Many players are put off chess problems by the dry vocabulary of problemists. When every possible interaction between pieces has a name, the result can make a minor art sound like a dull textbook on Euclidean geometry.

The "Seeburger theme", for example, happens when a "try" - a tempting but incorrect first move - fails because of the freedom of a black piece at a critical moment. A preliminary plan is therefore put into action, designed to ensure the immobility of that piece when the crisis arrives.

Boring, isn't it? Now watch it in action in Seeberger's composition of 1866. In the diagram, it's White to play and mate in four. 1.Ba3 (the "try") threatens Bxc5 and Bd6 mate, but after 1...Nb7! White has no good move; 2.Be7 is met by any move of the black bishop.

But if that bishop couldn't move, Black would have to play 2...h5, allowing 3.Bg5 mate. Now when you start thinking about what White's rook is doing on the board, you should find the answer: 1.Ra8! Bxa8 (to prevent 2.Rf8+) 2.Ba3 Nb7 (otherwise the bishop gets to d6) 3.Be7! and mate with 4.Bd6 (if the knight moves) or 4.Bg5 (after 3...h5).

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