THE LEPUSCHÜTZ THEME
by Hans Peter Rehm, Germany
(From Mat Plus No.15, Winter 1997, p.73)
This article is concerned with one of my favorite themes from the logical school. I
have two reasons to do this: First, many of the aesthetic discussions of this school are
not known outside the German speaking countries. So readers have some opportunity to learn
about those thoughts even if it is not possible here to report them in some depth.
Secondly: In a time when formalistic aspects (those which have nothing to do with the
logic of the solution: why it works) are very fashionable in chess composition I hope some
will appreciate an article concerned with the quality of the moves themselves and not the
pattern the moves form. In this respect the article is conservative even to the extent
that many of the examples could be used to impress normal chess players without specific
interest in chess problems.
The English language and chess problems terminology lacks a word for one of the most
fundamental stratagems. If the success of a specific attack is guaranteed by the
consequences of a specific white move during the foreplan the logical school calls this
white move "Führung" (German). Maybe this obvious concept was too trivial for
English speaking chess problemists, and they did not introduce a term for it. So I will
use the German word in this article. The logical school (and clever composers before its
appearance) tried to find deep and interesting moves to be used as Führung. I only cite
some of the more interesting (and therefore famous) ones: The Indian critical move, the
Turton move, the Bristol (clearance) etc. Of course many white moves in a direct problem
(or a game) look like Führung because White tries to advance his goals by playing them.
But the logical school requires more: to try the combination leaving out that move makes
some sense, but is refuted. The effects of the Führung are the only reason that after the
foreplan the attack is decisive.
The subject of this article is the following paradoxical theme:
A specific Führung would be successful if black had not time to defend. So white allows a
check, and the Führung is successful as an answer to this check.
Note: In the logical school many interesting themes (like this) have not been named. Its
hero is the late Dr. Hans Lepuschütz as we will see. So it is much less unjust as usual
with themes named after composers to call it the Lepuschütz theme.
The idea is paradoxical and can only function like this: the checking black move causes a
black weakness so that after the check and the Führung Black must deal with the weakness
first (often by retracting the checking move) and so has no time to do the refutation
which was possible without the check. After the check and its retraction black has lost
nothing but time. A sequence of moves which just loses time but does not leave other vital
effects after its completion is called "Beschäftigung" in German. So we are
concerned in our theme with a specific kind of Beschäftigung which makes a Führung
Let us look at our first (simple) example.
|1. Herbert Grasemann
In Nr.1 the fundamental attack (main plan) is 1.Sb3??#.
The Führung (unblock of square b3) 1.Ka3!? would prepare this but 1... Be7! defends.
1.Be6! [2.Bxc8] provokes the check Bxe6+ (weakening a6), but now the Führung 2.Ka3 is
successful because the threat (3.Ba6) forces 2... Bc8 so that there is no time for the
good move Be7 and the Führung triumphs by 3.Sb3#. To get some classification I write
first the white piece doing the Führung then the black checking piece and finally the
purpose of Führung. So the type of No.1 is: K/B-antiblock.
There has been much discussion whether one should only acknowledge attacks as main plans
which can be played leaving out the foreplan. Here we have a very simple foreplan 1.Ka3 to
allow the main plan Sb3. But the main plan 1.Sb3?? is simply impossible in the diagram. It
is much better if the main plan can be really played without preparation but then is not
strong enough (maybe a check is not mate because of a flight or there is some other black
refutation). In this case the logic is based on something more real, namely an
insufficient attack called Probespiel in German. I personally prefer much if a Probespiel
exists and not only a "plan". I use the word "fundamental attack" for
this attack which is not successful in the Probespiel but successful in the solution.
The rest of the introduction contains most other #3 presentation of the theme I know.
|2. Herbert Grasemann
Nr.2: 1.Kh4? e1Q/B! 1.Sf6 [2.Sg8:] Sf6:+ 2.Kh4 Sg8
3.Sg4 Another simple example, type K/S-antiblock. The S is rare as a
|3. Herbert Grasemann
Schach-Express 1947 (v)
The best #3 example is Nr.3: 1.Ke4? Bd2 1.Kd4 [2.Qc5]
Bf2+ 2.Ke4! [3.Qa5] Be1 3.Qe3 This fine miniature (again type K/B-antiblock)
shows that one can work without sacrifice as a first move.
|4. Herbert Grasemann
& Wilhelm Grosser
Nr.4: 1.Ra3? Qf2:! 1.Re3!! (Zugzwang!) Qa1+ 2.Ra3+ Qd4
3.Ra5, 1... Qh8+ 2.Re8+ 3.Rc8, (1... d5 2.Re6) The king as white theme piece is perhaps
easiest to handle and therefore most frequent. Here we have the unusual type: R/Q-advance,
allowing a spectacular key. The word "advance" here means that R advances to a
better square from where he can mate. The reader will notice that this problem is doubling
the theme. The only thing missing is a try (too slow) threatening 2.Rc8#. I would have
preferred the position Rc3 to h3, +wPf5, to get that try (1.Rh8? Qf2:). Now both
variations follow correct logic and we have a perfect doubling of the theme. For my taste
clear logic is always worth adding a pawn, but the authors decided otherwise (not to spoil
the very elegant position).
Apart from some more Grasemann problems (types K/R-antiblock, R/S-advance, K/S-antiblock)
these are already all the 3# presentations I can remember. (But I have no time for a
thorough search in the literature so some more might exist). Most types are missing in 3
move form. Maybe the theme is difficult to introduce into more complex or more modern
threemovers. One could try to triple it or present it with changed mates etc.
The rest of the article will show to what tremendous depth the theme has been developed in
the moremove field.