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The Independent Culture
As I sipped my cocoa in the Greasy Pawn cafe the other night, I spotted an old man alone in the corner fiddling with a few chessmen. "Mind if I join you?" I asked.

Without looking up, he said, in a strongly central European accent, "Bleck moofs, Vite moofs, Bleck moofs, Vite mates."

"Ah!" I said. "A helpmate in two." Then, rather smugly, I must admit, I made two moves on each side to leave Black checkmated. "Pretty," I said dismissively.

"No," he said, resetting the men. "Is wrong position. Is black rook, not queen." And he replaced the queen on a6 by a rook.

I looked again, slightly irritated, but soon found the two moves leading to checkmate.

Again he reset the men, this time with a black knight on a6. I solved that too, but a similar thing happened twice more, with black bishop and black pawn on a6.

When I solved the last one, the old man quietly buttoned his coat and walked out of the cafe without a word. Only then did I realise that the swine had drunk my cocoa.

Answers: a) 1.Qf6 Nc5 2.Qb2 Ra4; b) 1.Rb6 Rb1 2.Rb3 Ra1; c) 1.Nc5 Nc1 2.Na4 Rb3; d) 1.Bc4 Ne1 2.Ba2 Nc2; e) 1.a5 Rb3+ 2.Ka4 Nc5 (composed by G Forsberg).