Are You An Undiscovered Chess Genius?

Jul 7, 2011, 1:49 PM |

At its heart, chess is a mathematical game and aptitude for mathematics and chess often go hand in hand. But genius also needs a spark of creativity to make solving problems easy.  

If you can whiz through the tricky puzzles below, you're probably a chess genius in the making!


1. Don't Wake The Queen!

From the position in the diagram below the task is to move the black knight around the board, visiting all the squares not occupied or attacked by the white queen, in the order stated below. You can’t put the knight on an attacked square at any time.

From the starting square b1 you must manoeuvre to all the required squares on the first rank in order i.e. c1, e1, f1 and h1.  Then find your way back to a2 and go along the second row...and so on until you reach the final square g8. Squares visited while en route are not ‘crossed off’, but have to be visited again at the right time.

If you can do this in less than 10 minutes you could well be a chess genius! 

2. Test Your Creative and Lateral Thinking

A. Which letter can be removed from the grid below, but still leave all 26 letters of the alphabet?

B. Four ladybirds lie on a flat tabletop. The distances between them are illustrated below, but what is the distance between ladybirds A and C?

C. What word is missing from this sequence?


Is the missing word:

3. Test Your Blindfold Vision

Try to play through the following game in your head, without using a board. Do you spot anything unusual about it?

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e5 4.0–0 d6 5.c3 a6 6.Bxc6+ bxc6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 cxd4 9.Qxd4 Qf6 10.Qb6 d5 11.e5 Qe6 12.Nd4 Qd7 13.Nxc6 Ne7 14.Nd4 g5 15.Nc3 h5 16.Bxg5 Rg8 17.f4 Rg6 18.Qa5 Bb7 19.Rad1 0–0–0 20.Na4 Kb8 21.Rc1 Rc8 22.Nb6 Qd8 23.Bf6 Rxc1 24.Rxc1 Bh6 25.Qb4 Ka7 26.Bxe7 Qg8 27.Rc2 Bxf4 28.Bd6 Be3+ 29.Kh1 Rxd6 30.exd6 Qg4 31.Nc6+ Bxc6 32.Qxg4 hxg4 33.Rxc6 Bxb6 34.d7 1–0

5. Try The Knight’s Tour Game

Can you solve the famous chess Knight's Tour? Move your knight around the board, visiting each square exactly once. There are many different ways to do it, but it's not as easy as it sounds!  Try the interactive version here.

6. Become A Master of The Pawn Duel

Can you master this unusual chess puzzle? Line up three pawns of each colour on the first rank of the board facing each other (only these files are used for the game), like so:


Forget about the normal rules of chess - there are special rules for this game.  White moves first and the objective is to leave your opponent with no legal move. Pawns can move forward or backward any number of squares on their file as far as the square before their opposite number, except that neither player can advance beyond his fourth rank on the first move of the game.  Pawns can't take each other.  Can you 'stalemate' your opponent to win?

How quickly can you master the game?  Take on a computer opponent here.

Have fun and good luck!  I'll post the answers to question 2A, 2B, 2C and 3 in a few days time!

Update: Ok, here are the answers!

2A. The letter Q. When you remove it, the whole picture looks like the letter Q.







2B. From the measurements given, the ladybirds must all be in a straight line, and the distance between A and C is 1 cm.



2C. The middle two letters of each word become the first and last letter of the next one, so the answer must be ANSWER.

3. The move 19...0-0-0 is illegal because the white queen attacks the d8 square.  This is a real game that took place at the 2011 Gibraltar Chess Festival, and the players didn't notice the illegal move - and it was a normal (not blindfold) game!


Sources: 1. Genius In Chess, by Jon Levitt 2. Test Your Creative Thinking, by Lloyd King.