16/01/21 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 (4)

There was a maximum of 9 points to be won this week.

Our Winners:

In first place with 23 points we have:

Aathiran Oyalood (23 points)

Congratulations! To book your free chess lessons, please apply through the website.

This block’s runners-up:

Natalie Weaver (20 points)

To request your solver badge/spots please get in touch with your address.

This Week’s Solution

This week there were many options for black on the first move but as some moves led to similar solutions I permitted a total of 9 points to be won. It is surprising how many variations there are in this solution given that black’s king cannot move at all, and he only has two pieces left to try and save the day.

The bishop provides the most variations in the puzzle. At first glance you might think that with just two diagonals, the bishop would only have two different options. Indeed, if you move the bishop along the a2-g8 diagonal, the solution is entirely the same. The moment the bishop moves away, the white queen is free to occupy a6 with checkmate.

The a6-f1 diagonal provides three different options however. The kindest move from black would be Ba6, allowing Qxa6++ due to the focussed attack on a6. Bd3, or anywhere further away removes the bishop’s guard on the b3 square, allowing Nb3++. Bb5 also opens up the b3 square but the bishop blocks the line of the queen to a4, therefore creating a new escape square if the knight moves away. Bb5 does block off a potential escape square on b5 however, so allows the queen to move away. Qc7++ finishes off the king.

The last options for black are the knight moves. The black knight is most useful in this position in guarding the b7 square. If the knight moves to b7, or almost any other square (e4, f5, f7, e8, c8) it either allows Nb7++ or Nxb7++. The most challenging move the knight can attempt is Nb5, blocking the queen’s attack on a4, and again making it an escape square for the black king. Unfortunately this move cuts off his own bishop too, making a6 once again a safe haven for the white queen. Qa6++ again decides the match.

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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