Joke Puzzles 1

Jan 28, 2014, 3:44 PM |

To me, the whole enterprise of trying to "master" chess is hilarious. How could anyone truly master chess, a game which we have no hope of ever coming close to solving? So-called masters are not really masters at all--we just call them that arbitrarily because they are way better than most other players.

Yet it's precisely because chess cannot really be mastered that even the best players keep coming back for more. The game is an endless fount of new ideas, and we are promised the joy of discovery every time we set out to play or study a game.

For me, however, the joy of discovery is everything. I am not one who is interested in obsessing over chess for years or decades in the hopes of becoming  a titled player or a chess champion of some sort. To me it's not about honor and glory, but having a good time with someone else and maybe even a good laugh.


Most chess puzzles are composed in order to teach a lesson--a tactic, a mating pattern, some positional principle, etc. These puzzles are sometimes interesting, but unless you are a compulsive chess lover they can quickly become boring and/or wearisome.

Joke chess problems, on the other hand, are just plain fun! They do not even necessarily teach any valuable lesson. They are primarily for your entertainment! Whether you play much chess or not, just about anyone can pick up a joke chess problem and enjoy it.

They are also just as much fun to create as to solve. That is why I am devoting my entire chess blog to joke chess problems, or as I like to call them, silly chess problems.

For my first post, I will begin with a couple of classics before moving on to my own creations. These first two were made a long time ago in order to expose--with a bit of humor--certain ambiguities which used to exist in the rules of chess.

Joke Chess Problem 1 (Antiquated):

Believe it or not, this puzzle was a mate in one. Can you guess how? (press the light bulb if you can't find the answer)

Joke Problem 2 (also Antiquted):
This one was a mate in three. You'll never guess the answer to this one! (hint: castling is always allowed in a chess problem unless otherwise stated)
Now I will finish my first post with one of my own creations.
Silly Chess Problem 1 (Using Old Rules!):
This is a problem I created by combining some of the ideas from the two previous puzzles, using the old chess rules mentioned above. It is a helpmate in one problem, except that in this puzzle you control both sides to mate white! See if you can figure it out!
More to Come!