Questions tagged [problems]

Chess problems consist of a board position and a task. Most ask for a line of play that mates black in a set amount of moves, or a combination that results in a winning position. Many other types exist, including, but not limited to, construction tasks for various positions and proof games that have numerous goals, selfmates, helpmates, and retrograde analysis. Tournaments and championships exist for composing of original problems and for speed-solving.

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4 answers
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Least amount of "points" to mate a berserk king

"Berserk king" is my own invention ;). It means that you play according to the normal chess rules, until a king is mated. At that point the mated king is allowed to do TWO moves, in a last ...
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9 votes
1 answer
955 views

A helpmate in 15 moves

I recently came across this ChessBase India article on "engine defying problems." Here's a problem from the helpmate section. We need to reach the helpmate in 15 moves. I thought for a long ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
64 views

The best strategy to win Squid Games [closed]

Squid Games. Four players go in turn (while observing each other), move each their own piece (_ wazir) onto one square vertically or horizontally on the 5x5 board (watch the image below). If one ...
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15 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why are capturing key moves "frowned upon"?

Wikipedia's article on Babson tasks says: However, Yarosh's problem has a small flaw: the key is a capture, something which is generally frowned upon in problems. (The "key" of a chess ...
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2 votes
2 answers
192 views

Shortest game to "elegant" mate

Define an "elegant" checkmate as one in which the king is not on the edge of the board the king and each of the 8 squares surrounding it are each attacked by exactly one, different opponent ...
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-6 votes
2 answers
127 views

Is it possible for black to win this?

[FEN "5bbk/5p1p/3b1P1P/6PK/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"] How does Black get out and is it possible for Black to win? And if so, what is the least amount of moves it takes Black to win? It is Black to ...
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  • 1,021
2 votes
2 answers
152 views

Puzzle: Forced game end in at most two halfmoves

Compose a position where It's White to move White can deliver checkmate or stalemate in 1 move Or if they make a different move, then Black can deliver checkmate or stalemate in one 1 move I needed ...
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3 votes
2 answers
189 views

Stuck on a mate in 3

I've been stuck on this for the longest time. At this point I would just like confirmation it is possible. [Title "White mates in 3"] [FEN "8/8/8/2N5/8/2k1N3/Q3r2q/K7 w - - 0 1"]
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2 votes
2 answers
191 views

Fastest algorithm to give mate with K+R vs K on infinite large board as function of starting position

Consider a board with only two edges that are perpendicular. Something like: .------------------------------------------------------ | ^ | ...
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5 votes
2 answers
126 views

Which piece was captured last - knowing that this position was reached in the minimum number of moves possible?

This is a puzzle that I made a while ago, but never really published anywhere before (although I posted it on an obscure Dutch telegram channel). The question is simple: what was the piece that was ...
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5 votes
4 answers
229 views

Explanation of Hard Puzzle #34

Wikipedia defines a chess tactic as: In chess, a tactic refers to a sequence of moves that limits the opponent's options and may result in tangible gain. I'm having a hard time understanding a ...
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18 votes
4 answers
3k views

How do you solve vague mate in two problems?

I am a big fan of solving mate in N problems and believe they help tremendously with i.e. visualization. The only issue I seem to face in certain problems are when they are very vague. For example ...
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8 votes
1 answer
191 views

Bishops standing on their toes

Another silly idea: [FEN "1B1B1BkB/B1B1B1B1/1B1B1B1B/B1B1B1B1/1B1B1B1B/B1B1B1B1/KB1B1B1B/BNB1B1B1 w - - 0 0"] How many bishops must be removed such that the position is won? How long does ...
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1 vote
1 answer
215 views

Chess against Chuck Norris (starting position with lots of queens)

Just plain silly. Replace all pieces of Black (except the king — you are not Chuck Norris, you must have one) with queens. The starting position is then a Mate in 3 (#3). Challenge: Replace only a few ...
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1 vote
0 answers
106 views

The king fell off the board

Give a position (White to move) with the bK missing. If it is inserted on any legal square, it is mated in one move by the wQ, with a different mate for each square. (Point of side conditions: If you ...
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0 votes
1 answer
55 views

Duplex forced selfstalemate

Ludwig Zagler, Chess Ultimates 12/1974 [FEN "3nBb2/3PRP2/2ppPPpp/2nk2pb/2p2QN1/1r1rBKP1/7q/8 w - - 0 0"] self=1, 7 solutions This is the record (7 variants) for forced single side ...
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13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Play a chess game so that at the end you can start a game of checkers

Yes, it is silly. So you begin at the normal starting position and help-play until Black is mated (White shall have the last move since Black begins in checkers) and the mating position looks like the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the highest possible number of pawn captures in a game?

What is the highest number of pawn captures possible in a game?
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4 votes
1 answer
203 views

Analyse a blunder

Black (me) to move. I took the knight at f3 with my knight at e1. However, Lichess analysis shows that this move is a blunder, and suggests to take the bishop at g2 instead. IMO, I am winning no ...
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  • 143
0 votes
0 answers
102 views

Chess problem where white mates on move 5 by underpromoting to a knight

The problem White must start with 1. e4. On move 5, white must underpromote to a knight for checkmate. IM Miodrag Perunovic told me recently that he sent this problem to Garry Kasparov for his ...
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  • 4,822
2 votes
5 answers
420 views

A special "dead" position

Construct a position which forcibly leads to White or Black being stalemated (and both events are actually possible), meaning that the position is already dead. Further (or it would be too easy) all ...
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2 votes
1 answer
463 views

What is the largest n such that discrete forced mate in one through mate in "n" through exist?

This is admittedly a bit of an obscure question, so I apologize for the awkward wording of the question. To begin, assume you are playing as White, and that a "forcing move" is any move that ...
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  • 435
0 votes
1 answer
81 views

When material is counterproductive (construction task)

Give a position where : White has all 16 pieces. Black has a king and a single pawn, White, to move, loses. Bonus kudos if White can't stop a #1. Remove any single piece (except the kings, of course),...
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31 votes
1 answer
6k views

Can all 64 squares be attacked or defended by the eight pieces?

Can you place the eight (non-pawn) pieces of one color on an otherwise empty chess board, such that every square (including the squares that pieces are on), is attacked / defended? This is a problem ...
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  • 411
3 votes
1 answer
97 views

Two seriesmover stalemate constructions

Easy one: Starting position, but Black never moves. White makes n moves (no checking!) until Black is stalemated. Minimize n. Hint: You don't need to capture all Black pieces, pawns can also be ...
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4 votes
1 answer
163 views

What should Black do?

I am reading “Ten Ways To Succeed In The Opening“ by Tim Onions and David Regis. On page 48, there is a problem I am trying to solve. However, I can’t figure out what Black should do next.
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  • 185
3 votes
0 answers
47 views

Add as many potential moves as possible by move

8/8/7K/p7/R3b2k/6rP/4p3/4B1N1 w - - 0 1 This is an age old record by Shinkman: Black is stalemated if having the move, but the White move 1.Bb4 grants 32 moves. (Don't bother trying to top that...) ...
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3 votes
1 answer
250 views

What is the shortest sequence of moves to move all of White's pieces up to at least the third rank?

What is the shortest sequence of moves to move all of White's pieces to the third rank or beyond? Assume in this situation that Black is cooperating in trying to achieve this goal, and as such is ...
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  • 435
7 votes
2 answers
201 views

What checkmating move takes the most moves to set up?

An extension of this question. What checkmating move requires the greatest number of moves to be played in a game? A move is distinguished by: what colour is moving [unlike the previous question] ...
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35 votes
12 answers
5k views

What move requires the greatest number of moves before it could be played in a game?

The move e2e4 could be played on move 1. (One half-move) The move e7xd6 could be played no earlier than by black on move 3 (6 half-moves). What move(s) has the latest "earliest possible move it ...
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4 votes
2 answers
238 views

What is the longest possible forced checkmate sequence?

As title says. My question is about legal positions (positions which could be reached in actual games), but if there is a known solution with an illegal position to start the sequence, I'd be ...
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3 votes
2 answers
272 views

What is the chess position with biggest X, where no matter what legal move black/white does, a specific player will be mated at a max X moves later?

There are positions where no matter what legal move black or white does during this sequence of moves, an specific player, will always be mated after X moves (sometimes earlier, but after X moves its ...
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2 votes
1 answer
339 views

Smallest number of moves needed to mate a lone Black king on e8 with all White pieces [duplicate]

Imagine that all White pieces are in their initial position and Black only has their king on e8. What is the smallest number of moves needed for White to give checkmate?
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3 votes
1 answer
154 views

The quickest selfmate in 2

Duh. Clearly, the one shown there with Qxh5+ Rxh5# can be easily turned into a s#2, by e.g. B-e2-f3, Qe2 from White and c6, Q-a5xd2-d1 from Black. 9.0 moves if I added correctly. Someone care to beat ...
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0 votes
1 answer
128 views

The fastest dualed mates in n

Hauke Reddmann asked a cool question about the quickest dual-free mates in n's from the starting position. But this is a rather limited scope. I wish to attack this idea from a different angle. What ...
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6 votes
7 answers
3k views

Can a stalemate be forced even if it is the opponent's turn to move first?

Here are examples in which the side that desires a stalemate can force a stalemate, provided it is their turn to move. Are there positions where the side which desires a stalemate does not presently ...
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  • 289
1 vote
1 answer
68 views

How many unoriginal pawn moves can be made in a single game?

Consider an "unoriginal pawn move" to be a pawn move whose notation matches a move already played in the game. For instance, after 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd5 3.e5, there is one unoriginal pawn move, ...
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can there be a checkmate with maximum points of material (103) while covering 64 squares?

Is it possible to compose a game where these three conditions are simultaneously satisfied? No White piece is gone but every Black piece except the king is. All the white pawns are promoted to a ...
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  • 87
12 votes
1 answer
513 views

If repetition loses, who wins KvK?

Suppose we're playing a version of chess where you lose if you repeat an earlier position (position = arrangement of pieces + who's move it is). We're down to the wire, and we've just arrived at the ...
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  • 9,378
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

How many times can the same pawn move be made in a game?

How many times in a game can "the same pawn move" be made? By "the same pawn move", I mean, a move made by a pawn that would be notated the same way. For instance, after 1.e4 e5 2....
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18 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can White avoid a loss in this endgame study by Lazar?

This is the position with White to move. This was created by Lazar in 1935 according to Susan Polgar in a Chess Daily News article from 5/27/2008. [FEN "8/3P4/3b4/8/8/1p2k2p/1Pp4P/2K5 w - - 0 1&...
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  • 459
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Can black convert a +5.6 game into a draw (assuming both players play optimally)?

This shows a +5.6 winning for white at depth 33 (Stockfish 13+). White does have a bit of material advantage (knight) and black has more pawn islands. Can black convert this into a draw (assuming both ...
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4 votes
1 answer
215 views

What is the shortest 1:16 mutual stalemate with the White king at home?

In this ancient r/chess thread, several users explored the shortest possible 1:16 mutual stalemate. StoofBuzze provided a record in 42.5 moves. However, what is the shortest such game in which the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
229 views

Another mobility puzzle

This is the "opposite" of A mobility puzzle - I held it back because it could have interfered with Schwalbe 2021 construction challenge. Thus: Put a maximal number m of pieces on the board ...
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5 votes
2 answers
602 views

In Crazyhouse, what is the minimum number of moves to achieve maximum material difference?

If one side captures everything and promotes all pawns (including the opponent's re-placed pawns) to a queen, it is possible to achieve 206 points of material difference 18 queens, 4 rooks/knights/4 ...
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  • 179
0 votes
1 answer
220 views

I have discovered a selfmate requiring 1,351 moves to enforce. How does this move-count stack up against the 'record holder'?

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}.
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3 votes
1 answer
216 views

Longest forced win after 3 moves

It is possible to reach (exactly) #8 after just 3 moves: [Title "#8 after 3 moves"] [FEN ""] 1. e3 f6 2. Qf3 Kf7 3. Nh3 Qe8! 4. Ng5+ Kg6 5. Bd3+ Kxg5 6. Qf4+ Kh5 7. g4+ Kh4 8. Qg3+...
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  • 2,264
-2 votes
1 answer
93 views

Illustrative puzzles for chess themes [closed]

This is a big-list question regarding chess themes (mostly tactical). There are some puzzles that illustrate important aspects of a tactic (esp. useful in a chess coaching setting). For example, the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
107 views

Turton theme in OTB play

I regularly surprise opponents - if unprepared - with an obscure side variant of the Sicilian which most often ends up in a pericritic Turton reversal, like e.g. so: [FEN ""] 1.e4 c5 2....
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-1 votes
1 answer
183 views

Can there be a position in which a player blocks check with checkmate?

Let's say that the first player gives a check to the second. player. Then the second player blocks and gives a checkmate. Is it possible?
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