The Chess 
Variant Pages

A game in the train with Euwe

In Voorloper, the youth magazine of the KNSB, the Royal Dutch Chess Federation, autumn 2001, there is an amusing (fictional) story of Euwe playing a game of chess in the train. Euwe was a Dutch mathematician and has been world champion chess.

Euwe tells that there is a man that asks him in the train if he can play chess. When Euwe affirms this, they start to play a game, and after some time, this is the position:

Euwe plays white. Black to move.

White: King c2; Knight f4, g4; Bishop a6, b6; Pawn a7, h6

Black: King a1; Pawn a2; h2

Euwe expected to win with e.g. 1. ..., h2-h1Q. 2. Bb6-d4 mate. Instead, black played 1. h2-h1 K !?!

Euwe did not want to get into an argument with his opponent telling him one could not promote a pawn to a king, so instead he found another way of winning this game ...

He moved his pawn from a7 to a8, and promoted it to a black king! Now, the game ended as follows: Black played Ka8-b8;

then white played h6-h7:
then black played Kb8-a8:
and then white played h7-h8Q; promoting to a (white) queen and mating all three kings at the same time.

Disclaimer and remark

As I get often questions about the rules of chess, here a disclaimer: the rules of chess do not allow promotion to a king, and they also do not allow promotion to a piece of the opposite color. It might be nice to invent a chess variant that allows this kind of promotions?

Written by Hans Bodlaender. Thanks to Alfred Pfeiffer for noting an error.
WWW page created: October 30, 2001.