A better Kim vs. Trump 'Endgame'

by Macauley Peterson
10/3/2017 – Ten days ago we proposed a contest to "fix" the cover of New Scientist magazine's September 23rd issue, which featured a fictitious illustration of President Trump squaring off against North Korea's Kim Jong Un, in what was dubbed 'Endgame'. The position was nonsensical. Of the many creative suggestions, here are our favourites. | Illustration: Robert Carter (crackedhat.com)

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Novel positions

In our previous post entitled Kim Jong Un vs. Trump 'End Game' we asked ChessBase readers to come up with clever improvements to the New Scientist cover of the September 23rd issue, with prizes up for grabs. We were very pleased by the results, which are all worth a browse in the original article's comments section. Here were the best of the pack.

Honourable mentions

Reader "Dime1" found inspiration from the Bobby Fischer and the Cold War in proposing the following position:


He writes:

In this position,both kings have 2 queens in their disposal each and some lightweight pieces, which in case Trump and Kim could be South Korea and Japan in US camp versus China and Russia in North Korea camp,also the game was played 2 years before Caribbean crisis when the tensions between USSR and America in cold war where high, two different characters played one versus another,Fischer the notorious attacker vs Petrosian the best known defender,both kings are exposed and vulnerable and with four queens it brings to complicated and unpredictable.

Picking up on the missing rooks, another interesting suggestion from "pompeaux" was the following:


Trump is Black with rook odds (missing Rh8) - Then it should be Légal's mate, which was originally played with rook odds [Paris, way back in 1750, against Saint Brie -Ed.]

As the attacker, Kim is making all the empty threats, but the powerful USA isn't bluffing. The game would be recorded as: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nc6 4. Nxc6 dxc6 5. d3 Bc5 and we have our position right after Kim executes the Dotard Attack with 6. Bg5, and Trump ponders, finally taking on ...Nxe4. Kim may celebrate briefly by detonating a hydrogen bomb in the Ocean, and taking the queen with 7. BxQ, but the prize will mean nothing as Trump will totally destroy North Korea when that happens ...Bxf2+ 8. Ke2 9. Bg4# 0-1. 

That's when Kim will look at China and say, "I thought you were going to help me." China looking down will reply, "Bu xie. I'm just the Arbiter!" And the Russian commentators though criticizing some of the earlier strategic choices, will be fully supportive of the end result, as it will validate the Russian Defense, nevertheless.

Clearly conceived, cleverly executed. Well done!

Persona non grata?

Before moving on to the winners, a quick shout out to "susiep", who was concerned about my relationship with Saint Louis Chess Club benefactor Rex Sinquefield — a man whose staunch libertarian views tends to align him with Republican candidates for political office (though not always). To that, I can only say, thanks, but not to worry. Having had many political conversations with Rex over dinner I can safely say that he values a good argument far more than one's partisan leanings. (Plus, he can take a joke!) Or, in the words of President Trump:

Oh wait! He was talking about (and senselessly undermining) his own Secretary of State. How silly of me!

But back to the chess...

Runner up

"TobiD" really got into the spirit of the contest, submitting three excellent and distinct ideas. He writes:

My first idea would be to set up a position that shows the huge difference of resources in the arsenal of weapons between the two countries. So Black with Mr. Trump would have all pieces, whereas his opponent only one. 

A position which fits this difference in material is from the interesting study of the hungarian chess composer Ottó Bláthy


Here Black despite his material advantage is immobile to move (please note that the black pawns move downwards and most of them are one step away from promotion!). 

White wins after 1. Qa5+ Kb1 2. Qxd8 Ka2 3. Qa5 + Kb1 4. Qd5 Ka2 5. Qa8 Kb1 6. Ka7! Ka2 7. Kb6+ Kb1 8. Ka5! Ka2 9. Kb4+ Kb1 10. Ka3! Ka1 11. Kxb3+ Kb1 12. Qa2 # Mate

Great! However, surely the American forces are not as impotent as Black's in this farcical position. TobiD had another worry:

But of course we would not like that Mr. Kim Jong Un wins. So next idea would be to take an attractive position which would popularize chess in general. 

First to my mind comes the 16th game of the world championship match in Moscow 1985 between Karpov and Kasparov:


But then black wins! So maybe we should take a position that corresponds to the title "endgame", and leads to a stalemate. The topic of stalemate had been covered here in a recent article by Johannes Fischer, "Having fun with the Mega".

One option would be the following position of the game James Adams Congdon vs Eugene Delmar 5th American Chess Congress (1880), Manhattan, New York USA:


White achieves a draw with 1. Qg8+! which leads to stalemate after 1...Kxg8.

Excellent ideas all! Thank you. In appreciation you'll get three free months of our ChessBase Premium account. If you have one already, the extra months will be added on.

Incidentally, anyone can register a free account in order to comment, and a free trial upgrade to a Starter account is also available to all. You might also want to consider checking out the Mega Database which makes it easy to conduct all manner of research into chess history, both serious and sarcastic.

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But the winner is...

..."Sture Olsson", from Uppsala, Sweden! His contribution 'Nuclear Game' seemed the most geopolitically savvy and would surely have done a great service to New Scientist readers, had only the magazine's editors bothered to consider their visual metaphor more thoroughly:


Star studded Fritz

He adds that this position is "illustrating not only the diffenence in physical strength, but also reminding us a bit of the seriousness of the situation."

We couldn't agree more!

Congratulations! You'll be receiving a DVD of Fritz 11 autographed by Viswanathan Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Anatoly Karpov and Judit Polgar!

With any luck, we'll all still be around to enjoy Fritz 16 when it comes out later this year!

Fingers crossed!

Macauley served as the Editor in Chief of ChessBase News from July 2017 to March 2020. He is the producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast, and was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.


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