# A Chess Problem

I ran across thisChess problem online maybe a month or so ago. I just happened on it again today and it got me again.

Really look at it and try to do it without using the hint.

BTW, this reminds me of a one page murder mystery I read somewhere, but I can’t seem to find it. If anyone else recognizes it and can point me to the source I would appreciate it.

Tricky, tricky!

No hints here, quit cheating! It’s pretty obvious with their hint, like SiXSwordS said, try hard before you click on it. Either way, you’re probably going to feel pretty dumb. I did!

I get the trick (after reading down the page), but I don’t get the move. I’m not following their notation for the moves 1.Kd4 mate or 1.fxg8=N mate, for example

A huge hint at the answer:

In a recent thread about mistakes in movies, a doper pointed out that often chess boards are rotated the wrong way. That probably is what prompted me notice that right off. I checked other puzzles in the archive, noticed they boards were correctly oriented, so I gathered that was part of the problem. In other words, I got really, really lucky.

The chess board is labeled with letters going from left to right, and numbers from top to bottom (from white’s perspective). K is king, N is knight. If there is only one square labeled, it means only one piece can possibly move there, and it might not even have a K, Q, B, etc. qualifier. In addition, x means “takes”, signifying a capture. The = sign means the player chose to upgrade their pawn to a kNight since they made it to the last rank. Look here for a more thourough explaination.

I’m most impressed by the fact that every turn has a mate-in-one. Very clever!

A quick check of chess boards for sale shows that color orientation is not uniform.

And which of those is the correct checkmating move, depends in which way you decide the board is turned, which I believe is what SixSwords is alluding to. There are two possible choices for ‘correct’ orientation, and each choice has a different checkmate move associated with it.

Um, yeah. And this scammer on eBay sent me a book where all of the pages were printed upside down, and bound in reverse order. The bastard.

I just showed this to my wife. She figured it out in, like, two minutes.

Why would someone this smart marry someone like me? That’s what I want to know!

You could be thinking of this book:

which together with the companion volume ‘Chess mysteries of the Arabian Knights’ covers positions such as problem 1 here:

It seems like there is a solution also for the board unrotated (ignoring the colors of the squares of course.) Would RxQ do it or am I missing something?

-Kris

Nope. If RxQ, then Black responds NxR (check). The resulting uncovered check from the bishop could then be blocked with the same knight.
BxQ would work if black “plays along.”

That’s why I don’t play chess.

‘Light on the right’ is the rule.
From article 2.1 of the rules of chess:

‘The chessboard is placed between the players in such a way that the near corner square to the right of the player is white.’
Here’s a brilliant chess problem from the Master of joke puzzles, Sam Loyd. I realise it’s a mate in 5, but you don’t have to solve it. Just guess which is the least likely white piece (or pawn) to mate.

http://www.chess.freegames.eu.com/problems-puzzles/sam_loyd.html

Solution:

[spoiler]It’s the pawn on b2!

1. b2-b4 (threatens 2.Rf5 and 3. Rf1 mate) Rc8-c5
2. b4xc5 (threatens 2.Rb1 mate) a3-a2
3. c5-c6 (threatens 2.Rf5 and 3. Rf1 mate) Bd8-c7
4. c6xb7 any
5. b7xa8=Q mate
[/spoiler]

After RxQ, Black’s only legal move is NxR. He could resign, but it still wouldn’t be mate. There is no concept in chess of ‘playing along’.

My guess is that she sees the type of smarts you have and prefers them to “chess smarts.” Being able to see the wisdom in your question may have been a real turn-on for her.

There’s more than one kind of smart.

I have to say that Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes is just about my favourite puzzle book. Puzzle fans who don’t like chess puzzles should not be put off, because the retrograde analysis problems in this book are really just logical deduction problems that happen to be set on a chess board. You don’t need to any good at chess or even interested in it to enjoy them.

I suppose people familiar with retro analysis would find Smullyan’s problems far too easy, but it was my introduction to the subject and I found it utterly absorbing.

Okay, I’m still not getting it.

Of course, this isn’t mate in one, but:

1. RxQ+ NxR
2. Kf7+ Ne6
3. BxN

Isn’t that checkmate? And aren’t both of Black’s moves here forced? (If I had a board in front of me to play with, I’d probably be understanding this better.)

-Kris

Yes, sorry, I should have been more precise. :o

There are some amazing ideas in chess problems, which come from changing the purpose of the game. They include:

• both sides work together to checkmate Black (helpmate)
• White tries to be checkmated; Black tries not to give checkmate (selfmate)
• one side doesn’t move for a while (series-problem)

But none of this applies to mate-in-one problems, which is what I meant.

Frylock,
Assuming we ignore board orientation in the original position, White is comfortably winning.
I think there are two mates in three:

1. pxR (threat QxN mate) and Black can only delay mate by knight checks
2. RxQ (as you say)

But the condition is mate in one, and there’s only one way to do it.
This is considered vital in chess problems. There should only be one solution (unless the composer finds two or more solutions which are all worth seeing.)

Here’s a good intro to the subject:

http://www.bcps.knightsfield.co.uk/introduction.html