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.


  • 7 years ago


    very funny positions
    only got 3 pawns on a file :(

  • 7 years ago


    What about this?

  • 7 years ago


    There's actually another equally valid mate in 8 for the puzzle.  Here it is:








    Hope you enjoyed it =]

  • 7 years ago


    this is cool!

  • 8 years ago


    A4 what.Very good one.=8 ways.WOW,I ((see)6).

    Very good 1's all around=More than Fantatic.

    Its Supercalisticexpiadocious.

  • 8 years ago


     i like how the solution to one puzzle is a problem for another puzzle.

  • 8 years ago


    Lol. I remember my chess teacher showed us that one 8 years ago. Happy to find it again.
  • 8 years ago


    very nice the point is that the black king has to take it and it turns it into a forced mate!

  • 8 years ago


    very nice
  • 8 years ago


    That's a nice humorous solution!  Thanks for posting! Smile
  • 8 years ago


    Cute!  This is the kind of stuff that makes chess worth playing.  Imaginative and creative.
  • 8 years ago


    Excellant Blog/Puzzle!!! I was bewildered when I first saw the Blog Title!!!

    {I just had to see it for my self}...


  • 8 years ago


    Re: Ozzie's solution:

  • 8 years ago


    The position is very artistic.  A display of an awesome extraordinary position.

    Thanks a lot for you valuable contribution.  You yourself is an art and an artistic chess player.

  • 8 years ago

    NM ozzie_c_cobblepot

    I have a solution to this which I came up with in June 2002.

    1: f4 e5
    2: fxe5 d6
    3: exd6 Be6
    4: dxc7 Qd3
    5: exd3 Bc4
    6: dxc4 b5
    7: a4 Nf6
    8: axb5 Nc6
    9: bxc6 Ne4
    10: d4 Nc3
    11: bxc3 Bc5
    12: dxc5

    I don't know how to put this into one of those fancy diagrams.

  • 8 years ago


    That is a really hard puzzle.


  • 8 years ago


    Reminds me of pac-man...

     Thanks for the awesome posting!

  • 8 years ago


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