I remember seeing a chess problem once that I cannot find. I think that I saw it in a YouTube video, but I seem to find it again.

The theme of the puzzle, I think, was something like caging in the Turkish king. The puzzle was mentioned as being old in the video.

Some details of the position are:

-The end position is a smothered mate in which a White knight checkmates a Black King that is surrounded by 8 black pawns on each of it'a adjacent squares.

-During the solution, White forces Black to make some of the Black pawns to make captures to surround the Black king.

Here's something of a case example that I made:

[FEN "8/2pKN3/Q3ppp1/2ppk1p1/4pR2/3P1P2/4N3/8 w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. Qd6+ cxd6 2. Rf5+ gxf5 3. d4+ cxd4 4. f4+ gxf4 5. Ng6#

Does anyone know of the puzzle that I speak of? What is the source?

  • 1
    Although here black is not forced to do 2. ... gxf5 as it could also be 2. ... exf5 (and that it would also be mate on 1. Ng6) (but I don't have an answer to your question, so hopefully someone does) – justhalf Jul 1 '19 at 22:54

    [Title "Carl Ferdinand von Jänisch, Der eiserne Käfig des Tamerlan, 1849"]
    [FEN "4N3/P2p1Np1/3Qp1R1/2pR4/2p1kpp1/b2bp2B/q3PP2/3K4 w - - 0 0"]

1.f3+ gxf3 2.exd3+ cxd3 3.Bf5+ exf5 4.Re6+ dxe6 5.Nf6+ gxf6 6.Rd4+ cxd4 7.a8=B Qd5 8.Bxd5+ exd5 9.Qe5+ fxe5 10.Ng5#

It's problem 59 in Max Lange: Handbuch der Schachaufgaben, Leipzig 1862, p. 79. Google Books.

It was published on p. 427 of the 1849 Schachzeitung. Google Books.

The chess puzzle can also be found with the search term tamburlaine's iron cage, e. g. Suren's YouTube video.


Is it this one?

[Title "Herbert Grasemann. Deutsche Schachblätter 1950, 2nd Prize"]
[StartFlipped "0"]
[fen "8/8/8/5B2/6QN/3prp2/3r1p2/3bbk1K w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.Qh3+ Ke2 2.Qf1+ Kxf1 3.Bh3+ Ke2 4.Bf1+ Kxf1 5.Nf5 Ra2 6.Ng3#

Dickin & Ebert, in their 100 Classics of the Chessboard, no. 55, call it "Back into Clink".

If not, if the bK really is surrounded by 8 pawns and no pieces, then perhaps it was one of the problems as located by this PDB query:


  • Thanks for that nice Schwalbe list there Rosie F. Nice try at trying to find that puzzle for me! – Rewan Demontay Jul 2 '19 at 13:33
  • Never mind. If my answer was only a try, I'm glad you have your key. – Rosie F Jul 2 '19 at 13:36
  • Uh, why you say "nevermind?" (Comes off kind of cold to me....) And, uh, thanks I guess. – Rewan Demontay Jul 2 '19 at 13:37
  • 2
    No offence meant. It means something like "Don't worry". Some people say "No worries" to mean the same thing. – Rosie F Jul 2 '19 at 13:44
  • Ah ok. I gotcha now. I've just never really heard the word "nevermind" being used in such a manner I guess. – Rewan Demontay Jul 2 '19 at 13:46

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