In this puzzle, whoever’s turn it is to move (white or black) can checkmate in one.
Thank you to everyone who attempted this week’s puzzle. If you sent in your answers, you received at least 1 point. If you sent in at least one correct solution you received 2 points, and those who sent in two correct solutions received 3 points. This week, the following players received full marks for their solutions:
This means, in joint first place so far, with 15 points each we have:
Rob (12 points)
Natalie Weaver (11 points)
This Week’s Solution
This week’s solution for white is nice and simple. There is only one white piece that is able to give a check to the black king. Both knights are too far away. The rooks are stuck in the corners. The white squared bishop is trapped. The white pawns are not close enough. The only piece that is able to get anywhere near the king is the Queen.
Bringing the queen to a4 would give a check, but first we need to check whether black can block, capture or escape. The black squared bishop and the pawn at c4 prevent the king moving forwards. None of black’s pieces can access either the a4 square to capture or the b5 square to block. Therefore Qa4++ is our solution, attacking not only the king but his only remaining escape square on d7.
This solution is less simple. It is really tempting to place the black queen on f2 (white’s weak square), as it is backed up by the black squared bishop on b6. Don’t be hasty though! Here the knight is guarding the f2 square, so the queen will be captured. If you chose Qh4, again the knight could block the check (not a good move for white, but not a mate in one for black). Alternatively the white pawn at g2 could shift forwards and block.
Instead of focusing on the power of the queen, lets focus on the weaknesses of the black king here. The king has only one square next to him that seems available, and as we just saw, it is attacked by the black queen and the bishop, so here he has no escape squares. All we need to do is find a check that cannot be blocked or captured, and it is endgame.
The only black piece other than the queen that could deliver a check is the knight – either at d3, or f3. A knight check here is ideal, as they can never be blocked by a friendly piece. However, on first glance it looks like the white pawns are guarding both d3 and f3. Let’s look a little closer. If Nf3+, can the pawns capture? Well gxf3 is definitely okay, but the e pawn cannot move! He is pinned to the king by the black rook on e8. Once the knight has moved, that file has been opened up and he is perfectly placed opposite the king.
Nd3++ is our answer then. It cannot be blocked, the king cannot escape, and the e pawn is still pinned, preventing capture.
What To Do Next
Tomorrow you will be able find next week’s puzzle on our blog (the last puzzle in this block). The puzzler with the highest score at the end of the week will win a free chess lesson with the teacher of their choice and a solver badge and spot/two solver spots. Our runners up will receive a solver badge or a solver spot if they already have a badge. Consistently sending in your results is key to winning so make sure you subscribe below to get notified about the checkmate puzzles the moment they are published.
Diagram courtesy of www.chess.com