Everyone should have a (check-) mate
chess problems
by Karl Scherer 1997 / published here 2001
Part a)
"Look at this curious chess position," said Holmes, "Each of White's sixteen pieces has a move which checkmates Black's king, the only black piece on the board!"
"Very interesting indeed," replied Watson, "and amongst all solutions to this problem it is one with the least number of promoted pieces."

Can you find such a position? (Of course the position must be legal.)

Part b)
"I wonder," Holmes continued after a while, "Whether there is a similar legal position with the additional property that each of White's sixteen pieces has exactly one single move which checkmates."
"Well, in this case one might need more than one black piece on the board and/or more promoted white pieces." mused Watson.
Can you find such a chess position? How many promoted pieces do you need? How many black pieces do you need?

Part c)
In part b), try to use as many promoted pieces as possible.

Part d)
(by Michael Dufour)
Use as many white pieces as you like and one black king.
How many white pieces can you put onto the board so that each white piece checkmates with exactly one move?

Part e)
(by Alfred Pfeiffer)
Use as many white and black pieces as you like.
How many white pieces can you put onto the board so that each white piece checkmates with exactly one move?




Solution to part a)
Only two promoted pieces are necessary. Several similar solutions are possible.
Check that the position is indeed legal.

Solution to part b)


Solution by Michael Dufour

There are several closely related solutions. Each one uses three promoted pieces.

Solution to part c)

 


There are several closely related solutions with all eight pawns having been promoted.
The first diagram shows that one can solve the problem without promoted queens.
The third diagram (by Alfred Pfeiffer) shows that eight promoted queens are possible.

Solution to part d)

Alfred Pfeiffer's solution has 28 white pieces.
Note that several of the bishops can be replaced by queens, the knight on h4 can be replaced by a bishop,
and the pawn on c4 can be replaced by a knight on d2.
Can you find a solution with more than 28 white pieces?

Solution to part e)

Solution with 30 white (and 4 black) pieces by Alfred Pfeiffer, Rainer Staudte and Ulrich Wünsch.
The solution is not unique, e.g., several bishops and one of the rooks can be replaced by a queen.
Can you find a solution with more than 30 white pieces?


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