Julia's Fairies

Helpmates of Petkov (Seetharaman K.)

Helpmates of Petkov

(For Petko A. Petkov’s birthday – by Seetharaman K.)


Looking at the title if you wonder “Petkov? Helpmates?”, then the following selection is for you.

While Petkov is justly famed for his Selfmates and Fairy chess problems his helpmates are equally inventive and intricate. To celebrate his birthday I am presenting five of his beautiful helpmates for readers to study and enjoy. These are selected (almost at random) out of about 120 from the book “Petkov – Selected Compositions”, edited and published by Mike Prcic. This is a book which should be in everyone’s library.

No.1 Shakhmatna Misal
1st Prize, 1978 (v)
petkov-h#-by-seetharaman-p1b) Sd3→a4; c) Remove b5;
d) Sd3→b1; e) Pb4→c3

(a) Diagram

1. Kc4 Qd4+ 2.cxd4 Rc7#

(b) Sd3→a4

1. Bb2 Qf2 2. exf2 Rf3#

(c) Remove b5

1. Qa4 Qc3+ 2. bxc3 Rb7#

(d) Sd3→b1

1. Ka2 Qb2 + 2. axb3 Ra7#

(e) Pb4→c3

1. Kc4 Qf3 2. exf3 Rf4#


Five Queen sacrifices & Five diff. battery mates after line openings by black. Nice task with so few white men !  

No.2 Schach, 1984
petkov-h#-by-seetharaman-p2Two solutions

I. 1. Be1 Qxd3! (1…Qxf3?) 2. Se2 Qd8#

II. 1. Sb1 Qxf3! (1….Qxd3?) 2. Bf2 Qa8#


Consecutive unpins of the white queen!

Pin model mates. White has to choose the correct self-pin on his first move !

No.3 Schach-Echo, 1972
1stPrizepetkov-h#-by-seetharaman-p3Four Solutions

I. 1. Qa6 Bb7 2. Qd3 Sc6 3. Ke4+ Sd4#

II. 1. Rh3 Bh7 2. Rf3 Sg6 3. Ke4 Se7#

III. 1. Rd2 Bg2 2. Rd3 Sf3 3. Ke4+ Sd4#

IV .1. Rf2 Bb1 2. Rf3 Sd3 3. Ke4 Sb4#


Four-fold Indian and formation of four different white batteries. In each solution, a black piece has to move away and selfblock to enable the mate ! To cap it all, there are the Siers battery mates !

No.4 The Problemist, 1994
(In Memory of D.Nixon)

Two Solutions

I. 1. Sxd4 Rf7 2. Sxb5 Rb7 3. Sd6 Ra4#

II. 1. Sxg3 Rg4 2. Sxe2 Rg2 3. Sf4 Rf1#


Transformation of White half-pin. Black knight has no time to unpin the white rook, it is busy clearing lines ! So the white rooks have
to mutually unpin each other!



No.5 Shakmatna Misal, 1991
petkov-h#-by-seetharaman-p5Two Solutions

1. Bxc2 Rg3+ 2. Se4 Rf3 3. Sc5 Rf6#

1. Sxc2 Rg4+ 2. Sd5 Re4 3. Sb6 Rc4#


Transformations of the R/B White battery. Entertaining sequence of unpin/selfpin/unpin ! I am surprised that it did not win a prize – perhaps the judge wanted pin mates !

No.6 Shakmatna Misal, 1983
1st Prizepetkov-h#-by-seetharaman-p6b) bKh2

(a) Diagram

1. Bd4 Ba3 2. Sg8 Qb4#

(b) BKh2

1. Rd4 Rf1 2. Bg8 Qf2#


White Bristols after bi-valve play by the masking black pieces. Black grimshaw capped by nice pinmates ! Thematic twinning and change of function of WB/WR. All this in just two moves ! 

Happy Birthday, Petko Petkov ! Many more happy returns!


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Diyan Kostadinov
Diyan Kostadinov
March 4, 2013 20:35

If we speak about Petkov’s helpmates we should note that he won the Silver medal (with co-author Krassimir Gandev) in Olympic tourney Helpmates – Skopje 1972 and also 1st Place in Helpmates Rapid composing Skopije 1972. (By The Way in the same Olympic tourney Petkov won also 1st Prize in S# section with co-author Alaikov, and also 2nd Prize in Threemovers section!)

March 4, 2013 23:03

hm…..Even 40 years ago he won three top FIDE tourneys. He is still unbeatable. He has become better and better ! Keep up the good work Petkov, keep them coming !!

Paul Raican
March 11, 2013 09:27
Reply to  Julia

In eighties, it was a match Bulgaria-Romania and the theme of N.6 was required. Amazing problem!

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