c/o Max Vitek, Staff Writer

c/o Max Vitek, Staff Writer

This week, we will be looking at something a little different: one of the oldest puzzles in chess. Written around 840 AD, the puzzle features in the Kitab ash-shatranj (Book of Chess) by Al-Adli ar Rumi, an Arab player known as one of the best chess players at the time. The book is believed to be one of the first chess books ever written. Unfortunately, most of it is lost, but some extracts have survived.

The following puzzle is one such extract. Here, white appears to be in a lot of trouble, however they have a sequence of moves to deliver mate to the black king first. (White to move)

Last Week’s Solution:
20.Nc7 Rd8 21.Nxe6 Rxe6 22. Bc4
Nc7 forking the rook on a8 and the bishop on e6 seems quite inconspicuous at first, since we don’t gain any material. However, after Caruana takes the bishop and Karjakin takes back with the rook, we now see the point of the exchange. Forcing the rook onto the e6 square allows Caruana’s bishop to pin the rook to the king. After a bit of maneuvering, Caruana can gain a crushing material advantage and later win the game.

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