26/12/20 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 (4)
Rob (4)
Natalie Weaver (4)
Earl (3)
Hari Chowdhury (5)

There was a maximum of 5 points to be won this week. Don’t forget to look for captures!

This Week’s Solution

This week there were three options for black on the first move, so there were a total of 5 points to be won. The two that were easiest to find were Kh8, and Kf8, but the third was a capture – something many players overlooked.

After Kh8, the knight is controlling two of the squares around the king, but cannot stop the king moving back to g7. Controlling this square is hardest. There seems to be multiple ways of checking the h8 square, but are there any ways to control g7 as well? By moving our g pawn forward, we occupy and control the square. Simply placing a piece there is not enough, but by moving forward we increase the range of the queen who guards it, and can place the king in check with the same move. g7++ is the solution.

g7+ does not work for the Kf8 move however. These moves look similar, but here the knight does not control the f7 square below the king. Once we have moved the g pawn forward, it no longer guards the square, so we must find a new solution. Amazingly our queen has no checks, but our black squared bishop has two. It is important to note that again we must also control g7. Bh6++ controls both squares.

There is one last option for black: Kxf6. With this move he escapes towards the centre of the board. It looks like the king should have many escape squares from here, but actually there are only two. g7, e5, and the king’s current square f6 form a diagonal, which could be controlled by the queen or the bishop. Carefully choosing which piece to use is imperative. The queen and bishop both guard the g5 square, but only one piece prevents Kxg6 – the queen. The checkmate must be delivered by the bishop. Bc3++ finishes the game.

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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