Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday puzzle

White to play and mate in two

Here's a puzzle for you this weekend: I came across it some weeks ago when somebody, not a regular player, mentioned on Facebook that they'd got this puzzle they couldn't solve.

If I can solve it, which I did, then so can you. Answers in the comments box, and no computers please. But once you've solved it, if you have a database that'll tell us the composer and origin, do tell us.

[Thanks to Chris Fyfe]

Ian Kingston said...

According to http://www.yacpdb.org/ this is Narraway, James Ephraim, St. John Globe, 1888, 18th Place. I'd not heard of him before, but there is a brief biography at http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=126011.

PJM said...

Very cute.

Jack Rudd said...

I solved this by the curious process of "de-cooking". By this I mean that I noticed that 1...Nb6 had two mates in response in the original position: 2.Na7# and 2.Ne7#. Therefore, I decided it would be a good idea to search for moves that unguarded d5 or b5, so that only one of these moves would be the answer to 1...Na7. This, combined with the need to find an answer to 1...Qd5, gave:

1.Qe2! Zugzwang
1...Qd5 2.Qb5#
1...Qe4+ 2.Qe4#
1...Qf3 2.Qxf3#
1...Qg2 2.Qxg2#
1...c4 2.Qxc4#
1...Nb6 2.Ne7#
1...other N moves 2.Qe6#

Sadly, 1...Qxg1 and 1...Qxh2 have dual solutions: 2.Qe4# and 2.Qf3# both work. Still, they're both minor moves, so the flaw isn't too bad.

ejh said...

Well done to Jack, and thanks very much to Ian!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what relevance the c3 pawn has?

ejh said...

Funny, I seem to remember asking myself that when I first saw the puzzle and working out what I thought was the reason. And now it's gone...

Anonymous said...

Ah, I have it now. 1. ... Kd5 2. Ne7#, with that pawn covering d4.