An amusing problem composed by Zukertort

by Stephan Oliver Platz
1/24/2018 – Johannes Zukertort (1842-1888) was a student of Adolf Anderssen and one of the world's best players of his time. In 1886 he played a match against Wilhelm Steinitz which was the first official World Championship match in chess history. Zukertort was also a prolific chess publisher. Stephan Oliver Platz presents an amusing chess problem by Zukertort.

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A stunning mate

The following problem was composed by Johannes Hermann Zukertort:  


In December 1885 Zukertort showed this problem to an amazed crowd in the Manhattan Chess Club.

Did you find the solution? No? And your favourite chess program is also clueless?

Here's a hint: At the time when this chess problem was composed the rule was that a pawn that reached the first rank of the opponent had to be promoted immediately to a piece of your choice — any piece from the 14 in the starting position not including pawns or kings! If you apply this rule creatively you will certainly find a solution to the problem! (See below, when ready.)

Johannes Hermann Zukertort


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Stephan is a passionate collector of chess books and for years he has been successfully playing as an amateur for his German club. The former musician and comedian works as a freelance journalist and author in Berlin and in the Franconian village Hiltpoltstein.


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