Over the past week, I’ve written about what the game of chess can teach us about money. Each day I included a chess puzzle for you to solve, and the comments it generated were a lot of fun. Some chess combinations were solved, but some were not. So here is the answer key for each of the five chess combinations, and you can click on the heading before each puzzle to link to that day’s article.
With Black to move, the best move is Qg1+. Black’s king is forced to take the queen, and Black can then play Ne2, taking the bishop, putting White’s king in check, and taking White’s queen on the next move (a knight attacking two pieces at the same time is called a “fork”). The resulting position is an easy win for Black.
White’s best move is Qh7+! Although that move at first appears to lose the Queen, after Black plays the forced move Rh7, White has the nice Rg8++ (by the way, + means check and ++ means checkmate).
Tuesday: Chess and the Deadly Trap of Debt
This one stumped you, and it stumped me the first time I saw it. White’s first move many of you figured out, Bc5, pinning Black’s Queen to its King. But now what do you do if Black plays Bb6, pinning White’s Bishop to White’s King. Now White can’t take the Black Queen! The response is Qf4+! Black can’t take the White king because of the pin, and after the Black king moves, White can take Black’s queen with Qd6.
Wednesday: Behold, the Power of the Pawn
Ilya nailed the answer to this one, which I think is a very difficult combination. The first move for White is g6. Black must take the pawn with either the f or h pawn, else White will capture either with the g pawn on the next move and Queen the move thereafter. So after White moves g6 and let’s assume Black captures the pawn with the f pawn (written as fg in chess notation), White simply pushes the h pawn to h6. If Black doesn’t take the h pawn, White will play hg on the next move and get a Queen the move thereafter. If Black does take the h pawn, White pushes its f pawn to f6 and will get a queen two moves later. Clear as mud, huh?
This one stumped you, but that’s ok because it’s a tough one to see. The first move is Qe8+! Black is forced to take with its rook, Re8, and White responds with Bd5+. Black’s only move is to play Re6 to defend its King. White responds by taking the rook with Be6+, White recaptures with its Queen (it’s only move) and white plays pawn takes queen (fe). Now White has a rook to Black’s knight, and more importantly, one of its two forward pawns will reach the other side for a Queen. Note that at the end of the combination, Black’s king as nowhere to move and Black’s knight has no safe place to move.
This is arguably the most notable game of chess ever played. Unfortunately, it’s memorable because it was this game that World Champion Gary Kasparov lost to IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997, the first time that a computer had won a match like this against the World Champion! Kasparov made a blunder (yes, and even Buffett has made investing blunders, too), and it allowed White to play Ne6! Of course, Kasparov could have played fe capturing the knight, but White can then play Bg6+, forcing Black’s King to e7, preventing Black from castling, and eventually hunting down Black’s king.
Finally, if you have any interest in chess, here is some software and chess books I highly recommend: