The Riddles of the Genius!

Submitted by eugen on Sat, 01/27/2024 - 13:56


Zukertort was, as might be expected, full of new good things in chess, and the following remarkable mate in one move, which he showed to an admiring gallery of spectators at the Manhattan Chess Club the other day, proves that he has more 'points' than are dreamed of in Steinitz' philosophy...

[Site "Manhattan Chess Club, NY"][Date "1885.12.??"][White "Zukertort, Johannes H."][Result "1-0"][FEN "8/5RPk/6N1/6K1/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"]{White to move and mate in 1}

'Now.' said Dr. Zukertort, 'white has the move and he can legitimately, according to the letter of the rules of chess, checkmate in ONE move.' The gallery was incredulous, but the doctor speedily demonstrated the correctness of his assertion. No doubt when Steinitz hears of this wonderful feat he'll try to cancel the match.

The chief purpose of the 'problem' is to show that one of the rules in chess is imperfectly worded. We refer to the one relating to promotions of pawns, which says: A pawn reaching the eighth square must at once be exchanged for any piece (except king) that the player of the pawn may elect... Now, white takes advantage of the literal reading of the rule and pushes pawn to knight's eighth, claiming black knight and discovering checkmate. This shows that the rule shouldn't be made 'any piece (except king) of his own color,' etc.

While on the subject of pawn promotion we might also state Steinitz and Zukertort, in their coming match, will have the right to allow a pawn to remain a pawn on the eighth row, for their match will be governed by the '"Dummy pawn "code of 1862, which allows that additional privilege to the player of the 'promoted' pawn.

British Chess Association Law XIII 1862:

"When a pawn has reached the eighth square, the player has the option of selecting a piece, whether such piece has previously been lost or not, whose names and powers it shall then assume, or of deciding that it shall remain a pawn."

[Site "Manhattan Chess Club, NY"][Date "1885.12.??"][White "Zukertort, Johannes H."][Result "1-0"][FEN "6n1/5R1k/6N1/6K1/8/8/8/8 b - - 0 1"]