Wednesday Workout: Kramnik's Folly!

Checkmate problems – mate in twos, threes, or mores – are not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people enjoy solving them, while others, like GM Johan Salomon, use them to train calculation and creativity. Still others find them too artificial for their tastes and want nothing to do with them. Last week ChessBase India showed some of India’s leading players struggling to solve a stunning mate in three. Part of the intrigue of the problem stemmed from its having been passed to Viswanathan Anand by Vladimir Kramnik. Its true province was originally unclear, but  I (along with the rest of the world) discovered after some research that it was created by Marin y Llovet in 1904. Here’s the position, along with the solution. Don’t worry if you can’t solve it on your own – after all, if it stumped a team of Grandmasters, what hope is there for the rest of us?

[Event "Norwich Mercury 1904-1905"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Marin y Llovet, Valentin"]
[Black "Mate in three"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r6B/1p5p/3p2pK/1N5P/1p3P2/3p4/1R2p3/kB1b3Q w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "5"]
[EventDate "1904.??.??"]

{This is the problem that Kramnik sent to Anand in Feb 2019, gaining a lot of
buzz on the interwebs!} 1. Qc6 bxc6 (1... d2 2. Rxb4+ Rxh8 3. Qc3#) (1... b3 2.
Rxb3+ Rxh8 3. Qc3#) (1... Rxh8 2. Qc1 b3 (2... d2 3. Ra2#) 3. Bxd3#) 2. Na3
bxa3 (2... b3 3. Ra2#) (2... Rxa3 3. Rb3#) 3. Rb8# *

This week we offer a mate in two for your Wednesday Workout. It’s not as onerous as Kramnik’s problem, to be sure, but it requires a bit of imagination to uncover its secrets. The solution is given below the diagram in a separate presentation. Remember - this is a checkmate in two moves. [fen] 2R5/nk6/R4p2/5Q2/2K5/8/8/8 w - - 0 1[/fen]

[Event "Nove Parizske Mody"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1899.??.??"]
[White "Mach, Z."]
[Black "Mate in two"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2R5/nk6/R4p2/5Q2/2K5/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "3"]
[EventDate "1899.??.??"]

1. Ra8 Kxa6 (1... Kxa8 2. Qc8#) (1... Kc7 2. Qh7#) (1... Nb5 2. Qc8#) (
1... Nc6 2. Qc8# (2. Qd7#)) 2. Qb5# *


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