I've discovered a selfmate requiring 1,351 moves to enforce. What is the highest move-count known for a selfmate? {The starting position is provably legal}.

  • 2
    I suggest to simply send it to a problemists journal. This would ensure you priority and credit. It also ensures that it gets cooked :P - I don't recall a long selfmate not being shot down in the peer review process. (And calling a 1351-mover long is like calling Longcat long...) May 30, 2021 at 21:05

1 Answer 1


Welcome to Chess Stack Exchange, Robert Linsley! I am a chess problemist myself, as others here are, so I can help you out. By stating that it is legal, you already ahead of most people! Chess problems are not entirely strict and you can compose anything you wish. However, there is a "Chess Codex that has been formed over the years as a guideline (no comments on how it may be out of date please) for "formal" chess problems, or "orthodox" as they have been termed. It sounds to me you have composed such an orthodox selfmate.

When it comes to record holding chess problems, there is a major distinction between problems with duals and no duals. Duals are a change in move order of a problem, although triangulation duals are not generally counted. However, if a problem has too many duals (this is a case-to-case basis), or has a solution not intended by the author, both called cooks, the problem is, well, called "cooked," or "unsound," and several lesser terms.

The late Sir Christopher Jeremy Morse's book "Chess Problems: Tasks and Records" is a great example of such "orthodox" chess problem records. Reading through the Google Books preview may help you get the gist of it. Another good look at this is the page "Composition records|Tasks and Records on the Russian chess site superproblem.ru, (Google Translate really helps out). On the top directmates section, there are two categories for the non-dualed, 226 moves, and dualed, 271 moves, solutions. Both can be seen in my answer here on CSE, which may provide further clarity. This shows that there does indeed exist those who seek dualed records.

Lastly, there are chess problem databases that can aid you in your searching. The two major ones I use are the German-based Die Schwlabe Chess Problem Database and the English-based Yet Another Chess Problem Database (YACPDB.)

Currently, the chess problem community recognized non-dualed selfmate has been 223 moves long since 2005. It is in the superproblem.ru selfmate page and given on page 452 in Morse's book. It is also on the aforementioned Die Schwalbe site.

[Title "Karlheinz Bachmann, 12674v Die Schwalbe 213 06/2005, Informal Tourney 2006, Second Prize, Selfmate In 223"]
[FEN "6K1/1nq4Q/2p5/p1P1B3/Bp2N1pp/5PPp/pb4pr/r1k3nb w - - 0 1"]

1. Qh6+ Kb1 2. Nd2+ Kc1 3. Nc4+ Kb1 4. Qg6+ Kc1 5. Qg5+ Kb1 6. Qf5+ Kc1 7. Qf4+ Kb1 8. Qe4+ Kc1 9. Qe3+ Kb1 10. Qd3+ Kc1 11. Qd2+ Kb1 12. Qd1+ Bc1 13. Na3+ bxa3 14. Qb3+ Bb2 15. Qd3+ Kc1 16. Qe3+ Kb1 17. Qe4+ Kc1 18. Bf4+ Qxf4 19. Qxf4+ Kb1 20. Qe4+ Kc1 21. Qe3+ Kb1 22. Qe1+ Bc1 23. Qe4+ Kb2 24. Qe5+ Kb1 25. Qf5+ Kb2 26. Qf6+ Kb1 27. Qg6+ Kb2 28. Qg7+ Kb1 29. Qxb7+ Bb2 30. Qh7+ Kc1 31. Qh6+ Kb1 32. Qg6+ Kc1 33. Qg5+ Kb1 34. Qf5+ Kc1 35. Qf4+ Kb1 36. Qe4+ Kc1 37. Qe3+ Kb1 38. Qxg1+ Bc1 39. fxg4 Kb2 40. Qd4+ Kb1 41. Qe4+ Kb2 42. Qe5+ Kb1 43. Qf5+ Kb2 44. Qf6+ Kb1 45. Qg6+ Kb2 46. Qg7+ Kb1 47. Qb7+ Bb2 48. Qh7+ Kc1 49. Qh6+ Kb1 50. Qg6+ Kc1 51. Qg5+ Kb1 52. Qf5+ Kc1 53. Qf4+ Kb1 54. Qe4+ Kc1 55. Qe3+ Kb1 56. Qg1+ Bc1 57. Kf8 Kb2 58. Qd4+ Kb1 59. Qe4+ Kb2 60. Qe5+ Kb1 61. Qf5+ Kb2 62. Qf6+ Kb1 63. Qg6+ Kb2 64. Qg7+ Kb1 65. Qb7+ Bb2 66. Qh7+ Kc1 67. Qh6+ Kb1 68. Qg6+ Kc1 69. Qg5+ Kb1 70. Qf5+ Kc1 71. Qf4+ Kb1 72. Qe4+ Kc1 73. Qe3+ Kb1 74. Qg1+ Bc1 75. Ke8 Kb2 76. Qd4+ Kb1 77. Qe4+ Kb2 78. Qe5+ Kb1 79. Qf5+ Kb2 80. Qf6+ Kb1 81. Qg6+ Kb2 82. Qg7+ Kb1 83. Qb7+ Bb2 84. Qh7+ Kc1 85. Qh6+ Kb1 86. Qg6+ Kc1 87. Qg5+ Kb1 88. Qf5+ Kc1 89. Qf4+ Kb1 90. Qe4+ Kc1 91. Qe3+ Kb1 92. Qg1+ Bc1 93. Kd8 Kb2 94. Qd4+ Kb1 95. Qe4+ Kb2 96. Qe5+ Kb1 97. Qf5+ Kb2 98. Qf6+ Kb1 99. Qg6+ Kb2 100. Qg7+ Kb1 101. Qb7+ Bb2 102. Qh7+ Kc1 103. Qh6+ Kb1 104. Qg6+ Kc1 105. Qg5+ Kb1 106. Qf5+ Kc1 107. Qf4+ Kb1 108. Qe4+ Kc1 109. Qe3+ Kb1 110. Qg1+ Bc1 111. Kc8 Kb2 112. Qd4+ Kb1 113. Qe4+ Kb2 114. Qe5+ Kb1 115. Qf5+ Kb2 116. Qf6+ Kb1 117. Qg6+ Kb2 118. Qg7+ Kb1 119. Qb7+ Bb2 120. Qh7+ Kc1 121. Qh6+ Kb1 122. Qg6+ Kc1 123. Qg5+ Kb1 124. Qf5+ Kc1 125. Qf4+ Kb1 126. Qe4+ Kc1 127. Qe3+ Kb1 128. Qg1+ Bc1 129. Kb8 Kb2 130. Qd4+ Kb1 131. Qe4+ Kb2 132. Qe5+ Kb1 133. Qf5+ Kb2 134. Qf6+ Kb1 135. Qg6+ Kb2 136. Qg7+ Kb1 137. Qb7+ Bb2 138. Qh7+ Kc1 139. Qh6+ Kb1 140. Qg6+ Kc1 141. Qg5+ Kb1 142. Qf5+ Kc1 143. Qf4+ Kb1 144. Qe4+ Kc1 145. Qe3+ Kb1 146. Qg1+ Bc1 147. Ka7 Kb2 148. Qd4+ Kb1 149. Qe4+ Kb2 150. Qe5+ Kb1 151. Qf5+ Kb2 152. Qf6+ Kb1 153. Qg6+ Kb2 154. Qg7+ Kb1 155. Qb7+ Bb2 156. Qh7+ Kc1 157. Qh6+ Kb1 158. Qg6+ Kc1 159. Qg5+ Kb1 160. Qf5+ Kc1 161. Qf4+ Kb1 162. Qe4+ Kc1 163. Qe3+ Kb1 164. Qg1+ Bc1 165. Ka6 Kb2 166. Qd4+ Kb1 167. Qe4+ Kb2 168. Qe5+ Kb1 169. Qf5+ Kb2 170. Qf6+ Kb1 171. Qg6+ Kb2 172. Qg7+ Kb1 173. Qb7+ Bb2 174. Qh7+ Kc1 175. Qh6+ Kb1 176. Qg6+ Kc1 177. Qg5+ Kb1 178. Qf5+ Kc1 179. Qf4+ Kb1 180. Qe4+ Kc1 181. Qe3+ Kb1 182. Qg1+ Bc1 183. Kxa5 Kb2 184. Qd4+ Kb1 185. Qb4+ Bb2 186. Qe4+ Kc1 187. Qe3+ Kb1 188. Qg1+ Bc1 189. gxh4 Kb2 190. Qd4+ Kb1 191. Qb4+ Bb2 192. Qe4+ Kc1 193. Qe3+ Kb1 194. Qg1+ Bc1 195. h5 Kb2 196. Qd4+ Kb1 197. Qb4+ Bb2 198. Qe4+ Kc1 199. Qe3+ Kb1 200. Qg1+ Bc1 201. h6 Kb2 202. Qd4+ Kb1 203. Qb4+ Bb2 204. Qe4+ Kc1 205. Qe3+ Kb1 206. Qg1+ Bc1 207. h7 Kb2 208. h8=Q+ Kb1 209. Qd8 Kb2 210. Qdd4+ Kb1 211. Bxc6 Kc2 212. Be4+ Kb3 213. Qd3+ Kb2 214. Qf2+ Bd2+ 215. Qdxd2+ Kb3 216. Qg3+ Kc4 217. Qdd3+ Kxc5 218. Qdd6+ Kc4 219. Bd5+ Kd4 220. Bxa2+ Ke4 221. Bd5+ Kd4 222. Qde5+ Kc5 223. Qxa3+ Rxa3#

However, to my knowledge, there is no known dualed selfmate record that is correct. While there have been many, many cooked attempts on the non-dualed record, notably by Yaakov Mintz, not many have attempted for the dualed record. It is also important to note that all cooked non-dualed problems cannot merely be rebranded as dualed selfmates, as they are still prone to further cooking.

I know of one attempt, but it is cooked in 60 moves. The details are in its Schwalbe entry.

enter image description here

Lastly, I understand that you might not want to publish your problem just anywhere. If you use Discord, you can join the Chess Problems & Studies server, in which I and several other chess problemists reside (I must say that I am a moderator, but I am not the owner of it). You can contact me there if you need further assistance. Alternatively, if you like email, mine is [email protected] if you don't mind.

Here is a long list of cooked long selfmates, ordered by the stipulated amount of moves, regardless of the intention.

201 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1097052 204 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1228507 211 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1097050 222 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1097051 225 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1343616 228 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1327831 232 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1320500 240 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1081942 242 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1081833 242 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1247157 243 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1315561 246 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1088077 249 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1101388 252 https://pdb,.dieschwalbe.de/P1293652 252 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1262840 253 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1101377 255 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1091383 258 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1088078 259 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1101387 285 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1081650 298 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1081941 340 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1293651 342 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1082238 359 https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/P1318163

  • A typically erudite answer from you on this topic! Can I ask, why consider the second puzzle you show 'cooked in 60 moves', as opposed to simply a valid s#60? (Such that the record for dualed selfmates would stand at 60...(?)) Jun 2, 2021 at 18:16
  • @MobeusZoo, Sorry for the late reply. To put it simply,, cooked chess problems are just not relabeled, like that unless you publish your own version of it, and the dualed record will surely be far more than 60 when made. Jun 7, 2021 at 1:31
  • A matter of terminology: The term "dual" is not limited to transposition duals: any cook on the second move or later is a dual. And "no known dualed selfmate record that is correct"? A dualled problem is ipso facto incorrect, no?
    – Rosie F
    Nov 7, 2021 at 11:57
  • @RosieF No. A cook is an alternative solution to the author's intentions. If the author includes duals in their solution/acknowledges them, the problem is stilll correct. Nov 7, 2021 at 16:01

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