The Hardest Puzzle Ever Composed


This took me hours to find.  I will avoid giving any tips as to where to find the answer, and I can assure you no engine will find the solution.


This puzzle is often considered the hardest chess puzzle ever created.  I'll go into the history of the puzzle later, once it's been solved.


Good luck!


Aha! I've seen this. It's in a lecture on youtube I think. Am I right?

That's not where I found it but if you're right I hate you :P.

Haha, well, even if it is the study there's no way I'd recall how to solve it without finding it again and taking notes.

But I'm pretty sure that's it. You're right - it's a super complicated position.

HINT: black promotes some of his pawns to knights at points, no?


Hmmm... it's been almost an hour and still no 'first' or 'nice n easy' comments.  :).



that was so easy i solved it before i even knew what it was. phuuf.
I've seen this puzzle somewhere on this site.

I can't see how it can be as hard to get as this one: mate in 2.


Especially difficult when the pieces keep moving around. Are they right now or were they earlier when the knight and pawn were switched?



Hey, I got it....


Of course, I posted it in another thread after being driven to the edge by its difficulty, which I wished t spread among the people...




nice n easy. ;)

Seriously though, this position is insane. Black's threatening Nf7+, c4+, Ba5, c2-c1, e2-e1. And if White's king moves, the knight on a6 becomes dangerous.


It was first seen (That I know of) it when British GM Jim Plaskett who presented it at the tournament in Brussels 1987 (Kasparov and Ljubomir won with 8.5/11, Karpov was second with 7/11). None of the grandmasters at the tournament could solve it, except for Tal who looked at it for a few minutes and went for a walk in the park. He came back with the solution.

Here's the solution, no peeking! (Highlight to see the moves, I left the comments in as hints...)

White to move and win.   1. Nf6+ 1. d8=Q loses to Nf7+.   1... Kg7 1...Kh8 loses to d8=Q+. 1...Kg5 loses to 2. Bh5+ Kf5 (Kxf6 3. d8=Q+) d8=Q and now the Bishop covers f7.   2. Nh5+ Kg6 Kf7 loses of course.   3. Bc2+! This is where I gave up. I couldn't find this move.   3... Kxh5 4. d8=Q!! Nf7+ This seems to be the obvious move, but it is actually a flaw in the puzzle. Because, according to the article, and the computers, 4...Kg4 draws. But if the Knight is on e5 instead of g5 works.... but I didn't see this part of the articles until it was too late :) Any way, enjoy the solution.   5. Ke6! Allowing the Knight to take the Queen with check, but the King needs to reach the Kingside.   5... Nxd8+ 6. Kf5 Now Bd1+ e2 Bxe2#.   6... e2 The only way to stop Bd1, it also thretens to promote.   7. Be4 Allowing Black to promote, but threatening mate.   7... e1=N! The only way to cover f3.   8. Bd5!! Looking for a new way to threaten mate.   8... c2 9. Bc4 Be2+ is threatened now.   9... c1=N! Another under-promotion, again the only way to cover the key square.   10. Bb5 Now its Be8+ thats threatened, you can probably guess the next move by now.   10... Nc7 11. Ba4 Ne2 12. Bd1 Nf3 13. Bxe2 c4 White wins no matter what.   14. Bxf3#


I discarded 1.Nf6+ Kg7 2.Nh5+ Kg6 3.Bc2+ Kxh5 5.d8=Q Nf7+ as losing during my analysis. Who would have guessed? It's crazy that Tal could work this out while on a walk. :)

This isn't the hardest puzzle ever composed.  It's easier compared to the 20-move mate found in a chess program.

I dont know - sticking to the hardest puzzle ever "published" (and solved! otherwise the chess opening position: what result? would be a candidate):

 Reti, in his 'new ideas in chess' mentioned a problem by Breyer - he didnt give the problem unfortunately - or at least it is not there in the english traslation. but read this:

page from R. Reti - new ideas in chess 


i immediately thought nf6+, but i did not see the idea of using the queen sacrifice to mate in 8 moves with the Kf7 line leading to mate in 9.  Still far, far, far from the hardest ever.  I wish google didn't result in this.


That took me 1.13 minutes.


11. Ba4 loses... White needs to play Bxc6 first


I've seen this puzzle many times before. Can't Black just barely draw with 4...Kg4?