6 Pawns on a File
A few days ago, American expert (USCF 2038) Tim Moroney, while competing at the World Open in Philadelphia, told me about a puzzle in which there 6 pawns all lined up on the same file. Intrigued by this morsel of information, I investigated further and found that Bohemian American William Shinkman (1847-1933) had composed the original problem.
Shinkman, nicknamed “the Wizard of Grand Rapids”, was not only an enormously talented problemist but was also influential in the theoretical development of chess puzzles. But the 6 pawns puzzle is too delicious to delay much longer. My initial question to Tim was to wonder if it were possible to legally achieve 6 pawns on the same file.
That same question also plagued Bader Al-Hajiri of Kuwait, who came up with several solutions ca. 2001, the shortest of which is given here.
This amazing sequence of moves results in Shinkman’s puzzle. Shinkman presented the end position with the challenge to find the mate in eight, which made me laugh out loud when I saw it.
For more amazing puzzles, see my blog Puzzleicious.