I'm looking for an opening I saw in a book (not a chess book). The opening was about 10 moves long, and the author stated that the evaluation after the last move shown had been considered for many years in many chess books as "black has a slight advantage", but later it had been shown that white could checkmate in 1 move.

Additional information: the book I read was written by Martin Gardner. It was not a chess book, but possibly a collection of his Scientific American columns, published in the 60s - 80s. This chess opening was (if I remember correctly) an example in a chapter devoted to puzzles and problems, unrelated to chess, that had been published with a wrong solution, or with a solution that later had been improved.

  • 1
    Even as long ago as the 90s, opening books were usually computer-checked for accuracy, so it would be unlikely for an opening book of that time to not account for a mate in 1 ... That means that the book you are thinking of is probably older than that, and written without computer-checking. Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 17:41
  • @ZubinMukerjee: I have edited the question to clarify some details about the book and the openning.
    – user23241
    Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 22:12
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    My guess is that this is not a theoretical opening. No way that Fischer et al would miss mate in one in a known position. I think this is probably one of those artificial puzzles which requires a number of nonsensical moves from both players to get an "interesting" position.
    – firtydank
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 6:25
  • What does it mean for an opening to be "about 10 moves long"?
    – David
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 10:48
  • @David: I tried to mean that, from what I recalled, white's first 10 moves were given, but there could be 9 or 11 moves. As the answer shows, there were only 9 moves
    – user23241
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 11:11

1 Answer 1


Maybe Martin Gardner was writing about this story. I'm quoting from p. 95 of Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld, The Fireside Book of Chess, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1949. (Of course they gave the moves in descriptive notation.)

In the eighth edition of a popular manual by Dufresne and Mieses, the following line of play is given:

[FEN ""]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 e5 6.Ndb5 d4 7.Nd5 Na6 8.Qa4 Bd7 9.e3 Ne7

In this situation, the authors' comment is, "Black has the superior position." What the analysts seem to have overlooked is that White can mate on the move!

I'm guessing Kt-B3 was somehow typoed into Kt-K2.

  • I've removed my answer because this looks much closer to what the OP is looking for. +1
    – firtydank
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 10:36
  • @bot: Yes, that's exactly what I was looking for.
    – user23241
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 11:13

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