09 December 2011

Christmas Quizzes (2)

I continue with a second installment of this quiz series. Once again, I stick to the original text from Chess as close as it seems appropriate. Unfortunately, Courtney wasn't very generous revealing details on his sources for the puzzles or at the least naming the composers.

White to play and mate in 4 moves
1   I think this one is quite well-known:
According to legend, a certain German doctor once made a bargain with the devil, and this was the strange agreement that they made: the devil agreed to give the doctor super-human skill at chess for a period of four years, and in return the physician agreed to give the devil his soul upon the expiry of this four year term, BUT on one condition! The proviso was that the devil should first of all solve a 4-move problem which would be specially composed for him by the doctor at the end of the four years. The devil at once agreed to that 'puerile condition' (as he called it), and with a flash and a bang he was gone. The devil duly fulfilled his part of the contract, and the fame of the physician's chess prowess became famous world-wide. However, the day of reckoning came: "Where is this silly problem?" demanded his satanic majesty. "Here it is, all set up ready for you," replied the doctor. The devil made the first three moves on the board accurately and without a moment's hesitation; but the fourth move (obvious to all the bystanders) seemed to baffle him, and, with a diabolical oath, he disappeared in a huff and a puff of smoke, leaving behind him the inevitable odour of brimstone and, of course, a highly delighted German physician!
Why did the doctor's fairly simple four-mover defeat the devil?!

  2unknown author/source  

  3A. Baker  
British Chess Magazine, 1916

4   Composed by Geoff Chandler of Holyrood Court, Edinburgh.
The position occured towards the end of a game between two rival, barbarian chieftains in the year 1560. The player of the white pieces was Gunter, and he had a smile on his face because it was his move and he could see that he had a forced win. What is more the winner of the game was to have the other chieftain's daughter as a prize. The barbarian who had Black was called Bunzer, by the way, and we must assume that his daughter was very pretty: otherwise why was Gunter smiling? So, that is your problem: White to play and win.
Hint: Read the story again very carefully, after which look equally carefully at the squares on which the pieces are placed!

1The devil played the following moves very quickly: 1. Nd4+ Kd6 2. Qxd7+ Nxd7 3. Rxd5+ Nxd5 and only then did he realise that if he played the fourth move of the solution (4. Re6#) then he would have completed the sign of the cross ... foiled again!
21. Qa8 Rg1 2. Bb7 Qf1#. I like it.
31. Kd1!! Ke7 2. Ke2 Kd8 3. Kd2 Ke8 (3. - Kc8 4. Ke3) 4. Kc3 Kd8 5. Kc4 Kc7 6. Kb5 Kb7 7. Kxa5 Ka7 8. Kb5 Kb7 9. a5 Ka7 10. a6 Ka8 11. Kb6 Kb8 12. a7+ Ka8 13. Kc7 1-0. Not too difficult, right?
4The key to this puzzle is that two barbarians are playing: so take hold of the white king and jump it over the black rook which is next to it, keeping hold of the white king now jump it over the black queen, and to conclude White's first move keep hold of the king and jump it over Black's remaining rook: remove the two black rooks and the queen from the board. Black's only move available is Kg6, whereupon the white bishop jumps over the black king which is removed from the board. White has won. Only barbarians, of course, would play Draughts with Chessmen ... didn't you know?!

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