02/01/21 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)
Natalie Weaver (3)
Hari Chowdhury (5)

There was a maximum of 5 points to be won this week.

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 only move available for the black king was Kxh4, which can be met with a queen and helper checkmate as he kindly places himself against the edge of the board, eliminating three possible escape squares. Qg4++ wins the game.

There were two other moves available however – pawn moves. As the pawn has not moved yet, (we know this as it is still on it’s original square h7) it can either move up one or two squares.

If h6 is played, the pawn blocks a square in the king’s field that is currently guarded by the queen. This allows us to move the queen as the king cannot occupy a square already occupied by his own piece. Qf5+ looks tempting. It’s a safe check, but unfortunately the queen still doesn’t guard the knight. The only square that is only guarded by the queen (which we still need to control) is f6. We also need to attack the king (g5) and defend the knight (h4). These squares line up to form a helpful pattern. By placing the queen on the same diagonal we get our answer: Qe7++.

If the pawn moves up two squares to h5 it instead blocks a square in the king’s field, this time only guarded by the bishop. It is the only square that the bishop is attacking on it’s own, meaning the bishop is no longer useful. The white squared bishop cannot check the king or defend our knight however as they are both on black squares, but we can use black’s move to our advantage. If we move the knight away from his current square, he will instead be guarding it. We can check the king at the same time by playing Nf3++. The white queen and king are doing a good enough job of guarding the rest of the squares that black cannot escape even though we have blocked the line of our bishop.

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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