The "Fireside Book of Chess" by I. Chernev and F. Reinfeld includes the following diagram
[fen "3nk3/3NN3/3PP3/3BB3/3PP3/3PP3/3PP3/2RQKR2 w - - 0 1"]
Composed by J.N. Babson for Brentano's Chess Monthly in 1882. Mate on the 1220th move, after compelling Black to make three successive and complete Knight's tours.
(Note that there is a mate in one. The problem asks for something more specific.)
- Babson is a real composer, famous for long mate problems.
- Brentano's Chess Monthly was a real publication from 1880 to 1882, and Babson did have problems published there.
- A FIDE page that lists people with FIDE titles has a biographical sketch of Babson citing a 1220 move problem, and a 1990 move problem on a 10x10 board.
- I can't find any reference to this problem on the web, other than the above mentioned book.
- Nobody ever mentions any problem with this many moves... anywhere!
- A knight tour is the motion of a knight through all the board squares. Three of these would mean only 192 moves.
So here are my questions:
- Is the problem for real?
- How should one interpret the knight tour condition? Probably the knight will capture most of the central pieces, but do the other pieces have to move aside to let the knight through?
- What is the solution?
- Why is this not more widely known?