Questions tagged [retrograde-analysis]

Retrograde analysis is the method of deducing information by working backwards from a given position or outcome. This information can be about past positions of the same game, or may contain forward content, such as optimal play.

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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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15 votes
2 answers
4k views

Which methods can be used to prove that a position is illegal?

Given a board position, there are programs that try to find a series of legal moves that lead to it. Are there algorithms that can do the opposite - prove that the position is not reachable by a ...
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

How to solve proof games?

The following question deserves to be asked! "I see a lot of proof game problems, where I am given a diagram and have to find the unique way to reach that position in the specified number of ...
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3 votes
2 answers
122 views

Generate an entire chess game up to a position

I recently found a chess problem YouTube video with this position. [FEN "r4rq1/5p1p/p5kn/R1B1Q1b1/6p1/5p2/PNP2P2/1K6 w - - 0 1"] I want to turn this position into an entire game of chess. ...
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0 votes
1 answer
87 views

Reach this position in four moves [duplicate]

I recently came across this chess problem. The requirement is to reach this position (starting from a basic board set up board) in 4 moves. How do you do it? [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pp3ppp/2p1p3/8/4P3/8/...
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4 votes
1 answer
830 views

Mate in 1, then No Mate in 1, then Mate in 1

Anand and Bobby both are members of their school's chess club. And while cleaning up the games room at the end of the day, they saw a board with the following position: [FEN "rbR1B1Q1/k1n1nN1p/...
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20 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is the position in this trick question reachable?

I found this trick question on r/Anarchy chess: White to move, mate in two. [FEN "2R2RK/6PP/5P/3PN/P/1pQ3p/n1p1qbp/5brk w - - 0 1"] [StartFlipped "1"] The trick is that But is ...
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13 votes
1 answer
996 views

Harry Potter Chess Analysis

So, I've been reading Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. If you haven't read the book yet, or watched the movie, and you don't want any spoilers, stop reading this question. Continuing, there ...
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3 votes
1 answer
78 views

Coordinates probem

[FEN "8/8/8/8/8/4R3/2N2R2/3N1k1K w - - 0 1"] Given that this position could be reached in a legal game of chess, and that no piece was captured on the last move, are we seeing the board ...
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4 votes
2 answers
648 views

Where does the black king stand in this specific position?

[FEN "7r/pppppKpP/6P1/8/8/8/n7/8 w - - 0 1"] Assume that the following position was reached in a legal game of chess. In the last 5 moves, no pawn has moved and no pieces were captured. The ...
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6 votes
1 answer
466 views

Brainteaser puzzle

So... initial position is [FEN "7k/8/6KB/8/p7/8/Q7/8 w - - 0 1"] Now... Neither white's king nor queen has moved in the previous five moves. In addition, no pieces have been captured by ...
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10 votes
1 answer
623 views

Find color of the pieces

Given the following position, what colour are the pieces and what was the last move played? [FEN "B1KRN3/PP6/2QK1R2/8/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"]
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5 votes
1 answer
711 views

Do you know this proof game?

I'm not familiar with this proof game. [FEN "r2qk1nr/ppp1pp1p/2n1p2p/8/8/1P6/NPPPPPPP/R3K2R w KQkq - 0 1"] What square was the white queen captured and how?
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3 votes
1 answer
332 views

Retrograde analysis problem

Given that this position is legal, and could be reached in a legal game of chess, what were the two last half-movess, or one move for White and one for Black? [FEN "5K2/8/6Pk/8/5Q1R/8/8/8 w - - 0 ...
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23 votes
3 answers
6k views

Given a legal chess position, is there an algorithm that generates a series of moves that lead to it?

Given a FEN board position, is there an algorithm that can return a PGN move list that evaluates to it from the standard initial position?
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2 votes
1 answer
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Help needed with a problem

On an empty board, how can you place a White king, two White, rooks, and a Black king so that White can give mate in 4 ways from that position?
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2 votes
2 answers
143 views

How many moves needed to reach this position?

"Homebase" is where all the surviving pieces are apparently on their starting squares. Here is a very easy new example proof game: can you find the unique shortest game that leads to this ...
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9 votes
1 answer
909 views

From Mate-in-3 to Mate-in-1

Here is my new problem in 3 steps - the key designates here the piece that moves first in the solution. An other way to reach a mate in one I hope you'll enjoy... [Title "From Mate in 3 to ...
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7 votes
1 answer
442 views

Mate in One the Missing King

The post "A mysterious mate in one" made me think of one of my last problems which is also a Mate-in-One with no black King: [Title "White to move and mate in one"] [FEN &...
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3 votes
3 answers
167 views

Retrograde problem websites

I am looking for a good chess website about retrograde analysis problems, but after a few searches, I haven't found anything. Are there any websites that you can recommend?
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4 votes
1 answer
203 views

Where are the non captured Black pieces?

[FEN "8/8/8/8/8/PP4PP/2PPPP2/NNBQKBRR w - - 0 1"] Here is a problem from my blog once more. This is the position after White's 14th move. Seven Black pieces were captured during the game ...
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4 votes
1 answer
146 views

Which White piece moved only once?

Here is a chess problem that uses retrograde analysis. I’ve also posted it on the “France-Echecs” chess forum, which is in French of course, and on my blog. [FEN "3qk3/3pp3/8/8/8/3PP3/1PP2PP1/...
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1 vote
1 answer
93 views

What’s the difference between Partial Retrograde Analysis and Retro Strategy?

What’s the difference between Partial Retrograde Analysis (PRA) and Retro Strategy (RS) which are different ways of interpreting retrograde analysis chess problems?
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6 votes
2 answers
417 views

Challenge: Create the longest set of moves where the game is able to be perfectly reproduced from only the current board state and move number

The challenge is to create the longest list of half moves whereby an AI could re-create that list of moves perfectly, only given the ending board state and the number of moves. As example I will first ...
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4 votes
1 answer
215 views

Seeking a particular problem

I recall seeing a problem in Games magazine, probably in the early 1990s, that required the solver to deduce that a capture en passant was possible (not just because that's the only way to get a ...
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16 votes
9 answers
4k views

Could a chess engine do retro analysis?

If I took a legal chess position, to what extent could an engine work out the previous moves? [in some other board games such as Othello such game reconstruction is done easily with an engine.]
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9 votes
2 answers
632 views

Pal Benko's final problem

EDIT: Link added One of my chess heroes, Hungarian GM Pal Benko, is no longer with us. He overcame many difficulties in his early life to live one which was rich and full, and reached the age of 91 ...
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10 votes
2 answers
3k views

Identify a problem where a potentially winning move draws because of the 50 move rule

I'm trying to recall a particular chess problem. It's related to retrograde analysis. All what I can remember is this: it's an endgame where there is only one way to reach the position, and during ...
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2 votes
2 answers
302 views

Attempting to create a retraction problem

I am trying to create a retraction problem, but I am unsure if it is sound, and I do not know where to find resources on them. I have two questions. Is my problem correct? I am not giving a solution ...
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3 votes
2 answers
328 views

Where can I find these mentioned chess problems?

In his article “The Horse Concoction", Tim Krabbe mentions retrograde analysis problems that involve placing 10 rooks, knights, or bishops on the board for a mate in 1. The 10 rooks problem shown ...
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1 vote
2 answers
379 views

A question regarding "The Horse Concoction"

Long ago in 2000, Tim Krabbe presented, a now classic, problem by Harry Goldsteen in his article “The Horse Concoction” on his site. It has blossomed across the Internet, as some of us know. The task'...
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4 votes
1 answer
742 views

Searching for a "where is the black king" problem

Sometime ago, a friend showed me a position where he had the Black king removed. The goal was to find where is the Black king using some pretty weird reasoning. There were only a few pieces on the ...
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4 votes
2 answers
384 views

Can we say for sure that Black's king has not moved?

The following position appears as the 7th puzzle of Raymond Smullyan's Arabian Knights, a book about retrograde analysis. [FEN "3qk2r/p2pp1bp/bpp2n2/8/3N3Q/1PN1P1P1/P1PPP2P/3K1n2 w - - 0 50"]...
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14 votes
5 answers
2k views

What is the result? (Rules + puzzle)

[EDITED to include followup - EDIT 2 to include definition of position] This is in part a genuine question on the FIDE Laws of Chess, and in part a small puzzle to solve. Suppose that during a long ...
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15 votes
2 answers
3k views

Can white win in this almost 20 year old puzzle?

It's White to move-can they force a win?. The left bottom is a1 as usual. [FEN "4k2r/6p1/p4pKb/p2N3p/p7/p5Q1/p1n5/qrn5 w - - 9 9"] Note for people who saw an earlier version: the position ...
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10 votes
4 answers
909 views

Can you mate with each of your 16 pieces on its original square?

An opinion poll conducted by problem composer Roberto Osorio over 10 master-level chess players in the Argentine Chess Club produced 100% wrong answers! :-) When the right answer is posted here, I ...
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3 votes
1 answer
289 views

Are there any legal positions known to be impossible to come to in a normal game? [duplicate]

There are some fairly obvious ways to set up a chess board that cannot possibly happen: both kings simultaneously in check would be one. There are some positions that seem impossible in a normal ...
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10 votes
1 answer
363 views

Which chess position requires the most moves to reach?

For each legal chess position there exist a shortest sequence of moves from the starting position to that position. Which position requires the most moves to reach?
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15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Beautiful retrograde analysis problem by Alexsey A. Troitsky

I saw this beautiful, subtle & accessible problem a couple of days ago, and wanted to share it with you folks. (It's by the ground-breaking endgame theorist who e.g. invented the "Troitsky line" ...
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4 votes
3 answers
469 views

What was Black's last move?

It's White to move. What was Black's last move, and what could have happened before that? [FEN "8/8/8/8/8/3P2P1/3P2Pk/2KR3N w - - 0 1"]
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  • 79
5 votes
1 answer
377 views

Prove the pawn's color and the knight's position

I was recently given a retrograde analysis problem to solve. Even though I've managed to at least intuitively get close to an answer, I don't know how to put it in the form of an acceptable proof. For ...
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44 votes
2 answers
8k views

How is this position possible in a normal game of chess?

A friend of mine gave me this problem. It goes like this. In a normal game of chess, the white player checks the black's king with a rook and a bishop as in the following image. 8/8/8/8/8/7k/8/...
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7 votes
3 answers
2k views

"Knight rebus"-Decipher an encoded chess position

Here is a knight rebus. Each letter represents a different type of piece. Uppercase letters are one color and lowercase letters are the other. Determine the position. If possible, also determine the ...
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25 votes
6 answers
4k views

Are there any illegal positions that are difficult to spot?

I have a question and I'm sorry if it sounds very uninformed, I'm not a professional chess player so my interest is mere curiosity. I was wondering if there are examples of illegal positions that ...
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  • 359
23 votes
5 answers
2k views

Least number of moves to achieve a complete switchover of nonpawns in starting setup

[fen "RNBQKBNR/8/8/pppppppp/PPPPPPPP/8/8/rnbqkbnr w - - 0 1"] During a comp, my friend an I had a team kill and we decided to make this position(legally) before drawing. Then we continued to find ...
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  • 670
19 votes
2 answers
3k views

Prove that White is not allowed to castle here

A friend recently gave me the following weird chess problem to solve. I'm afraid that I'm struggling to see the key idea that would ultimately count as proof. From the position, intuitively speaking, ...
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8 votes
1 answer
651 views

How is this retrograde analysis position legal?

On his page on Harry Goldsteen's "Horse Concoction,", Tim Krabbé gives this position by "N. Höeg, 1935." [FEN "4k3/1p4pp/p1pQ1p2/1q1pp3/8/8/1K6/8 b - - 0 1"] [...
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  • 245
7 votes
2 answers
915 views

Retrograde analysis of a position in "The Flanders Panel"

Has anybody tried to verify the retrograde analysis of a game from the book "The Flanders Panel" by Pérez-Reverte? So far, I have found only a board reconstruction in a post on The ...
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  • 171
3 votes
3 answers
255 views

I can't figure out how to find tactics

Why is it hard for me to find tactics? For example, I want to take their queen, but I don't know how can I get to specific back steps, unless I play normally (it would take time).
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  • 379
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

A conditional retrograde analysis problem

Here is the problem-find a chess game that begins with 1. e4 and ends on the fifth move with knight takes rook mate, which determines who gives the mate. This is a famous puzzle. For additional ...
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