Selfmate

A selfmate is a chess problem in which White, moving first, must force Black to deliver checkmate within a specified number of moves against their will. Selfmates were once known as sui-mates.

ExampleEdit

The problem shown is a relatively simple example. It is a selfmate in two by Wolfgang Pauly[1][2] from The Theory of Pawn Promotion, 1912: White moves first and compels Black to deliver checkmate on or before Black's second move.

Wolfgang Pauly, 1912
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abcdefgh
Selfmate in two

If White can leave Black with no option but to play Bxg2#, the problem is solved.

  • White might try moving the bishop, but this is no good, as it will allow Black to play a non-capturing bishop move himself, delaying the mate beyond move two;
  • moving the knight allows the king to move;
  • 1.e6 allows 1...exf6 and 2...f5;
  • 1.f7 or 1.fxe7 allows 1...Kxg7;
  • 1.g8=Q or 1.g8=R are no good after 1...Bxg2+ 2.Q/Rxg2;
  • 1.g8=N# checkmates Black, which is entirely wrong;
  • 1.g8=B is also no good, since after 1...exf6 2.exf6 Bxg2+ the bishop can interpose with 3.Bd5.

The only move by which White can force Black to deliver checkmate on or before move two is 1.c8=N. There are two variations:

  • 1...exf6 2.exf6 Bxg2# is a selfmate;
  • 1...e6 allows 2.g8=B (the e6 pawn blocks 3.Bd5), forcing 2...Bxg2# and selfmate.

Note that only a promotion to a knight works on move one: any other piece would be able to interpose after 1...Bxg2+.

Record problemsEdit

Andriy Stetsenko, 2016
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White to play, selfmate in 359

The record for longest selfmate problem is a 359-move problem created by Andriy Stetsenko in 2016.[3] The puzzle is based on a 1922 composition by Ottó Titusz Bláthy, which is the former record holder.[citation needed]

The record for longest 7-piece selfmate problem is a 298-move problem, which was created by William Shinkman.[citation needed]

VariationsEdit

A derivative of the selfmate is the reflexmate, in which White compels Black to give mate with the added condition that if either player can give mate, they must (when this condition applies only to Black, it is a semi-reflexmate). There is also the maximummer, in which Black must always make the geometrically longest move available, as measured from square-centre to square-centre; although this condition is sometimes found in other types of problems, it is most common in selfmates. Another variation is the series-selfmate, a type of seriesmover in which White makes a series of moves without reply, at the end of which Black makes one move and is compelled to give mate.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pauly selfmate
  2. ^ W. Pauly
  3. ^ "Award in Jubilee Tourney" (PDF). SuperProblem. Retrieved 12 August 2021.

Further readingEdit