How did this position arise?

by Frederic Friedel
12/11/2023 – The second part of the ChessBase India winter solving contest contained problems in different chess variants that involve deviation from the standard rules. This can involve finding ways to reconstruct a given position, or changes to pieces or rules, leading to creative and strategic gameplay. We present one challenging example, and a video lesson in problem solving from a true master. There is a lot to learn and to enjoy.

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Anirudh Daga is one of the world's most promising young problem composers, specializing in positions that are fascinating and unconventional. The 15-year-old Anirudh Daga, born in Delhi, India, living in Singapore, became interested in chess composition after winning the Christmastide Solving Contest conducted by ChessBase India in 2020-21. He was only twelve at the time, and a complete newcomer in the world of chess composition. But over the next three years, Anirudh grew from strength to strength, competed at the World Chess Solving Championships, and composed numerous problems of fairy chess and retrograde analysis that have all found their due place in reputable problem magazines.

The following example is taken from a set of eight puzzles chosen by Anirudh for Tier II of the ChessBase India Winter Solving contest. Click this link if you want to solve the other seven puzzles. 

From Section I - Construction and Deduction

In a proof game, you are given a position and asked to reconstruct it from the initial game array in a fixed set of moves. It is not about playing the best moves, but about playing the precise legal sequence that lead to the position after the desired number of moves!

Proof Game in 7.0

Both White and Black have played exactly seven moves each to reach the above position. That seems simple enough? But hold your horses and look at the position twice before starting to solve it. An unexpected twist awaits your eyes and mind! Note that the kings and queens have switched positions. And that there are pawns missing on g2 and g7.

To make it simple for you to work on the puzzle – for which we will naturally not give the solution – here's a board on which you can move the pieces and try to reach the above position with seven legal moves for each side:

A big chapeau to you if you are able to solve this one! If not, how about a lesson in chess problem solving from the master – whose voice hasn't yet broken. Prepare to be enchanted:

And here is footage of Anirudh solving a very deep study in real time:


Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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