Chess Problems of 1001 Years Ago

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Dilaram's Legacy

This ancient Shatranj problem has a small story attached to it: a story about two kings and their kingdoms.

In one of the kingdoms (here displayed by the white (originally red) pieces, there has been an epidemic and many of the forces have died. The white king approached the black king, and begged for quarter. Then, the black king ordered his vizier (general) to bring to white king to his precence, but the vizier pleads indisposition, and sends to soldiers forward one square to execute the command of the king. This is why the two black pawns are advanced one square.

The black king is so raged about the disobedience of the vizier that he kills him (and hence, the black vizier (general) is not on the board.)

This act of the black king shows the white king that he cannot expect mercy, and thus he decides that he must launch a desparate attack.

Below, you see the position. The task is: white is to play and win.

Actually, the problem is not hard to solve.

King c3; General c4; Knight e5, f5; Elephant e3. (5 pieces)

King e8; Rook a8, h8; Knight b8, g8; Elephant c8, f8; Pawn a7, b6, c6, d7, e7, f7, g7, h7. (15 pieces)

White to play and win.


Read in the solution how the story ends (but first try to solve this easy problem yourself.)

Written by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: November 9, 1999.