Pawns move both ways...


                               Pawns Move Both Ways 

The year of this article was 1884, the same year Paul Morphy died.

The locale was, ironically, the Morphy chess club of New York.

From the Philadelphia Times, 1884.

     Many years ago, when the old "Morphy Chess Rooms" were in full blast in New York, the problem man, Samuel Loyd, was a daily visitor to that resort, and almost every afternoon did he show a new and curious mate of his own composing.

     Now a great many of the habitues of the "Morphy" were people of no very alarming Chess skill, and the consequence was that very often Samuel's mates found no solutions from the crowd. Loyd soon noticed that in every instance after the solution of a problem was shown, either by himself or some of the more experienced of the players, that two or tbree of the crowd, who never solved anything correctly, always said with an air of wonder, "Why, we thought the Pawns were going the other way," the
inference, of course, being that had they known the true state of the Pawns' march they would have solved the thing in a jiffy. 

     Loyd said nothing to all this, but one day he walked into the rooms, and after the thought-the-Pawns-were-going-the-other-way crowd had assembled he said to them:

     "Gentlemen, I made a little problem this morning that I would like to have your criticism on.

The condition is for White to checkmate in one move, and you will of course readily solve it.  I will therefore set it up; and have your judgment on it."

     He then placed the position thus :




     "Mate in one move!" said one of the crowd, "why anybody can do that. All you have got to do is to move Q to Kt 2 mate."

     "You can't do that. The Queen is pinned," said Loyd.

     "Oh, well," said another. " I can mate with either Rook."

     "In that case," responded Loyd, "either Queen or Bishop interposes."

     And so they went on, ineffectually trying B to Q 5 ch, Kt checks,  Q takes R ch, &c., but it was all of no use. At last they gave it up and Mr. Loyd said :

     "I will now show you the solution. Mate can be accomplished in one move by P takes Kt, becoming a Queen, mate."

     "Oh, that's it, is it ?" said the disgusted crowd. " We thought the Pawns were going the other way."

    "You did, did you?" chipped in Loyd, quick as a flash.

    "Well, if you thought the Pawns were going the other way, why didn't you mate in one move by Queening the other Knight's Pawn next to the Rook!"

     The joke of the position is that Loyd had arranged it so that mate could be given in one move no matter which way the Pawns went.