Logic & Math Puzzles | Chess Puzzle 02

Can you find the best move?

Instructions: White’s pieces are clustered menacingly around Black’s king, but it is far from easy to force mate in two. White to play and mate in two.


Slide left to see the answer, but don’t do it right away. Think about it first!


The first point to note is that Black’s king has a possible escape route to e4, so White’s first move must either prevent …Ke4 or prepare a reply to it. The second point is that if White loses control of c4 or e6, then Black can give a discovered check by moving his king. However, composers love an element of paradox in their problems, so…


The arrangement of bishop on a8 and white king on h1 appears to make life hard for White, because it creates the possibility of a discovered check by Black if, for example, the queen moves and allows either …Kc4+ or …Ke6+. But this is precisely the sort of deception composers like to incorporate into their problems; the idea is that the solver will see the discovered checks and therefore reject a queen move….But it turns out that the key is with the queen after all. Black is allowed his bit of fun, but the queen is ambushed behind the rook, and White can trump Black by meeting his discovered checks with discovered mates! The threat is 2 Re3 mate, and the queen move prepares to meet 1…Ke4 by 2 Qg2 mate. Black can stop the threat by 1…d3, but then 2 Rb4 is mate, while 1…e4 is answered by 2 Rb5 mate. The two star variations arise from the other moves of Black’s king, 1…Kc4+ allows 2 Rf3 mate (the rook must guard d3), and 1…Ke6+ allows 2 Rb7 mate (the rook must guard d7 and e7). Altogether, White’s rook delivers a total of five different mates.

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