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Pandolfini's Puzzler #3 - The Useless Knight

  • NM brucepandolfini
  • | Aug 16, 2013
  • | 3379 views
  • | 5 comments

Here we go again ChessKids! It's back to planet Zugzwang with ProfessorPando. Did you solve his crazy first and second puzzles? Now try this one:

“I know you love the impossible,” Professor Pandolfini said to Zephyr. Let’s see what you can do with this one.” 
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“Here are the facts. You have White and it’s your turn. Your own king blocks the pawn. If the pawn could move, you would make a new queen. You would then win easily.” 
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Question: “Can your knight eventually drive away the black king, so that your king could escape the h8 corner?”
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Zephyr thought it over. Chuckling a bit, she wound up saying: “Yes, and no.” 
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What did Zephyr mean and why?
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Answers Below - Try to solve ProfessorPando's Puzzle first!
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Answer #3
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Zephyr saw that, if it were her turn, she couldn’t force a win.
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But if it were Black’s turn, White would win very quickly. 
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Zephyr recognized that, in the starting position, the knight is the only thing that White can legally move. Moreover, a knight can’t gain (or lose) a move by itself. There simply is no way for a knight to move and keep the same setup. That is, every time a knight moves, it changes the squares it attacks. 
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Take note
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Any line piece (bishop, rook, or queen) can gain a tempo. It can do that by moving along the line it already occupies and needs to control. 
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