16. I. 1.Qf1 Ba4+ 2.Kc4 Qf7 3.Sfd4+ Rxd4#; II. 1.Qc8 Rb2+ 2.Kxc3 Qh3 3.Sed4+ Bxd4#. 4-pieces pin – 2 white and 2 black (masked) using the both Q! It should be noted also, that the model mates here are obtained after realization of black Grimshaw on “d4” square – an amazing motive!

N 17. I. 1…a1=Q! 2.Rd6 Qa2 3.Bc6 Qxd5+! 4.Kxd5 b1=B 5.Bc5 Ba2#; II.1…b1=R! 2.Bc3 Rb4 3.Bd3 Rxd4! 4.Kxd4 a1=S 5.Rc4 Sb3#. Here the black demonstrates: Allumwandlung, Annihilation of pawns d5/d4, sacrifices in style of Zilahi. White realizes 3 self-blocks in each solution. Model mates!

N 18. I. 1…d1=R! 2.Kc5 Rd4 3.Sd1 Rd3+ 4.Sf2 Re3 5.S2h3+ Rxh3#; II. 1…d1=S! 2.Ba5 Sf2 3.Sc2 Sd3+ 4.Sd4 Sc5 5.Sde6+ Sxe6#. Black masked battery creation after promotion with the following transformation, using double-unpin of the white S (Dentist theme)!

N 19. I. 1.Re7! Bc8+ 2.Ra7 Rb7+ 3.Ka6 f5 4.Bg7+ Rxg7#; II. 1.Be5! Rbb8+ 2.Bc7 Bb7+ 3.Kb6 d4 4.Rh1+ Bxh1#. Reciprocal play of 2 black batteries leads to the Indian theme + Zabunov, Grimshaw, pin of white pieces and line-opening for white!

N 20. 1.Bxd6! Ra3 2.Be7 Ra6 3.Rc4+ Bxc4#; II. 1.Rxf5! Bf1 2.Rf7 Bh3 3.Be3+ Rxe3#. Pins of white S are realized after Annihilation of pawns d6/f5, than white blocks follows with an excellent interchange of functions of white and black pieces!

N 21. I. 1…Rd6! 2.Re1 Sxf4 3.Qh3+ Sxh3#; II. 1…Qc7! 2.Sfe2 Sxe5 3.Sxf3+ Sxf3#. Direct unpin of the white pieces and masked unpin of the black S, which later creates batteries on 2 lines.

N 22. 1.Kc3! Kxe5 2.Sg3 Rb4 3.Bc4 Rb2 4.Qd6+ Kxd6#; II. 1.Kc4! Kxe4 2.Sd7 Bc3 3.Bb3 Bb4 4.Qf3+ Kxf3#. Great play by both Kings. Impressive is also play of both S – one is captured, the other one after unpinning opens a line for the black piece, which shows bypass maneuver, White blocks squares around the King! Model mates! 

N 23. I. 1.Qxb7+! Kd4 2.Qxd7+ Kc3 3.Qg7+ Sf6#; II. 1.Qxd3+! Kc6 2.Qxe4+ Kb6 3.Qg6+ Sf6#. The effective realization of the Zilahi theme – in one phase the whole black battery is destructed, but the other one gives mate, in the other phase – vice versa. Good blocks of white Q, leading to model mates.

N 24. I.1.Re7! Rh8 2.Bg8 Bd5 3.Ke8 Bxg8 4.Qc6+ Be6#; II. 1.Bb5! Bh1 2.Rg2 Rg8 3.Kc6 Rxg2 4.Qf8+ Rg7#A very interesting modification of Indian theme which follows after sacrifice of white piece on the square of intersection! Also, good white blocks and model mates are shown.

N 25. I. 1.Sd5! Bb8 2.Sc7 Bxe4 3.Kf4+ Bf3 4.Ke5 Bxc7#; II. 1.Sd6! Ba8 2.Sb7 Bxf4+ 3.Ke4+ Bg3 4.Kd5 Bxb7#. Reciprocal play of the black Bishops – critical moves, pins, Annihilation motives. It is interesting that in the final White performs quiet – zugzwang moves.

N 26. I. 1…Rh3! 2.Sxe6 Rhxg3 3.Sf8 Rg8 4.Qf4+ Kxf4#; II. 1…Bb3 2.Bxe6 Bxc4 3.Bd7 Bb5 4.Qd5+ Kxd5#. Original double-Annihilation (of the white and black pawns), switchback of the white and black pieces, model mates.

N 27. a) 1.Bh7! Qf5 2.Qxf4+ Qxf4# (1.Qxf4+? Bxf4+!); b) 1.Rh3! Bh2 2.Bxf4+ Bxf4# (1.Bxf4+? Qxf4+!). An interesting realization of Umnov theme on the background of 2 half-pins!

N 28. The 1st phase: 1…Rc5! 2.Rd1+ Bd3+ 3.Qe4+ Kd6#; the 2nd (black) phase: 1…Rxg5! 2.Bc8+ Qd7+ 3.Sd6+ Kf6#. Royal battery creation, double pins of the white and black pieces, Meredith form!

But here are 2 problems, where the final is stalemate. There have been too few such works composed until now…

N 29. I. 1.Sa5! Rxa5 2.Qxa6 Rxa3. The end of the 1st, cooperative phase. The 2nd one follows, where white forces self-stalemate in 1 move: 3.Qa8+ Rxa8=. Analogically: ІІ. 1.Sc4! Bxc4 2.Qxd5 Bxb3 3.Qg8+ Bxg8=. The thematic complex: Zilahi theme, black-white Bristol, Annihilation, model stalemates.

N 30. I. 1.Sh5! Rc3+(1…Rb3+?) 2.Sg3 Rc4 3.Qe3+ Kxe3=; II. 1.Rg7 Rb3+(1…Rc3+?) 2.Rg3 Rb4 3.Qc5+ Kxc5=. Model stalemates with 3 white pinned pieces, play of black R/B battery, black masked battery creation on the 4th rank.

Analyzing the problems No.7 – No.30, you can easily find that almost all of them also meet the following specific aesthetic criteria of this genre:

а) Thematic richness of content is closely connected with the filling of every half-move of the solution with some thematic motive! Thus, a good HS# problem strictly follows the principle of time economy – redundant, non-thematic, “idle” moves are not used! This also means that a solution should not be extended (with the aim – to increase the difficulty) by technical half-moves, which are not consonant with the central theme. Btw, this requirement essentially distinguishes a good HS# problem from the series ones (Ser.H#, Ser.S# etc), where the theme is almost analogical, but with a long play containing an abundance of technical moves.

b) In all phases of the solution every white and black piece should participate – playing either a thematic or a technical function. If in some phase one or more pieces do not play (are redundant), then this is a significant minus of the problem! The economy of material in this genre is so important, that usually a composer must strive to express his idea with less than 15-16 pieces, using 17 or more pieces in some exceptional cases. In the other words,  striving to present a problem in Meredith or even miniature form is a sign of great skill of the author!

c) Rough, non-thematic captures of pieces and pawns are weaknesses; a check on the 1st move is allowed only if it is thematic. Model mates are not a mandatory requirement and can’t give any significant advantage to the problem if the strategy is primitive. Violation of aesthetics with the aim of building some tasks or alphabetical problems is not recommended, although such problems can be met in today’s tourneys.


It is well-known that a number of HS# problems also contain fairy conditions. As a modus of HS# means the aim of the play (Stipulation), here we can also use some additional fairy conditions e.g. Circe, Madrasi, Eiffel, Einstein, Super Circe, Andernach, Anti-Andernach, Maximummer and so on, and also their combinations e.g. Circe+Madrasi etc.

This way we get the usual fairy problems combination of Stipulation + Condition(s). Of course, there are also no limits for the use of different kinds of fairy pieces. Having no possibility to show here all the great practical opportunities, I will present just 10 examples, but these are works by the famous masters.

The reader, probably, might be easily convinced that all these problems meet the basic principle of using fairy pieces or conditions – it always should be done in accordance with the theme of the contents and something more: try to show (or emphasize) as much as possible the weight, specificity and beauty of the fairy element!

N 31. 1.nBa1! Sb2 2.Kxd4 Sxc4+ 3.Kd3 nBh8!! 4.Sf6 Ke5 5.Kc3 nSge3 6.Se4+ Kxe4#. Very interesting role of the neutral B, which realizes Indian theme 2 times – with the help of the white and black S!

N 32. I. 1.f8=Q! Rc8 2.Rxc8(Rh1) Rd2 3.Qb4 Rd1#; II. 1.f8=B! Ra6 2.Rxa6(Rh1) Rc3 3.Bb4 Rc1#. Very original realization of Zilahi theme. Exceptionally beautiful self-unpins of the black R.

N 33. a) 1.f8=R! Kf5 2.Bh6 Rh5 3.Kf4+ Bd2#; b) 1.f8=B! Kd6 2.Rc8 Bb4 3.Kc7+ Rc2#. Excellent miniature, where mates are given with very interesting use of fairy conditions.

N 34. I. 1.Qe4! Qa8 2.Sd7(wPb6,wPe5)+ Qc6(bSd7,bPb6,bQe4)#; II. 1.Qd7! Qd1! 2.Se4+ Qd4(bSe4,wPe5,bQd7)#. Interesting play of both Q, which demonstrates the essence of fairy condition.

N 35. a) 1.d8=R! e1=B! 2.Rxd4 c1=Q! 3.Rh4+ Bxg3# (not 2…c1=R? 3.Rh4+ Bxg3+ 4.Bb2!!); b) 1.d8=B! e1=S! 2.Bxe7 c1=R 3.Bg5+ Sf3# (not 2…c1=Q? 3.Bg5+ Sf3+ 4.Rc7!!). Black Allumwandlung in combination with battery-creation, white promotions, Annihilation of pawns d4/e7  and anti-dual with thematic paralysis!

N 36. I. 1.NAa6 PAf6 2.PAh4 PAxa6+ 3.VAf4+ Ke5#; II. 1.VAa7! PAg7 2.VAg3 PAxa7+ 3.PAf4+ Kd4#. Thematic sacrifices of the white NAO, VAO with attraction-motives, unpin of white pieces, realization of “Chinese-Indian” theme, anti-batteries, line-closings, model mates.

N 37. a) 1…Bc4! 2.d8=B! Rg4 3.c8=Q! Fxe2 4.Bb6+ Rc4#, b) 1…Bd5! 2.d8=S! Rc6 3.c8=R! Rc5 4.Se6+ Bxe6#. Allumwandlung with white battery-creation, “Miloslava”-theme with black battery transformation, line closings with Eiffel-effects.

N 38. I.1.Kxd8 (Ke2)! Kxc6 (Kc3) 2.PAxe5 (PAc8) Nbxd6 (Na4) 3.VAxc4 (VAe5)+ Kb3#; II. 1.Kxb7 (Ke2)! Kxd6 (Kf4) 2.VAxc4 (VAb8) Nxc6 (Nh8) 3.PAxe5 (PAc4)+ Kg5#. Amazing dynamics in creation and play of the thematic batteries in ODT.

N 39. I. 1.PAf7! LIg8 2.PAh7 Kb1 3.Qb3+ Ka1 4.LEg7+ LIh8#; II. 1.Kh5! LIe4 2.PAf6 LIg7 3.PAh6 Kb1 4.LEg6+ LIh7#. Very non-standard Chameleon-echo with model mates in miniature form.

N40. I. 1…Rg7! 2.Rb4 2.Sc6+ 3.Kxc6-d4 Kxb1-a3 4.Rb7+ Rxb7-b4#; II. 1…Bf6! 2.Bb4 Sc8+ 3.Kxc8-d6 Kxc2-a4 4.Bc3+ Bxc3-b4#. A task with play of 6 different batteries, showing typical dynamic effects of the fairy genre.


In my opinion, every modern composer should “adopt” the wonderful genre of HS#. This is especially recommended for young composers who are interested in the fairy genre. By the way, some very interesting modifications of this genre have appeared, but we will speak about them some other time.

Accordingly to my private statistics, there are currently about 4000 composed HS# problems, and this number is growing rapidly day by day. Today HS# is the most popular fairy genre!

The good thing is that HS# problems can be tested using practically any of the modern computer programs. I will be pleased to answer questions from any reader who is interested in this topic.

Help-Self Problems with Black Series

Help-Self Problems with Black Series

By IGM Petko A. Petkov

In Memory of T.R. Dawson on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his death

(Published in StrateGems #54 – 2011)

I. Introduction

This article is devoted to an interesting type of series-movers in which Black executes the series, but at the end White forces selfmate in one move! This type is rather different from traditional ser-s#n in which White executes the series from n-1 moves and at the nth move White forces selfmate in one.

Using Popeye, selfmate problems with Black series can be checked with stipulation ser-hs#n. Therefore, this denotation gives an impression that ser-hs#n is a modification from a well-known genre at present, hs#n. I tend to accept that the name “Series help-self mate in n moves” (ser-hs#n#) is better that the long name “Black plays a series of n-1 helpful moves so as to reach a position where there is a normal selfmate in 1”.

It is interesting that nobody can cite even ten old compositions with the stipulation ser-hs#n! My rather huge personal data base has but a few such opuses. Thus, I found it hard to illustrate this article. I asked for help from other fairy experts and they responded. I received problems from Bo Lindgren (thanks to Hans Gruber), Peter Harris and Cornel Pacurar. I also included several of my originals.

The stipulation ser-hs#n is an interesting and fresh genre which offers many new possibilities. (At present, the traditional series-genres, without fairy elements, are mostly exhausted.)

I should also mention the recently introduced Pser, which has a direct relationship with ser-hs#n. At the end of the article, I offer several new forms with rich practical possibilities and very surprising thematic nuances.

This article is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Rayner Dawson (1889-1951). In my opinion, we need a new, creative approach to Dawson’s heritage in Fairy Chess, especially series-movers. Many new forms and ideas are possible. In this article I will accent a limited number of novelties which figure in my work plans.

II. The Power of Black Series

Series-movers, in the classical form, ser-hs#n, were still in vogue in the first years following the World War II. (Black makes a series of “n” help moves and White makes the last, mating move.)

The series-mover is very old. Some such problems, known from Arabian manuscripts (XIII century), are cited by H.J.R. Murray in his A History of Chess (1962). I also know some older Arabian examples, but this special theme should be accented in a different article. As you see, we cannot ascribe 100% authorship to Dawson for series-movers. Nevertheless, his contribution is enormous because he formulated contemporary rules for them. His publication The Fairy Chess Review (1947) was a Fairy Bible. The ser-hs#n problems acted as a magnet for all fairy composers.

Some historical information is needed, especially for younger composers. It is important to know what the special features of series-movers are and also to know the classical tendencies.

We start with N1, a typical of Dawson’s miniature with excellent educational value. 1-7.Ke1 8.f1R 9.Rf2 10-16.Ka1 17.Ra2 Sb3#.

The stipulation ser.h=n, in which the mate is replaced with stalemate, appeared later (probably after 1950). The content of the earlier problems was rather simple. N2 1.Qh2 2.Kxg2 3-9.Kc1 10.Qc2 11.Qb1 12.Qa1 13.Kb1 Kd2=.

Before 1960, many compositions with the stipulation ser.h==n, were also published, some of them with fairy elements! N3 1.c6 2.Kc7 3.Kb8 4.Ga8 5.Gc8 6.Gc5 7.Gc7 8.c5 9.c4 10.c3 11.c2+ MAc6==.

III. Series Selfmates – a Natural Modification

As a natural modification of ser-hs#n, the stipulation ser-s#n arises early. In just two years, 1949 and 1950, according to my fairy data-base, twenty-five such problems were published, many of them cooked.

The first ser-s#ns were light compositions in the spirit of N4. 1.Rh6 2.Sc3 3.Qxd6 4.Bd2 5.0-0-0 6.Bb1 7.Qxa3+ Bxa3#. Development continued with the creation of masterpieces with a task character. The themes are mainly different promotions, especially AUW, double AUW, Super AUW, etc., often composed with neutral pieces.

N5 1.e8S 2.Sxf6 3.Sd5 6.f8Q 7.Qxf3 8.Qg2 13.f8B 14.Bxh6 15.Be3 18.h8R 19.Rxh4 20.Re4 25.h8Q 26.Qxb8 27.Qe5 28.b8B 29.Bxa7 30.Bc5 32.a8R 33.Rxa4 34.Rb4 39.a8S 40.Sab6 41.Sc4 42.Qxe2+ Sxe2#. A double white AUW!

N6 shows a neutral Super AUW with maximum economy of material 1.b8nB! 2.cxb8nG (nBf8) 3.nBxa3 (nPa7) 4.a8nQ 5.nQxg2 (nPg7) 6.g8nR 7.nRg6 8.h8nS+ nSxg6 (nRh1)#. A logical problem with good strategic motives is N7. The main plan is 1.Kg3 2.Kxh2 (Sb8) 3.b7+!? and now not 3…Kxb7 (Pb2)# but 3…Bxb7 (Pb2)+ 4.Kh3. After a long Pendel maneuver, Rg2 moves to a2. 1.Qf2 2.Rgg1 3.Qd4 4.Bc3 5.Ba5 6.Ra1 7.Ra2 8.Bc3 9.Ba1 10.Qg1 and now: 11.Kg3! 12.Kxh2 (Sb8) 13.b7+ Kxb7 (Pb2)#.

IV. A Pleasant Surprise

When was the first help-compel mate, with black series (ser-hs#n), published? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. I only know that few have been published.

I would like to show you N8, a problem published not long ago. 1.Sed3! 2.d1Q 3.Qf3 4.Sf2! 5.g1Q 6.Qxh2 7.Sg4! 8.Qh4 9.Qe7 10.Se5! 11.Qff6. This ends the eleven-move series phase and is followed by a selfmate in one: 12.Bc4+ Sbxc4/Sexc4#. The content is rich with bS Rundlauf, two bQ promotions, two self-blocks and a creation of a black battery. This is a lot for just eleven moves.

Analyzing this composition we can define the main aesthetic criteria for a contemporary ser-hs#n# as:

A – Since the main content of the problem is in Black’s moves, the prime goal is to create (a surprising) mating mechanism culminating with the last phase (s#1). To achieve this, a sufficient number of black moves is needed, often ten or more.

B – The black series must have a thematic content or a combination of themes and ideas. The composer should also strive for a difficult solution.

In the following problems these criteria are executed to some degree.

In N9, the black series shows two Excelsior’s, reciprocal unpins between black Pawns and a pseudo-switchbacks of black promoted pieces to b7 and c7. 1.c6! 2-6.b1R 7.Rb7! 8-12.c1Q+!. The black series ends and selfmate-in-one follows: 12…Sc7+ 13. Qxc7#.

It is interesting to note that Popeye solves this problem (and others of this kind) as a ser.hs#12, i.e., it disregards the last mating move although it is shown in the solution. In my opinion, the right stipulation here can only be ser-hs#13.

N10 demonstrates an interesting theme which seems novel. Here, Black creates one battery which cannot deliver mate. This battery is abandoned and a new battery is created, which mates. 1.b1S! 2.a1R! (battery is created) 3.Ra4 (battery is abandoned) 4.Rf4 5-7. Kh3 8.Rg4 9.Rg2 10-11.Kg1 12-13.Rh1 (a new battery is created) leading to the finale: 14.Rg2+! Kxg2#.

In N11, in the first phase, Black creates a B/Q battery: 1.Ke5 2-6.f1B 7.h1Q which is subsequently destroyed. A new, similar battery, is constructed on the opposite side of the board: 8.Qa8 9.Bc4 10.Ba2 11.Bb1 12.Qa1! and then 12…Qf5+ 13.Bxf5# with line clearance.

Using fairy elements (pieces, conditions, etc.) a composer can demonstrate a wealth of new, and sometimes unusual, ideas. Often, such problems are also hard to solve.

N12 1.Qxb3 (Ke4?) 2.Bb1=wB 3.Rc2=wR 4.Ke4 5.Rf7=wR Rxc6+ 6.Qxb1#, 1.Qxd2 (Kc5?) 2.Rc1=wR 3.Bc2=wB 4.Kc5 5.Rb7=wR Bxg6+ 6.Qxc1#. Line opening, Indian, Grimshaw on “c2”, unpins by the black Rook which opens line for Rd8.

The following is a quartet of hypermodern compositions by Peter Harris.

N13 1.b3 2.Ra4 3.Ra8 4.Rxa2 (+wPa8=wS) 5.Bxa8 (+wSh1) 6.Bg2 Sg3+ 7.Bxg3 (+wSf2), 1.Rg4 2.Bd5 3.Bg8 4.Bxa2 (+wPg8=wB) 5.Rxg8 (+wBg4) 6.Rh8+ Bh3+ 7.Rxh3 (+wBh8) #. Two nice promotions in S and B with specific PWC mates.

N14 1.nPe6 2.nPxd5 (+wLOe6) 3.LOxd5-e5 (+nPb5) 4.LOxe6-e7 (+wLOe5) 5.LOxe5-e4 (+wLOe7) 6.LOxe7-e8 (+wLOe4) 7.LOxb5-a4 (+nPe8=nLO) 8.LOxe4-f4 (+wLOa4) LOxf4-g4 (+bLOa3) zz 9.LOxg4-h4 (+wLOa4)#.

N15 a) 1.a1N 2.Nb3 3.Nd4 (+wPb3) 4.Nxb3 (bNb1) (+wPd4), Pd4 will prevent wK from moving, 5.Na3+ Nf6 (+bPb4). This defends against the check because the bP prevents bN from moving, 6.b3#. Pb4 no longer prevents bN from guarding e1-square. b) 1.a1VAO 2.VAOd4 3.VAOxb6 (bVAOb1) (+wPd4), without wPb6, the bK can now move to c7, while Pd4 prevents the wK from moving, 4.Kc7 (+wPb7 5.Kd7 (+wPc7) b8S!. This is not a check since b1-square is occupied by bVAO, a pinned piece under the circumstances, 6.Ke6 (+wPd7)#.

N16 1.nKd2 2.nKe3 (+bPd2) 3.nKd4 (+bPe3) 4.nKc5 (+bPd4) 5.nKd6 (+bPc5) 6.nKc7 (+bPd6) 7.nKb8 (+bPc7) 8.nKa7 9.nKb8 (+bPa7) 10.a5 11.nKa7 12.nKb8 (+bPa7) 13.e2 14.d1Q 15.Qa4=S 16.Sb6=B (+bPa4) 17.a6 18.Ba7=R 19.e1R nKc8 20.Re8=Q#.

V. Application of Pser

It is only logical to combine ser-hs#n (=, ==, etc.) with the Pser. Such problems we can designate as Pser-hs#n (used also by Popeye). I have paid attention to this opportunity in my article The Wonderful (new genre) Parry Series (SG51/2010), illustrating it with N17. 1.b1Q 2.Qd3+ Kg1 3.Qg6+ Kh1 4.Qc6+ Rxc6+ 5.Kb1 Rc2 6.Kxc2#. This setting can be checked with Popeye as Pser-hs#5.

N18 a) 1.Qc2+ Kh3 2.Qf5+ Rg4 3.Qd3+ Bf3 4.Qf1+ Kh2 5.Qf2+ Kh1 6.Kf1 Rg1+ 7.Qxg1#, b) 1.Qb6 + Rfd4 2.Qg6+ Kh1 3.Kf2 4.Kg3 5.Kh3 6.Qg3 Bg2+ 7.Qxg2#. A difficult fiver!

N19 a) 1.Kd8 2.Rd7+ Kc6 3.Rd6+ Kb7 4.Rd7+ Ka8 5.Re7 Qc8+ 6.Kxc8=, b) 1.Ke8 2.Re7+ Kf6 3.Re6+ Kg7 4.Re7+ Kh8 5.Rd7 Qf8+ 6.Kxf =. Perfect Chameleon-echo with four men.

N20 1.Rc2 2.Kb2+ Kd7 3.Ka1 4.Rc7+ Ke6 5.Rc6+ Kf5 6.Rc5+ Kg4 7.h5+ Kg3 8.h4+ Kg2 9.h3+ Kh1 10.Rc1+ Rd1 11.Rb1 Rc1 12.Rxc1#. The long and dynamic play, with surprising maneuvers by both sides, ends with a model mate.

N21 is a task which shows three white R-promotions plus three annihilations of white Pawns with a goal of line openings for promoted Rooks. 1.Qxc5 2.Qxe3 3.Qh3+ Ke8 4.Qh8+ g8R 5.Qh5+ Rg6 6.Qb5+ Kd8 7.Qb8+ c8R 8.Qf4 9.Qf8+ e8R 10.Kxd3 Rd6+ 11.Qxd6 #. Great activity by the bQ (10 moves!), plus a model-mate.

VI. Other New Variations

I was planning to provide many new ideas, but due to personal matters, I had a limited time to work on them. Many problems which I started remain unfinished. I hope to provide additional insight at some later date.

A) Reflexmates + Black series. Using the black series, one can compose many variations of reflexmates such as: ser-hr#n or ser-hr=n, ser-hr==n, ser-hr+n, Pser-hr#n, or Pser-hr=n, etc. In a ser-hr#n, Black plays a series of n-1 moves, then White forces r#1. The same rules apply as for a regular reflexmate, i.e., White is obliged to mate at any time during the black series, if possible. Aesthetically, such reflex-tries are obligatory. Semi-reflexmates are also possible. Unfortunately, Popeye is not yet programed to handle them, so it is difficult to compose them. An elementary example is N22. The try 1.bhPf5=nhP? 2.nhPf4=bhP 3.bhPf3=nhP 4.nhPf2=bhP 5.f1=nhQ with the goal of 5…Kh8 and 6.hnQf8=bhQ#, but here White must mate with 5…hnQf8=whQ#! Therefore Black must find another way to realize his Excelsior: 1.bhPf6=nhP! 2.nhPf5=bhP 3.bhPf4=nhP 4.nhPf3=bhP 5.bhPf2=nhP 6.f1=bhQ! 7.bhQb1=nhQ! and now 7…Kh8 8.nhQh7=bhQ#! And not 7.bhQd3=nhQ? 8.nhQd8=whQ#! Work with half-neutral pieces shows great promise.

B) White + Black series. This is an interesting and promising new form. At first White makes a series of “x” half-moves, which we can call an introduction. After that Black makes its series of “y” moves as in a normal ser-hs#n (ser-hs=n, ser-hs==n, etc.). The stipulation in N23 is 2→ser-hs#7. White makes two moves, 1.c8R 2.Rf8!, followed by Black, who makes six moves, 1- 5.f1S 6.d1R followed by the finale 6…Rf3+ 7.Sg3#.

In N24, the introduction shows creation of a White Indian: 1.Bc3 2.Rd4!, followed by Black series: 1.Kf6 2.Bc1 3.Bb2 and follows s#1: 3…Re4+ 4.Bxc3 #. Similarly: 1.Rb4 2.Bd4 & 1.Kf4 2.Bd8 3.Ba5 Bg1+ 4.Bxb4#. Both sides provide rich thematic play with model-mates in economic construction.

N25 1.Qd3 2.Qb1 & 1.axb1S 2.Sd2 3.Sf1 Se3+ 4.Sxe3#, 1.Sc3 2.Sb1 & 1.axb1B 2.Bc2 3.Bd1 Qf3+ 4.Bxf3 #. Reciprocal sacrifices by the wQ and the wS on b1 in the introduction, followed by promotions, Dentist-theme, creation and transformation of masked black batteries and Umnov.

C) White introduction + Pser. An interesting modification of Pser. Here the Pser-hs#n play follows White introduction.

(When checking with Popeye use: x→pser-hs#y , where “x” is the number of introductory moves and “y” is the number of black series moves. (Popeye exhibits the same flaw as mentioned before.)

The introduction should have thematic content and also be difficult to solve, otherwise, it is not desirable.

In N26, the introduction contains only two moves, which are hard to find: 1.Rf8 2.Rd8! White destroys its S/R battery, and then moves its Rook into an ambush. After the Pser play: 1- 3.d3+ Kd1 4.c2+ Ke1 5.d2+ Kf1 6.d1S 7.c1R! we have a selfmate in one: 7…Rd3+ 8.Se3#. The try 1.Rxd7? 2.Kd1, after the march of the c-Pawn (which is needed because of the cook), is 1-3.b3+ Kd1 4.c2+ Ke1, and the white King has no more parry-moves for moving to “e1”. Another analogy is that White destroys S/R battery while Black builds the S/R battery.

VII. The Future Work

I think there are some terminological problems when using the name series help-selfmate in “n” (as used by Popeye). I’m not sure it will be accepted as an official name. Other names are possible, of course, but a historical inevitability is the standardization of all fairy terms, names, and symbols which are used in programs and under diagrams. This work should be one of the most important duties of the WFCC. I am also hoping for a speedy incorporation of self-problems with black series into Popeye.

In regard to aesthetic criteria of help-compel mates, most of it was defined in my previous article in StrateGems (SG32), although additional work in this area is also possible.

Another area of interest is the Pser series (including the introduction element). Creative work is always an important element but fast computers will be needed for checking these problems.

My recommendation to composers is to start with schemes that incorporate fewer than 8 or 9 moves. More complex scheme will be difficult to verify. One can also work with black series (maximum 6-7 moves). The key here is to have a good thematic content.

Block of Neutral Battery Piece – II


(Part II)


See  Part I in the Theoretical Articles Category


Why we should pay a special attention to the Locust fairy piece, developing our main theme? Indeed, some examples were already shown in the first part of this article!

My answer is: although the Locust is not a new piece (its modifications, like Rook-Locust, Bishop-Locust etc. are well know in practice), I think that there’re arguments for even more complete examination of this piece in relation to this topic. More specifically:

a) We are talking about neutral Locusts, but the are not much used in practice, when the problems don’t contain any additional fairy conditions.

b) Many effects of these pieces are little known, and some of them, which will be discussed later, perhaps are very little used, or even never met until now.

c) In some modern genres – for example, HS# or HS= fairy problems, neutral Locusts are still poorly used and there is a huge practical reserve.

d) In theoretical approach it is interesting to examine a number of issues here, that are not clarified in the theory of fairy problems, meaning in reality, that the term “theory” is very relative in this arena. It is well known, that up to now such a theory – in a form of a serious, complete scientific and practical work – doesn’t actually exist.

e) The central theme of this article – block of neutral battery piece – has a particular importance, since exactly this motif, as it was already mentioned, interferes with the side which gets mate, to protect itself by escaping a neutral piece, which we have named “X”.

f) Since this article has a strong practical emphasis and is also planned for the wide range of readers, especially – beginners, many motifs here are explained with only a simple diagrams, which demonstrate the important basic effects the readers can apply in their work.

So, let’s continue with the series of examples, where Locust is a forward piece or rear piece in a different batteries or anti-batteries.

As a forward piece, neutral Locust can demonstrate an interesting effects – it opens the battery, but at the same time the side which is in defense captures the rear piece with the same neutral Locust and the goal can’t be reached immediately. Thus, blocking of piece “X” which is implemented by the own piece or by the piece of the other side, prevents the piece “X” from the capturing of the rear battery piece, destructing the battery. One such an example you’re already seen in the part I – problem No.6 – a fairy twomover, where “X” acted as a forward piece in the direct battery, but in No.7 – as a forward piece in the anti-battery, although there was just one solution.

Let’s continue a little bit with the examples of this type.

No.9. Petko A.Petkov

Educational example

In No.9 we can see that the battery is going to play. The battery is created by the following pieces: nLOb5 – forward piece, LIe2 – rear piece, Pd3 – a pawn, which has only technical functions from the first view, although without it it would be impossible to create our battery. At the beginning let’s try this idea for the solution: 1.Rc3 ~ 2.Rb3 nLOxb3-b2+? – but here we see already known defense by the black: 3.nLOxe2-f2+! – capturing the battery-piece LIe2.

It’s not difficult to guess, that white (for now we haven’t defined their first move) can block the square f2 — and everything will be fine. Thus we have: I. 1.Rc3! Kf2! 2.Rb3 nLOxb3-b2#! But the problem has 3 solutions — let’s see what’s going on.

Analogical ideas by the black Rook we can implement also with the moves: 1.Rc4 1.Rc2. But suddenly, the very important role here has exactly our pawn on d3!

First, let’s try: 1.Rc4 ~ 2. Rb4 nLOxb4-b3+? but 3. nLOxd3!! – white battery doesn’t exist anymore as the pawn d3, which is needed in this construction, is removed, and there’s no mate! Therefore we should here also block the square e3 with a white by analogy with the first solution, to make impossible a capture on d3: II. 1.Rc4 Ke3! 2. Rb4 nLOxb4-b3#! Analogically: III. 1.Rc2 Ke4! 2. Rb2 nLOxb2-b1#! – again the white King has blocked the square for the neutral Locust!

Now it’s a time to speak again about the white pawn, which participates in the creation of white battery, but is not named yet. Of course, any names are possible and it is not that important from the practical view. Let’s name it tool battery-piece or shortly TBP.

The conclusion we have here is:

а) Pieces and pawn of TBP type – can be often found in a batteries, where a fairy pieces of Нoppers type participate in a battery creation. In case of direct battery creation with a Hopper rear piece, almost always the TBP pieces are applied and in most cases they are pawns – of one or another color.

b) Usually, such kind of pieces in most of problems neither do any move, nor are captured. In the other words, they’re pretty static.

c) In which casesTBP-piece is considered as a bad piece in a problem? In case if TBP is a pawn, such a question is almost never worth. Another case, if white or black piece acts as a TBP. Then the actual question is – if this a piece, although needed in the battery construction, does it stay well on the board?

My answer is the following: if TBP is a piece, not a pawn, then it stays a little bit bad on the board in case if it acts only as a technical element of the battery. Therefore, we should try to add some additional, thematic or incidental function to our TBP! This is very important from the aestetic point of view!

For example, in our studied problem No.8 – the white Sd8 acts as TBP. But it is not a bad piece, as it has also the additional function – it guards the important square b7!

A better usage of TBP is shown in problem No.9, where pd3 acts as a TBP, and the play in 2 solutions is based exactly on the impossibility of capturing this piece!

Of course, in No.9 it is possible to remove one of the solutions and, replacing black Rook with a Bishop for example, to compose a version with just two solutions, where the blocks are done only by the white King next to the TBP-pawn. Thus, we got the scheme No.10: 1.Be5 Ke4 2.Bb2 nLOxb2-b1#; 1.Bd6 Ke3 2.Bb4 nLOxb4-b3#. By the way, here (like in No.9 as well) a Bishop-Lion also can act as a white rear piece.

No.10. Scheme

Now let’s look at some special cases, where two neutral Locusts are on the thematic battery line.

According to the battery rear piece, two neutral Locusts can create the following batteries, which deserve a special attention:

А) Direct battery with two forward pieces

B) Special battery with two forward pieces

C) Half-battery with two forward pieces

D) Special anti-batteries

Let’s look at the typical schemes:   

A) Direct battery with two forward pieces

In a scheme No.11 a thematic battery consists of 3 pieces: forward pieces –nLOf3 nLOd5, rear piece – Lion a8. Of course, it is possible here to use some other piece of Hoppers type on the square a8: LEO,VAO, Bishop Lion etc.

It is important to emphasize: it is not a half-battery, but exactly just a battery, but with two forward pieces X! Why it’s not a half-battery? Very simple – because in case of half-batteries the both forward pieces play. But here such a moment doesn’t exist – every time only one of the forward pieces plays, but at the same time the other one acts like TBP; in the second solution the pieces interchange their functions.

No.11. Scheme

So, let’s try to give a mate in 1 move in No.11: 1… nLOxe2-d1+?n – using the piece nLOf3 as a forward piece. This try doesn’t work, because a black answers with the move of another piece along the battery-line – 2.nLOxf5 – g5! and the battery is distructed. The analogical try is: 1…nLOxd2-d1+? but 1…nLOxf5-f6! and the battery is distructed again.

To realize H#1 is only possible blocking the squares g5/f6. Thus, a static Locust in a role of TBP-piece doesn’t have anymore an opportunity to capture the white pawn and to destruct the battery: 1.Bg5 nLOxe2-d1#; 1.Bf6 nLOnxd2-d1#.

It’s even more interesting, when during a play the both neutral Locusts are blocked, as it is shown in a problem No.12.

It’s not difficult to see, what kind of plan should be implemented here: the black Queen is sacrificed with the aim to give an opportunity for the neutral Locusts to move on vertical g. This way they give double checks with a mate.

But in the initial position it’s impossible to realize this idea. Let’s try: 1.Qf3? nLOxf3++? – now black has 2 defenses from the mate: 2.nLOcxg2-h2! and 2.nLOgxc2-b2! Analogically, the following try doesn’t lead to the goal: 1.Qf2? nLOxf2-g2++? – again black has 2 defenses from the mate: 2.nLOеxg2-h1! and 2.nLOgxe4-d5!

No.12. Petko A.Petkov


A plan for the solution consists of the following: to give a mate in the both solutions every time we should block two squares. These blocks by the black and white pieces are done this way: I.1.Qf3! RLh2! 2.Rb2! nLOxf3-g2#! – here h2 is blocked by white, and b2 is blocked by black; II.1.Qf2! RLh1! 2.Rd5! nLOxf2-g2#! – here h1 is blocked by white, and d5 is blocked by black.

A block of two thematic Locusts is a very nice interpretation of the theme, but it is always good if a problem has also some more interesting motives. Here they are: a) sacrifice of a black piece (it’s almost a standard motive in such a schemes); b) destuction of a black battery R/Q – the very important and interesting idea, which define the order of the black moves!

Of course, it’s possible to use some other similar batteries with the analogical location of Locusts, as the scheme No.13 shows. Here in the upper part of the position a NAO piece is used as a battery rear-piece – a very important piece in this role! In the lower part of the position a battery which can be used in help-self mates is shown.  

No.13. Scheme

Very often, using modifications of the standard (Queen-type) Locust – like Rook-Locust, Bishop-Locust etc. – it is possible to compose an interesting problems of different fairy genres.

A typical example is No.14: Set-play: 1…nSe5+! 2.RLOxe5-f5 Kf2! 3.Rd5 BLOxf5-g6#; Real play: 1.nSe7 nSd5! 2.RLOxd5-e5 Kg2! 3.Rc5 BLOxe5-f6#. Thematic complex here includes also non-standard motives: sacrifice of a neutral S, sacrifice of a black Rook-Locust, Bristol-theme RLO-R, black blocks.      

No.14. Petko A.Petkov


B) Special battery with two forward pieces

Please look at the diagram No.15 – at the first glance, a very familiar, easy position. And yet, here’s something very interesting and different to the previous examples in the section A). A stipulation #1 is realised here in a very peculiar (original) way: 1. nLOxe5-f6#! 1.nLOxd4-c3#!

No.15. Scheme

THE FIRST QUESTION: What’s this? Is this a direct battery, half-battery or anti-battery play?

My answer is: Here we have a play of a battery of a special type – with 2 forward pieces. But the piece which gives mate here, captures another forward piece and it is implemented along the battery-line with the Annihilation method! As a forward piece here we can consider a piece, which does the mating move with the capturing. In the other words, after 1.nLOxd4-c3# a piece LOe5 acts as a forward piece, but after 1.nLOxe5-f6 – LOа4 acts as a forward piece.

THE SECOND QUESTION: What practical chances this mechanism gives for composing good problems?

The answer is: The chances are simply beautiful, but it’s needed here to complicate the central motive with the other motives, among which a blockage has a central place again!

For example, in a position No.16 – white can’t give mate in 1 move with 1. nLOxe5-f6?? and 1.nLOxd4-c3?? – because these moves are impossible (illegal self-checks). It is necessary here to block the squares g3 and f2: 1.Sg3 nLOnxd4-c3#!, 1.Sf2 nLOxe5-f6#!  

No.16. Scheme

An interesting moment! Here, after 1. Sg3 the 1….nLOxg3-h2+? doesn’t work because of 2. nLOxg4-h4! Analogically: 1.Sf2 and now won’t work 1….nLOxf2-g1+? 2. nLOxb5-a5!

In the light problem No17 we can see a complex of motives: block of squares c1/d1, realized by the black Queen, Annihilation captures of pawns c6/g7, Zilahi theme, model mates. I. 1.Qxg7 2.Qg1 3.Qc1! nLOxf5-g5#; II. 1.Qxc6 2.Qh1 3.Qd1! nLOxe5-d5#. Our well-known special battery here is modified now, using the white pawn on the thematic line and a Kangaroo piece as a rear piece.

No.17. Petko A.Petkov


In the next, the 3rd part of this article, we’ll look at some other interesting batteries with Locusts!

To be continued…

Block of Neutral Battery Piece – I


(Part I)



There’s one very simple, but interesting fairy idea, which might be called also the theme: block of neutral piece, which participates in a battery creation. Different variations of such batteries are possible – the neutral piece there, let’s call it “X”, can be either a forward piece, or also rear piece.

Of course, the idea can be realised in the anti-battery play as well. It should be specially mentioned, that all these possibilities are studied and used in a practise a very little yet.

But why our “Х” should be blocked during the process? The answer is simple: it should be blocked, to not allow to the side, which gets mate, to go away – to make a move with “X” to avoid the mate. Or, in the other words, the piece “X” which is blocked with the aim – to prevent its leaving of the battery-line. Also, some special situations exist, where the piece “X” has to be blocked to prevent it from the giving a check to the opposite King, when it leaves the battery-line (such moments might happen in a case, when the neutral Locust piece is used as a piece “X”).

This article is planned as a material of the numerous parts, and at the same time it is intended to the both – to the masters in composition, and also to the beginners. For these reason many of thematic effects here in the beginning are demonstrated with the simple positions – the schemes, where the only one option or solution is possible. Also, many works of the masters of Fairy genre will be presented later in the article, after the starting material will be well-learned. Of course, the theme Block of the Neutral Battery Piece can be used in all genres of composition, in other words – for all the stipulations, which determine the aim of a play: direct mates, helpmates, selfmates, and also  help-selfmates. It is possible also to realize this theme in a fairy problems with almost any of fairy conditions: Circe, Madrasi, Andernach, Take&Make etc. But in the 1st part of this material we’ll look only at the problems without additional fairy conditions which will be discussed at the very end of this cycle of articles.

Probably, the reader immediately will notice, that the theme we are reviewing, almost always are developed in conjunctions with other themes or ideas. And the richer is this synthesis, the better is the result! But at the beginning the examples will be very simple to be understandable for any reader who is familiar with the neutral pieces.


So, let’s start from the simple effects of the blocks used in direct and indirect batteries. Now the series of the elementary schemes will be shown, but it is important to learn the methods of the blocks here very well as in the future it will be very much needed!

No.1. Scheme


White can’t give mate right after 1. Rf8+?? because black has a strong defense: 1….nBh2! – neutral bishop simply leaves the battery-line, and white is unable to remove this protection. But how it is possible to realise H#2 here? Of course, a simple analysis shows, that it is possible to do so in a case if black will block the square h2 for the neutral bishop. It’s easy to see how it can be done: 1. Sf1! Kb5 (this is a tempo-move of white!) 2.Sh2 Rf8#.


It’s also not very simple thing to give a mate from the battery on the vertical “a” as the rear piece of this battery is a neutral rook. For example, if we try 1.Sd8+? K~ – then the battery is absolutely useless – for the move 2…Sc3+? the neutral rook simply goes away along the 6th horizontal, f.i. 3.nRb6! ОК. Then we have the only possibility – to block (if it is possible!) the neutral rook and to give a mate like in the example No.1.

This is how it can be done: 1. Sd4+!! Ra3!! – only this move works –the rook is prepared for the future block! 2.Sb3!! – the neutral rook is already blocked and 2…Sc3#  follows, as the rook can’t leave the battery line anymore to avoid the mate.

No.2. Scheme

Please pay your attention to this interesting idea – although, this is in the one solution only, but plays 2 “combined batteries”: the 1st one is black-neutral Sc6/nRa6 —along the 6th horizontal, and the 2nd one is white-neutral Sa2/nRa6 – along the vertical “a”.


It is surprising, that the blocked piece can be even the neutral Queen, if it is a rear piece of the battery.

The mate is achieved after the masked battery K/Q creation in a following way: 1.nQa1 Kd5 2.nQh1 Kc6 3.g1=B+ c7# – the thematic black move here is 3.g1=B+ but the method of limiting the mobility of the neutral Q, moving it to the corner of the board, is very important for practical purposes.

No.3. Scheme

Of course, it’s possible to bloack also many fairy pieces, which participate in a batteries or anti-batteries.


The plan of white here is to move a bishop to a2 square, and, building an anti-battery, give a mate. But the realisation of this idea is prevented by running away of the nGa5 to h5: 1. ~ Bc4 2. ~ Ba2+? , but 3. nGh5!!  That’s why the black blocks the squares in an interesting way: 1.d1=B Bc4 2.Bh5 Ba2#! – now nGh5 is not possible anymore.

No.4. Scheme


The aim of the white here is to build the anti-battery on the vertical  “a” using nGa5 (the rear piece) and the white bishop (the forward piece). But to achieve this goal it is needed to block totally all the 3 fields which nGa5 can use to run away: c3, c5, c7. This is how it can be possible: 1.Qc3 Be5 2.Rc5 Bb8 3.Rc7 Ba7#.

No.5. Scheme

In all previous examples we were looking at the block of the rear battery-piece. But in a battery or anti-battery we can block also a forward battery-piece. The next schemes will show the typical effects of such blocks. Btw, not all the fairy pieces can be used to realize this kind of block. What you have to do here – is to choose the right fairy piece which can play the thematic role!

No.6. Scheme


Here in the beginning we have a battery of the Rc5 (rear piece) and  nLOc7 (forward piece). But the tries to give mate in 1 one doesn’t work, f.i.: 1.nLOxb7-a7+?  but  1…nLOxc5-d4!1.nLOxd7-e7+?  but  1…nLOxc5-b4!  The effect of the neutral piece, which captures the another battery-piece as a defense, is shown very well here – and this is the useful effect which has to be learned!

The solution: 1.c3!  – zugzwang. Now please look at the following options: 1…d4 2n.LOxb7-a7#! — the mate is already possible as the black pawn had blocked the square d4 for the neutral locust and it can’t capture the rook! Analogically: 1…b4 2.nLOxd7-e7# —   because now the square b4 is blocked. The additional options are: 1…d6 2n.LOxd6-e5#, 1…b6 2.nLOxb6-a5#, 1…S~ 2.Bxd7#


A try to build an anti-battery here 1.nLOхb4-b5+? – doesn’t work at the beginning, as black can answer in 2 ways: 1…nLxe2-f1+! and 1.nLOxd5-e5! The solution is clear — it is needed to block the squares f1 and e5 for the neutral Locust. This is how it can be done: 1.Bf4! Kf1! 2.Be5! nLOxb4-b5#.

No.7. Scheme

Please note the different methods of blocking — in one case the square е5 is blocked by the black, in another —  the square f1 is blocked by the white. Consequently, in some cases – especially using the neutral Locust! — the possibility of thematic block has the both sides!

So far we have discussed the schemes only, and probably some of the readers might think, that it is complicated to compose an interesting problems here. But this is not really so, as the next example shows.


At the beginning let’s see how the play will look from the white’s move: 1…Lia3 2.Sc4! nLOxc4-c3#! The idea of the combination is clear: the white Lion blocks the neutral Locust, which after the mating move can’t give a check to the white King as the square а3 is blocked! Of course, with the sacrifice of black S, the black has created an opportunity for the neutral Locust to show it strength as an opening battery-piece of nLO/Li.

No.8. Petko Petkov


But here is black to move and because of zugzwang it is impossible to keep a set-play. So, the new play is needed! It is possible, realizing the analogical thematic: I. 1.Sd3 Lia2 2.Sc5+ nLOxc5-c4#; II. 1.Sd1 Lia4 2.Sc3 nLOxc3-c2#. Three-phase play between the Lion and the neutral Locust here has a form of duel, and an important additional motive: the black S is three times sacrificed on different squares!

In the next part we’ll look at more complicated examples with the battery-pieces like Chameleons, Chinese pieces etc.

To be continued…