Difficult Sam Loyd Chess Puzzle

Difficult Sam Loyd Chess Puzzle

In this highly difficult Sam Loyd chess puzzle from 1859, white to play and mate in 2.

Sam Loyd was a widely acclaimed puzzle creator, known for his brilliant chess puzzles, visual puzzles, and math puzzles. Don’t be discouraged if this incredibly difficult puzzle by Sam Loyd has you stumped, the solution is quite challenging.

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  1. Qc8

In response to this quiet move by white, black has 27 possible moves(!), but white can respond to any of them with checkmate. Here is the full list:

All of black’s queen moves, except one, are covered by white’s knight on c7:

  • If 1. … Qxa3 or Qb4 or Qd5 or Qe7 or Qf8 or Qxb6, then 2. Nd5#
  • If 1. … Qd4 or Qd6 or Qb5 or Qxe3, then 2. Nb5#

Similarly, all of black’s bishop moves are covered by the same knight:

  • If 1. … Ba4 or Bb5 or Bd7 or Be8, then 2. Nd5#
  • If 1. … Bd5 or Be4 or Bf3 or Bg2 or Bh1, then 2. Nb5#

The remaining black queen move, as well as two of the black knight moves are covered by white’s knight on b2:

  • If 1. … Qc4 or Na5-c4 or Ne5-c4, then 2. Nd1#

Finally, the black’s remaining knight moves are covered by white’s rook:

  • If 1. … Nd7 or Nf7 or Ng6 or Ng4 or Nf3, then 2. Rxd3#

This puzzle is incredibly tricky because the first move is so quiet, it’s unclear how it leads to mate, and because black has so many possible moves, it’s hard to see that white has mate in response to all of them! Quite the masterpiece by Sam Loyd.

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