Topic 14 – Puzzles
If you’ve ever been to the Shizmoo.com strategy forum, you know I have posted about 102398084 Kung Fu Chess puzzles. I feel that these puzzles can really help you learn how to think about the game - how to recognize common tactical themes and ideas. So for this topic I’m going to compile all my strategy puzzles (and their answers) together in one place. Also, I’ve decided that rather than post new puzzles I come up with to the forum, I’ll put one at the end of each new topic I write after this one. The answer to each topic’s puzzle will begin the next topic. I hope this will add an extra element of fun (wahoo!) to the guide.
Here are the puzzles I’ve already created. If you are a strategy forum regular reader, feel free to skip this topic; there will be nothing new for you here, though it couldn’t hurt to look these over again. If you haven’t seen these before, try to solve them yourself before reading the solution. Solutions will appear at the bottom.
The First Puzzle
Devilant (white) v Newgen (black)
At first glance it would appear that Newgen has a huge edge, with his queen compared to Devilant’s two pawns. But Devilant is threatening to checkmate Newgen by playing his pawn forward a square. How should Newgen proceed?
Puzzle the Second
Here white is ahead by a queen to black’s three pawns. What is black’s best play?
This Be Puzzle Three
This time black is ahead by two rooks to white’s pawn. But white is threatening to promote his pawn. How can black win?
Puzzle Number 4
Black is ahead by a bishop and a pawn. Can he win this one?
It looks like white has been checkmated... how should he play it?
Lucky Puzzle 6
Black is in a bit of trouble. Or is he? How can white win this game?
Unlucky Puzzle 7
This is quite the complicated puzzle. White’s king is trapped on the edge, but he is threatening to promote his two pawns on the right side of the board. On the other hand, black is threatening to promote a pawn of his own. Who wins? How do they do it?
The Great Puzzle Eight
Whoa! This one’s all about timing. Can you figure it out?
Solution to Puzzle #1
If Newgen moves his queen, Devilant can play his pawn forward to checkmate Newgen:
Pearls of Wisdom from the Venerable Newgen
"If one goes up and curses at another person, he accomplishes nothing else than the barking of a dog."
--Newgen (May 10, 2003)
--Newgen (Later that day)*
* Note: Newgen may or may not have said this.
UNLESS Newgen takes Devilant’s pawn!
Devilant On Strategy
"It's amazing how many mistakes I make that prevent me from winning."
"I am infallible."
Now if Devilant plays his pawn forward, Newgen will win (otherwise it’s just a draw). So the correct play is a queen sacrifice!
Solution to Puzzle #2
Black should play rook takes pawn:
Top Kung Fu Chess player ZeWatcher once played and won a game using this very move!
When white takes the rook with his queen, black immediately takes white’s pawn with his king and plays his pawn forward to defend the rook:
Not So Fun Fact
Top Kung Fu Chess player Devilant once failed to play this very move and lost!
Black wins easily with his 5 pawns versus white’s rook.
Solution to Puzzle #3
||If black moves this rook, white will immediately promote his pawn. White’s king blocks black’s other rook from taking the promoted pawn.
The first thing to note here is that white will promote his pawn immediately after black moves his rook on g1. However, the rook on a8 can move around without letting white promote his pawn.
Black’s first play, therefore, should be to move his a8 rook closer to the white king:
Did You Know?
Each Kung Fu Chess puzzle was inspired by a similar position played in a real game!
The reason for this move is to allow the following play:
Did You Want To Know?
Devilant is adding these side comments to fill unused space on the right side of the guide!
Once black’s rook arrives on g7, black immediately plays rook takes king:
You Won’t Care But I’ll Tell You Regardless
Devilant finds these comments to be extremely amusing! Others do not!
The white king is forced to dodge into check - black’s other rook will be able to capture it.
White’s queen is threatening to capture black’s rook. So black’s king must now capture white’s queen. His rook will recharge in time to capture the white king, so this is a safe (and necessary) play.
And now black can capture white’s king with his rook:
Solution to Puzzle #4
Proof That There Is A God
This will be the final space-filling humorless side comment.
This is a tricky question. It’s a draw. Black’s king is trapped on the edge in front of his pawn, and the only way he can make any progress is to sacrifice his b pawn:
Oh You Mean It’s Impossible To Prove That God Exists?
Just Kidding! These comments will continue throughout Topic 14!
White’s response is to take the pawn and defend it with his king. Black’s king is still trapped on the edge and now white has two passed pawns… not good. Black’s best play is to offer a draw.
Solution to Puzzle #5
The only way for white to escape here is to block the black bishop from defending the queen so that white can take the queen with his king. The problem is that when white plays his pawn forward to block, black can capture it with an en passant:
So that’s the real puzzle here: how do you stop the en passant?
White plays his pawn two squares forward to block the bishop from defending the queen, and also plays his knight behind the pawn, so that black’s pawn will take the knight instead of making an en passant capture!
Now white can take the queen!
Solution to Puzzle #6
At first glance you might think this is a no-brainer:
However, when white takes black’s rook with his rook, black does not recapture with his queen. He recaptures with his king!
For Portuguese Readers Of The Guide
Eu estou contente você estou lendo minha guia! Eu năo falo uma palavra de sua língua!
Now white can capture black’s king with his queen, right? Nope. White has nowhere to safely move his king!
||There’s no safe way for white to move his king so that the queen can take black’s king!
Every move moves into check! With good timing, black will win if white moves his king anywhere! So initially taking the rook does not result in an easy win for white.
Here’s one way to win (there are many, they all involve capturing black’s pawn):
White first plays his queen down a square to d1. This sets up a capture of black’s pawn with the queen. Just before black’s queen recharges, white captures black’s rook with his rook:
As before, black has to capture with his king. White is now clear to capture black’s pawn with his queen.
The pawn advantage is enough for white to win.
Solution to Puzzle #7
This is probably the most difficult puzzle I have yet composed.
Step one: Kc5
This move is key — it keeps white’s king trapped on the edge while simultaneously threatening white’s rook. White will have to move the rook, but to where?
White is forced to move his rook to b7 (and his pawn to a6 and king to a7). If he moves anywhere else black will be able to win easily:
If white moves his rook to the left, right, bottom, or up 1 square, black can respond with a checkmate like so:
If white moves his rook all the way to the top of the board, black captures it with his knight and it’s checkmate.
If white moves his rook up two squares, black wins by capturing it and then easily checkmating white using his newly promoted queen and his rook:
So I think I’ve established that white is forced to play this:
After black plays his king to d6, here’s the position:
Now black’s queen and knight trap the white king on the edge, leaving the king free to go attack some white pawns!
I think you get the idea. White is powerless to stop black’s king from gobbling the pawns. If he tries to take black’s knight with his rook, the knight simply dodges to f7 and white loses his rook. From here it’s a very easy win for black.
Solution to Puzzle #8
This puzzle is so complicated it has been known to make grown men weep uncontrollably for their mothers.
Compared to the previous puzzles, this one’s a snap. Once you get the first move, the rest follow in turn — like a domino effect.
Here’s the order of the moves:
- Black king takes pawn
- Black bishop captures white knight
- Black bishop captures white queen
- Black knight captures white bishop
- Black rook captures white rook
- Black queen captures white king!
It’s all about the timing!
back to topic 13
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