19/12/20 Puzzle: Solution

In this puzzle, white checkmates in one and a half moves.


Thank you to everyone who sent in their answers. You received at least 1 point. If you correctly guessed a solution, you received 3 points. You will have received a further point for each additional correct solution.  This week, the following players received 3 or more points for their solutions:

Aathiran Oyalood (5)
Rob (4)
Natalie Weaver (5)
Earl (4)

There was a maximum of 5 points to be won this week. Don’t forget to try moving all the pieces and not just the king!

This Week’s Solution

The first thing to consider is all the options for black in this position. The pawns look stuck, but there is a capture to consider here. After bxa2, the solution for white is quite simple. Although the black king and his pawns have travelled all the way to the other side of the board, by capturing he has walked into a back rank checkmate – Qd1++ and the King is trapped in by his own pawns.

If the pawn doesn’t capture, the king himself has two options – Ka1 or Kc2. If Ka1, those of you who have studied your tactics will be desperate to move the knight revealing a discovered check on the king from the queen. There are three spaces to move the knight to, but only one offers checkmate! The queen will attack the king from above, but if we are not careful with the knight, the king will just move back to b1. Our knight move must cover b1 then. Nc3++ does the trick, revealing check, and preventing escape on b1.

If Kc2 instead, we have a few more moves and squares to consider. From c2, the king could move back to b1 or move towards the centre with Kd3. The white king prevents Kd1 or Kd2 and the white knight prevents movement to c1 or c3, but if we check with the knight, we will lose control of both of those squares.

Luckily we don’t have to move the knight at all. The king’s escape squares and present square (c2) all line up to form a diagonal – something covered by our other piece, the queen. We can easily shift her from the edge of the board, where she controls nothing important, and place her on the same diagonal. Qe4++ finishes black off here from a safe distance.

What To Do Next

Tomorrow you will be able find next week’s puzzle on our blog. The puzzler with the highest score at the end of the block 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

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