Monday, June 8, 2015

Sherlock Holmes Chess Mystery - Are You a Detective?

Chess is for the ages. All ages. All times.
We had eight players tonight at LCCC. Lots of casual chess and one serious Ladder game.
The game was played as a Fischer Random 960 game, and ended in a hard fought draw.

Time control was a Bronstein 20 min/G with a 10 second add on.

That means for every move played, 10 seconds is added to the player's time. So, if White moves with exactly 7 minutes and 50 seconds left on his clock, he will have 8 minutes when it is his move again.

A very interesting time control, which of course you need a digital clock programmed to do this. It was a different spin on the game.

But, I'm old fashioned and like the straight 15, 20, 30, 45, 60. 90 or 120 min time controls. But that is me - old......but fashioned.

The game was very interesting and will appear here soon.

Now for a story {which I should not tell - because all of you will now do what I do - and leave me with nothing to find when I do what I do!}.

I was wandering thru a used book store looking at their poker and chess book selection. I found an amazing book! "The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes - 50 Tantalizing Problems of Chess Detection." By Professor Raymond Smullyan.

Tantalizing? More like Demoralizing! I only have attempted the first two, and I am ready to return the book to the used book store and PAY THEM to take it from me!

The author is a philosopher/logician/puzzlemaster and a professor of Math Logic and Philosophy at CUNY-Lehman College. This guy is so far out there (in a genius way), the Ivy League is scared of him.

Anyway, the puzzle on the cover of the book is not one of the fifty puzzles inside the book. But it was simple enough that even my peanut brain figured it a half hour of brain racking torture!

White's move - but that is not the question asked.

I give you that puzzle now.  And don't be a hater because I decided to torture you!

Situation: "Black moved last. What was his last move, and what was White's last move?

As a matter of fact, you can reverse the sides of the board (so let's say the Black King is actually on h1and White King on f1) and have a totally different...but correct solution.

It's elementary, my dear Watson. "

Answer to appear in the comments.........someday.


  1. One king can never check another king, so if black made the last move it had to be from a7. But the white bishop on g1 had to be on the g1-a7 diagonal for at least 2 moves, so the black king couldn't have been on a7 before moving to a8 unless there was a piece blocking the check. Since white has no piece that could have blocked the check black must have captured it on a8 on his last move. The only piece that could have moved from the g1-a7 diagonal to a8 is a night. So blacks last move was Ka7xa8, and whites last move was Na8.

  2. I've never seen a game where time was added to the clock at the end of a move. It could make a game very interesting when one person is just about out of time because that person could gradually build up the time left on the clock by moving very fast, unlike the method where a delay is added at the beginning of a move. This method would also be an advantage for a person with extensive opening knowledge because that player could add several minutes to his/her clock during the opening.

  3. And the 'reverse' corners answer is the easy g8=B+, followed by Ka8.
    Thanks to all for playing.