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I'm trying to create a retraction puzzle, but I'm not sure whether or not it is sound. I'm not sure where to find resources on how to make a retraction puzzle.

I have two related questions-

1-Is my problem sound? I'm going to leave it here without a solution so it can be figured out whether or not it is sound. Remember to consider what Black's move was.

2-Where can I find resources on how to make a retraction puzzles?

I wish for feedback so I may better my creations of retraction puzzles.

White Retracts Their Last Move & Delivers Stalemate Instead

[FEN "8/3R2Kp/4kP1P/3R3P/3B2BP/6NP/P1P4P/8 w - - 0 1"]
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Could white have just played Bg4 from somewhere without capture? Black’s prior move was Ke5-e6. This can be fixed by a shifting wN to e3 and adding wBg3. This stops other cooks where White has just given discovered check.

A key point is that retracting 1. e5xf6e.p. f7-f5 2. B~g4+ Kf5-e6 3. N~e3+ works, as wPe5 blocks wRd5 from attacking f5, and so bK on f5 only endures a single check (from wNe3).

General chess problem solving engines e.g. Popeye don’t currently offer retraction capabilities. It might be possible to solve Edith Baird style retractors though, but not ones with retro logic.

The database pdb.dieschwalbe.de contains lots of retractor problems. Type k='help retractor' in the search box, and hit Overview to begin your journey in this amazing resource.

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    @RewanDemontay This answer is currently correct. The position was previously: 8/3R2Kp/5P1P/4k2P/7P/6NP/P1PRB2P/8 w - - Whereupon white plays R2d5+ Ke6 Bg4#. This shows that white's last move is not uniquely determined, and does not have to be e.p. – Remellion Jul 16 at 3:58
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    @RewanDemontay With a bishop on d4, the last moves could now have been from here: 8/R5Kp/3k1P1P/5R1P/3B2BP/6NP/P1P4P/8 w - - Rd7+ Ke6 Rfd5#. Laska's suggested fix (putting the bishop on g3) works. – Remellion Jul 16 at 4:13
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    Like so?: 8/3R2Kp/4kP1P/3R3P/6BP/4N1BP/P1P4P/8 b - - 0 1 And does this make sure that e.p. was White's last move? – Rewan Demontay Jul 16 at 4:20
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    But I do spy Rf7 stalemate, making your answer correct. – Rewan Demontay Jul 16 at 4:25
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    @RewanDemontay Yes, that is what Laska suggested and it works. White's last move must have been e.p. Notice how the bishop on g3 guards the squares around the black king with impossible double check. Also I notice that you have been interested in composing. SE is not the best place to discuss things freely, but you can message me on another platform like chess.com (Remellion) or lichess (Illion) if you want to discuss things or exchange contact details more discreetly. – Remellion Jul 16 at 5:17
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First attempt.

If the White bishop is removed then it is stalemate which suggests that Black had a piece on g4 and White's last move was Bxg4++. He could retract this and play hxg4 stalemate instead.

But White has made 14 pawn captures and Black has 2 pieces left. Hence there are no Black pieces left for the Bishop to take. Any White capture must have been made by a pawn.

Second attempt

This suggests that there was a Black pawn on f5 which had just made the move f7-f5 blocking the bishop check and White responded ef++. There is no White piece that can block the pawn on f5 and stop it moving hence to deliver stalemate White must take the pawn without check. Hence White replaces ef++ by Nxf5 stalemate.

  • Bingo! Do you think that this is the only possible solution? – Rewan Demontay Jul 15 at 23:06
  • Yes I do. I can see no other way of giving Black a legal last move. Also I understand the reason for all of the pieces on the board with the exception of the pawn on a2. – Brian Towers Jul 15 at 23:19
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    That was precisely my intention. You are correct that the a2 pawn could be shaved off. – Rewan Demontay Jul 15 at 23:28
  • I agree with your reasonning, but you need to expand the solution by showing the previous moves played before B:f7-f5 W:exf6ep. White played Bg4 (from d1, e2, or f3 - not a capture for the same reason as in the answer) and not Nf5-g3, Black played Ke7-e6 before, and White Rd7+ (from d8 or d6) even before. – Evargalo Jul 16 at 15:47

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