Lubomir URSTA
Visitor No.

Chessplayers are ofen used to solve more-movers like this: 1.Bxh7 Kxh7 2.Bxg7 Kxg7 3.Rg8 Kxg8 4.Qg6#. When such a solver-beginner first time tries to solve a standard more-mover, he does not know what to do at all. If he does not resign immediately, he performs several first half-moves which seem the best for him, and, then solves a shorter direct problem (I'm describing feelings of a solver in Pardubice, Czechia, 2003).

Such a method contains first a 'help-part' ('performs several first half-moves which  seem the best for him') and then a 'direct-part' ('solves a shorter direct problem').

Thus the idea of help-direct-problems was born: in the first part white and black help each other to reach a position, when black cannot prevent from n-mover. There is a direct analogy to a standard helpmate, where white and black help each other in the first part so that black cannot prevent from 'one-mover' (in the last half-move of white).
There is also an analogy with an existing type of the problem: help-self-mate, where white and black help each other to create a one-mover selfmate in the last move (though there is no reason to restrict the selfmate to just one move).

The definition of the help-direct-problem is the following: in help-direct-mate Hx-y# black starts to move, and x moves (minus one half-move) black helps white to reach a position, when (white moves, and) black cannot prevent from a standard y-mover.
At the same time, the initial position must not soluble as a standard helpmate which has less halfmoves than a help-direct-mate.

Examples hopefully help to clarify the idea:

In H2-2# ( black starts, and after a next move of white and black there should be a standard two-mover on the board. At the same time, the original position must not be soluble as a standard H#2. says that the help-part contains three ways how to reach any final two-mover.
In the help-part during the first three half-moves the black pieces must be cleaned-up and white pieces must be setup so that the black ones have no possibility to make troubles to the white ones in the final two-mover.

In H3-2# ( it is similar, just the help-part is two half-movers longer and there are only two solutions. The initial position must not be soluble as a standard H#3.

Lubomir URSTA Lubomir URSTA
original original
P2-2# ( (2+8)
P2-3# ( (2+7)

1.Rb5 Kxf4 2.Rc5 Kxf3 
1.Bc1 Kg4 2.Bb2 Kxf3 
1.Nd4 Kxf4 2.Nb5 Kg3 
1.Bf5 d5 2.Bh7 d6 3.g6 dxc7 
1.Bf4 dxc5 2.Bh6 c6 3.g5 cxd7

As you can see from the previous problems, the contents of the help-parts is poor and the contents of the direct-parts is zero. Nevertheless, I believe, that real composers will be able to compose a help-direct-problem to be able to be called a problem.

That is why I'm opening a composition competition in help-direct-problems. Those may be mates, stalemates, or other calls of any length (e.g. help-self-mate, when a selfmate part is longer than one move). All fairy-pices, fairy-conditions, or even a slight changes in the problem definitions are allowed. Please send problems to: Lubomir URSTA, Drimlova 2513, 155 00, Praha 5, Czech Republic,or to: The chief arbiter is Michal Dragoun, deadline is November 30th 2004. Winners will enjoy small prizes. Information about the competition  you can find on or simply on

One more important thing. I do not know any solving program that could be able to test correctness of help-direct-problems. So please send problems without verification.If we find any incorrecntness, we will send you the problem back for a correction with an explanation. If you have any possibility to test correctness of help-direct-problems, we will be thankful for any info.

At the end I have to mention (with a kind permission of the author) the classical  analogy between chess problems and a life. Many of you know how Mirek Henrych describes the types of chess problems:
- a direct problem is like a game with a friend. We both try to win.
- a helpmate is like a game with a child. We help the child win.
- a selfmate is like a game with a wife. We make her win so that she has to be kind to us even though she does not want to.
There were Mirek Henrych's comparisons. And I'm adding:
- a help-direct-mate is like an education of a child. We spoil, spoil, and when we realize that the child is spoilt too much, it is too late for education.

The competition results

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Last update: November 11th 2005