Invisible King

The white king has made himself invisible. Where is he?

The white king is on c3. Since he cannot be currently on b3 (he will be in double check from the black rook and the black bishop), Black must be currently in check from the white bishop. That’s possible only if White has given a discovered check with his king. That’s possible only if on the previous move, the white king was on b3 and was in double check. The only possible way for this to happen is if Black gave two discovered checks at the same time. The one way to do this is if a black pawn on b4 captured a white pawn on c3 using en passant. Thus after b4xc3, the white king has just captured the black pawn on c3, and that is where he is currently hiding.

Raymond Merrill Smullyan (1919 – 2017) was an American mathematician, magician, concert pianist, logician, Taoist, and philosopher. Born in Far Rockaway, New York, his first career was stage magic. He earned a BSc from the University of Chicago in 1955 and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1959. He is one of many logicians to have studied with Alonzo Church.

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