c/o Max Vitek

c/o Max Vitek

Whether you’ve seen this puzzle or not, it is always enjoyable to see an unorthodox solution to a problem. In this puzzle, composed by Paul Morphy when he was only 10 years old, white has mate in two.

At first glance, this might seem impossible, which goes to show the brilliance of this simple little puzzle. There are only so many moves available, and you only need to find a sequence of two moves, yet it can prove to be surprisingly difficult and requires a more-than-superficial understanding of the game, which makes the fact that Morphy created this at 10 all the more impressive! Another interesting fact: some weaker computer engines aren’t capable of solving this problem! Somehow, Morphy managed to best (some) engines long before they were even conceived.

Last Time:

  1. Bg8+ Kh8 52. Bf7+ Kh7 53. Rh8+ Kxh8 54. Qe8 Kh7 55. Qg8#

The small brilliancy that Karpov introduces is with Bf7. This bishop move breaks the line of sight between the black bishop on g6 and the e8 square, allowing the white queen to safely access that square down the line. In the game, Najdorf resigned after Rh8+, giving Karpov the victory.

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