What can be better than first? You'll know the answer when you solve this delightful miniature by R. Holding.
Can you finish "better than first"? Win the prize by clicking on Read More for the solution and a more detailed explanation of today's theme. (As with most miniatures, we recommend you try to "sight solve" without moving pieces on a board, as a way to develop visualization skills.)
4-8, 19-15, 8-12, 31-26, 12-16, 26-22, 2-7, 15-11, 7-10, 11-7, 10-14, 7-2, 16-19 Black Wins.
W. T. Call describes the theme as follows: "The phrase 'better than first' is commonly applied to situations that resemble some stage of first position, but may be solved in a more direct way. There are about twenty reputable problems of this class. Some of them produce only commonplace tactics. The succeeding problem ... may be termed neat."
We hope you agree!
Editor's Note, 05/30/2009: Somehow, we managed to publish this problem twice! We claim senescence as an excuse, but we also feel that the problem is good enough to deserve a second look!