Sunday, December 28, 2008

The twelve puzzles of Xmas

White to play and mate in three moves.


Anonymous said...

Aha. Three different mates with each of our minor pieces! Neat.

ejh said...

You would like to share them with our other readers?

Anonymous said...

Nah, not just yet. Later, maybe!

Anonymous said...

Oh alright, here you are, while I struggle with that mate in 4 you've posted. I'm sure the d3 pawn is the key in that one (something like a finish of Qe4+ Bxe4 dxe4#).

1. Bd1! and Black has the choice of mate on f6, e4, d4:

1. ... Ke5 2. Bc2 Kf6 3. Bc3#
1. ... Ke5 2. Bc2 Kd4 3. Nf3#
1. ... Kd3 2. Nf3 Ke4 3. Bc2#

I wondered whether this was the minimum setup for such a position - ie. would three White pawns do? Two? I can imagine the composer starting with WK d6 instead of Kc6 Pd6, for example, when it's a forced mate in 3 with only one line. But it seems one can't do without any of the four pawns (perhaps WPe6, BPe7 instead of WPd6? - but a BP spoils the composition IMHO, and takes away the solver's first choice: d7-d8=Q!)

ejh said...

Excellent, and my apologies for not confirming it before. I took the puzzle from Leonard Barden's Chess Puzzle Book (Faber and Faber, 1977) where it appears as puzzle number 100 on page 46. The puzzle is by Dr W. Massman, though no year is given: nor does the author give the second of the three lines you provide.