Chess Puzzle of the Week (119): Solution

Last week I left you with this Mate in 2 by Alberto Mari.

This problem exemplifies the Mansfield Couplet, named after the great English composer Comins Mansfield. “Two black units control a white battery. In two variations, each loses control by self-pin. White’s battery mate eliminates the other black unit’s control.”

The solution is 1. Bf7 (threatening 2. Ne3#), which, while setting up a battery against the black king, leaves the rook on b6 pinned. The thematic variations are 1… Kc5 2. Nxb4#, with the e7 pawn now pinned, and 1… Kb3 2. Nxe7#, with the b4 knight now pinned. We also have 1… e6 2. Rb4#, 1… Nxd5 2. Qc1# and 1…Rxb6+ 2. Nxb6#. There’s also a changed mate: in the diagram 1… Kb3 would be met by 2. Rxb4#. The try 1. Qa3 is refuted by 1… e5.

I hope you enjoyed this: well done if you managed to solve it!