Updated: Jan 23
The position of the study discussed in this story, whose author is D. Przepiórka, went around the world - not only for the subtlety of the solution containing a witty point in a beautiful position, but also because of the ingenious story, which was set against the solution by the well-known composer A. W. Mongredien (1).
Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox were almost daily guests at a chess club. Both were great supporters of all kinds of bets, and at chess they always played for stakes - but they preferred various riddles, traps, and unusual problems, which were as if specially arranged for the purpose of making a bet. The clever ways they used to win were a constant source of amusement to their friends.
Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox were almost daily guests at a chess club. Both were great supporters of all kinds of bets, and at chess they always played for stakes - but they preferred various riddles, traps, and unusual problems, which were as if specially arranged for the purpose of making a bet.
The clever ways they used to win were a constant source of amusement to their friends.
One day Pitt came to the club before his companion, and showed the assembled people such a position:
Few diagrams come with a small chess engine - allowing you to play against it, ask for hint or the solution (first move).
- Fox has won the last two bets - he announced - but to-day it will be my turn. I'll be sure to catch him!
Look - the first move is visible: 1. Re2. If black plays 1...h6, then 2. Re8+, Kh7 3. Nf6+, K-at will. 4. Rg8+ Kxf6
And white will capture the black queen.
Black must then play 1...Qg8.
- The rest is easy too - remarked someone watching. 2. Nf6 also leads to capturing the hetman.
- Of course - agreed Pitt, rubbing his hands together. - After 2. Nf6 white gains the black queen, but cannot win the game.
And this is where I catch Fox.
See: 2. Nf6, Qg1 3. Re8+, Kg7 4. Rg8+, Kg7 4. Rg8+, Kh6
And 5. Rxg1 stalemate!
This is indeed pretty! And what is the solution? The only one that wins is the 2. Ng7! - explained Pitt.
Those gathered around the table were curiously analyzing the position when Fox entered.
Not a word! - whispered Pit, quickly setting the initial position on the chessboard.
- Good evening, Fox greeted the group. - What have you got here?
- Oh, nothing special," replied Pitt in a careless tone. - Just an ordinary position that I should have won, but I couldn't find the right move.
Fox looked at the chessboard for a moment.
- It's not very difficult - he said finally. - You have to play 1. Re2.
And he moved his rook. Pitt replied by moving the black queen on g8, and in turn Fox played - as Pitt expected - 2. Nf6.
- And wins - he added laconically.
- Winning? - repeated eagerly Pitt. - Are you sure of that?
- Of course!
- Shall we bet?
- I'd be glad to !
The stakes were fixed. Pitt lit a cigar and for a long moment savored the near triumph.
He pretended to be thinking. Finally he played 2...Qg1.
There was a moment of tense anticipation - and suddenly Fox answered unexpectedly with 3. Nh5!
On Pitt's face, astonishment slowly gave way to consternation. Having no choice, however, he returned the black queen on g8.
- Do you want a draw by repeating moves? - he asked with a forced smile.
- Nothing of the sort! - replied Fox.
- I'm playing 4. Ng7 now!
And claiming the win, he said:
- But you should have made sure beforehand that I hadn't also seen this position before...
1) H. Weenink. „David Przepiórka, a master of strategy”.