Game of Chess

Ned and Jon are playing chess. Eventually, they end up in a position in which Ned (whites) is left with 2 rooks, and Jon (blacks) has just his king on the board. If Ned can mate Jon in exactly 4 different ways, what is the position of the pieces?

Black king on a1, white king on e1, white rooks on c2 and h1. Ned hasn’t moved his king and rook, so he can either castle or move his king to d2, e2 or f2, resulting in a mate.

Impossible!

Is it possible the following chess position to occur in a game?

No, it is impossible. The White’s pawn from e2 should have captured the Black’s bishop from c8. In order for the bishop to get there, the pawn on c6 should have captured one of White’s rooks. It couldn’t be the rook from h1, so it should have been the rook from a1. But in order for the rook from a1 to get to c6, the pawns from b2 and c2 should have been moved to b3 and c4 respectively. However, in that case, the bishop from f1 couldn’t get to a4, since it has been blocked before the capture e2xf3.

Chess Aggression

Starting from this position, can you make 39 consecutive checks – 20 from White and 19 from Black?

The sequence is as follows:

1. Nh2+ f1N+
2. Rxf1+ gxf1N+
3. Ngxf1+ Bg5+
4. Qxg5+ Bg2+
5. Nf3+ exf3+
6. Kd3+ Nc5+
7. Qxc5+ Re3+
8. Nxe3+ c1N+
9. Qxc1+ d1Q+
10. Qxd1+ e1N+
11. Qxe1+ Bf1+
12. Nxf1+ f2+
13. Ne3+ f1Q+
14. Qxf1+ Qxf1+
15. Nxf1+ Re3+
16. Nxe3+ b1Q+
17. Rxb1+ axb1Q+
18. Nc2+ Nf2+
19. Bxf2+

Queen’s Death

On which spot was the white queen captured?

Since the pawns on e6 and h6 have taken 2 of the White’s pieces, and the only two white pieces which could get there are the knight and the queen, the answer is one of these two squares. Similarly, the pawn on b3 should have taken the Black’s c8 bishop, and this should have happened before the White’s queen was taken. Therefore first the white knight was taken on e6, then the black bishop on b3, and finally the white queen on h6.

Knocked Off Piece

The following position occurs in a real game, right after one of the pieces gets knocked off the board. What was the piece?

It was a black knight. First, notice that the black pawns have moved 14 times diagonally and thus they have taken 14 pieces. Therefore the knocked off piece is black. Since it is impossible for both kings to be checked at the same time, the missing piece was positioned on a2. It couldn’t be a queen or a rook, because the white king would be checked both by it and the pawn on b3, which is impossible. Therefore the missing piece is either the black white-squared bishop or the black knight. However, the pawns on b7 and d7 haven’t been moved the entire game and then the black white-squared bishop hasn’t either. Thus we conclude that the knocked off piece is a black knight.

Missing Pawns

White to play and mate in 4 moves.

Remark: The position on the diagram is one which occurs in actual play.

Notice that the black queen and the black king have switched positions. However, this can happen only if some pawns have been moved. Therefore we can conclude that the bottom row on the diagram is actually the 8th row of the chessboard. All black and all white pieces have reached their respective opposite sides of the board.

Now White’s first move is Kb8-d7. The only moves black can play are with the knights. If Black plays Kb1-a3, Kb1-c3 or Kg1-h3, white mates in 2 more moves – Kd7-c5 and Kc5-d3. If Black moves Kg1-f3, then after Kd7-c5 Black can delay the mate by playing Kf3-e5. However, after the white queen takes it with Qxe5, Kc5-d3 is unavoidable.