04 May 2012

Go All The Way

Wow, this is already my 100th post. Time goes by. 100 ... reminds me of the neutral pieces which were introduced in 1912. They are those chessmen that belong to that side which chooses to use them. Do you remember? It was exactly one year ago today that I mentioned them in a blog post.

Now the question of the day: Is it such a bad idea to Go All The Way? That depends, right? How about chess problems with everything neutral? As for me, I am absolutely fascinated by them. Others, even hard-core fairy problemists, prefer not to touch such compositions at all. But are they really so alien? Let's start with a simple diagram to see what is allowed and what is not.

  Legal moves?(0+0+3)  
a) White to move
b) Black to move
Though there are only neutral pieces on the board, we still have to think in black and white. That may be the first psychological barrier. It's important to know which side has the move.
a)The nK must not go to e6 or g6 due to an illegal self-check (the nPf7 has to be considered to be black)! For the same reason nBh7 is not allowed. Neutral pieces can capture each other. Neutral pawns promote to neutral pieces.
nKe4,e5,f4,f6,g4,g5; nBxf7; nPf8=nB,nN; nPxg8=nQ,nR,nB,nN are legal.
b)This time, the nK can go anywhere he likes. The moves nKe6,g6+ are no self-checks! Of course, they are checks to the neutral king thereafter. He is then considered to be white and the nPf7 to be black. But that's not illegal, for it is White's turn and so the check is parried by moving the king away (e.g. nKf6, but not nKxf7) or by making a legal pawn move (nKe6: nPxg8=nN,nR; nKg6: nPf8=nQ,nR,nB or nPxg8=nB,nN).
Legal moves are nK~(+); nBxf7; nPf6.

I hope you are prepared for some real chess problems with neutral pieces only. All of them result in checkmates given by a pawn. I recommend that you take a closer look at the mate positions. Observe how and why it is impossible for those pawns to move away and thus spoil the checkmate in each case.

  1Henning Müller  
The Problemist, 1988

  2Henning Müller  
Hans-Peter Reich
Sinfonie Scacchistiche 12/1988

  3Jerome Auclair  
harmonie 04/1993

  4Manfred Rittirsch  
The Problemist 05/1988
Dedicated to Walter Wittstock
1st Prize
a) Diagram
b) nNe3 → f8

1*1. - Ka5+ 2. b3 Nb4 3. c3 cxb4#
1. Qb8 Ka5+ 2. Ka6 Nc3 3. Nb5 cxb5#
A perfect echo that results from the fact that it is not possible to make a tempo move. Also notable are the two ways to answer the check. In the setplay the pawn moves, in the solution the king does.
2I) 1. nPd1=nR nPf7 2. nRd7 nPf8=nB 3. nBd6 nPxd7#
II) 1. nPd1=nQ nPf7 2. nQd6 nPf8=nN 3. nNd7 nPxd7#
Sure, the ever-present Allumwandlung mustn't miss! A very nice composition.
3b) 1. nPd5 nQa7 2. nPd4 nBd5 3. nPd3 nPxc4#
w) 1. nBd5 nPc2 2. nRc6 nPc1=nQ 3. nQa3 nPxc6#
Once again the pawns are starring! In both solutions the nPd7 gives mate. The other pawn is also very active.
4a) 1. - nNeg4 2. nPf5 nKg6+ 3. nKh7 nBd4 4. nPg5 nPxg6 e.p.#
b) 1. - nQb8 2.nKf6+ nKe7 3.nPg5 nBh4 4.nPf5 nPxf6 e.p.#
Beautiful ideal mates with en passant capture.

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