Christmas 2022 PRIZE Puzzles – Closing Date Thursday 5th Jan

*** Please note that I have issued a clarification for Puzzle 3 – White cannot play 1.hxg6 e.p.  That would have made the puzzle too easy! ***

For those that like a challenge and/or some prize money, here are 7 more puzzles for the Christmas period.  They start off tricky and by the end are positively fiendish!  

I am offering a prize of £15 for the best set of solutions sent in by midnight Thursday 5th January.  That gives you 2 days a puzzle! The competition is open to anyone who has played at any time in the Dorset League, B&DCL, Bacchus League or a Wessex 4NCL team (i.e. local players, past or present). I will judge the submissions by:

  • Number of puzzles solved
  • Quality of analysis
  • Or if I judge more than one submission to be equally good, I will pull the name out of a hat from the best entries.

Maybe someone will solve them all or maybe not!  Even getting one or two correct answers may win you the prize, so it will be worth sending in your answers even if you don’t crack them all!

There are no hidden catches in these puzzles:

  • The board is always round the normal way (i.e. White is playing up the screen)
  • The normal laws of chess apply throughout, apart from in puzzle 7 where the exceptions to the rules are clearly stated.

Please send entries to my email address that is on the weekly newsletter or message me via this contact form.

Good luck!

Peter Anderson

P.S. Many thanks to Martin Simons and Tony Pritchard for the puzzles they contributed to this set
P.P.S. Perseverance is probably a much more important quality than chess skill in solving these puzzles!

Prize Puzzle 1

White to play and win.  Strictly there is more than one solution to this – any is fine!

Prize Puzzle 2

Below is the position in a game of chess after White’s 7th move (from the normal starting position, not Fischer Random).  However, as you can see, whilst the colours of the pieces are identified, which piece is which is not.

How did the game go?

Prize Puzzle 3

White to play and win.  At first sight the position is completely blocked and therefore drawn – can you find the way to unlock it?  (Please note Black has not just played g5 and so White cannot play hxg6 in this position).

Prize Puzzle 4

It is Black to play in this position.  What were the previous 2 moves of each player?

Prize Puzzle 5

Helpmate in 3.   There are two solutions – please find both.

Just a reminder that in helpmates Black moves first and is trying to help White to checkmate Black.   So in this puzzle Black plays 3 moves and White plays 3 moves, alternating as usual, with Black going first and White giving mate on his third move.

With only six pieces on the board, how hard can this be ?!

Prize Puzzle 6

From the position after White has played 1.e4, a game is played in which Black delivers checkmate on his/her 5th move with NxR (knight captures rook).   How does it go?  (Strictly there are two solutions with slightly different move orders).

Prize Puzzle 7

There are two exceptions to the normal rules of chess here:

  • White does not have a king
  • The bishop is immobilised but it can still give check. The bishop cannot move from a1 but the king cannot go on the a1-h8 diagonal unless it can capture the bishop.

White to play and mate in 13. 

I am not looking for every single variation but enough to demonstrate that you can overcome Black’s key defensive choices.

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