Christmas Puzzle

Written by admin

My goal is to make chess the most widely played game in this planet. Although this may be overly ambitious, this is the right estimate looking at the amount of effort and dedication put in this website. This blog is just a by-product from the youthful exuberance of a 16 year old. I hope you will support me in this journey which I have undertaken.

May 10, 2020

As the article suggests, today we will be deviating from the norm and today’s article covers an interesting chess puzzle. These puzzles were created by none other than the great composer, Pal Benko who sent two chess puzzles to chessbase in 2016.

Pal Benko’s message to chessbase is as follows: “They are my original problems,” he wrote, “and I sent them nowhere else, just to you. I made the first two recently for a solving contest with the condition that there can be no possible computer solution. But after that I found that even for such retros there are solving programs. I am still in the stone age – I don’t have any programs for problems or endgames. So what I send you someone can check for soundnes. Anyway, these computers are depressing for creative activity.”

I know there are many great puzzles made by many composers. But now you might be wondering, why have I started this puzzle series with Pal Benko’s puzzles only. This is a very good question and I have two reasons:-

  1. This puzzle was intended to fill the Christmas vibe and both of his puzzles resemble to favorite Christmas object. The first being a Christmas tree and the second being a candle. Before you attack me, I know it is May right now but to alleviate the pain and hassles of the corona virus pandemic going on, this seemed like a promising choice
  2. I am very sad to announce that Pal Benko expired on 26 August 2019. These puzzles are part of the last set of puzzles Pal Benko has composed and selecting this would be tantamount to paying respect to him. I’m going to publish an obituary soon which will include his biography and selected games. I thought these two puzzles best represent his jovial, friendly behaviour.

Now coming to the puzzles, it is White to mate in two. Remember to include any defense black can do with his pieces. Of course, I will be giving the solutions, but I recommend you do it yourself first. The joy and pleasure you get from solving a puzzle is just unprecedented. You will feel like you have made a 300 IQ move and what else can I say?

For the first puzzle, I will be providing you a picture through which you can analyze. If you aren’t comfortable with that, I will be pasting a lichess analysis board link here. But no cheating, don’t turn your engine on.

I hope you can see the resemblance of this position to a Christmas tree. This puzzle is just a bit hard and I think you should find it within 10 minutes. You should understand the position of the pieces and the key squares you need to control. For those of you who want the lichess analysis board link, you can find it here.

SPOILER: If you found queen to c3 sacrificing your queen then congratulate yourself. That was an impressive feat! And for those who couldn’t find it, there is always a next time. Maybe reading more blog articles would help.

And now for the next puzzle which is shaped like a candle. You will have to find a mate in 5 by white. This will be hard for people who find it difficult to find a mating pattern. But give it a try! I found it difficult and had to spend 30 minutes over it. Analyze the lines properly. For those of you who want the lichess analysis board link, you can find it here.

Have you found Bd5. No, there is no mistake! I repeat, have you found Bd5. Yes! I’m talking about Bd5 and not Kf5. Firstly, I apologize for setting this devilish trap. Yes! I’m looking at you cheaters there. For those who are genuinely confused and thinking whether I am a madman, lasse-moi expliquer ( which translate to let me explain from french).

The above position is a mate in 5 and is the right solution. Let’s go back to Pal Benko’s message to chessbase. The last line states that “Anyway, these computers are depressing for creative activity”. Pal benko specifically created such a puzzle that is bizzare and complex to the engines. For the cheaters who simply used engines, you shall not pass. I am sure that the engines must have given you Kf5 as the solution which will take 10 moves to mate. This is suprising but true. For those who did it correctly, you can plug this position into the engines and it will not find this solution unless you let it deeply analyze the position for 1 hour or so.

The above lines is what you might have received from your engines. This was the reason why I was giving lichess analysis board links which I never do. Hope this was a good prank for me to pull on you guys. Quite a devilish prank.

Once again, let’s respect the man who left our entire chess community. A great composer and chess player, Pal Benko will forever live in our hearts. Make sure you read my obituary which will be the next article.

Source of this puzzle: https://en.chessbase.com/post/christmas-puzzles-with-pal-benko

Stay safe and enjoy chess,

Yash Mehta

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