Pal Benko's Christmas problems

by Frederic Friedel
12/25/2017 – Every year Pal Benko, grandmaster, former World Championship candidate, and one of the best problem composers in the world, sends our readers very special seasonal greetings. They come in the form of chess problems in which the pieces represent figures – this time a Christmas tree and candles. It is the start of our Christmas puzzle week, which we bring you for the eighteenth year in succession. Prepare for puzzles that cannot be easily solved with a computer, tasks which require you to think all by yourself. And a nostalgic look to the past.

ChessBase 15 - Mega package ChessBase 15 - Mega package

Find the right combination! ChessBase 15 program + new Mega Database 2020 with 8 million games and more than 80,000 master analyses. Plus ChessBase Magazine (DVD + magazine) and CB Premium membership for 1 year!


Christmas with Pal Benko

We join Pal in wishing our readers a very Happy Christmas and joy in chess and life in general.

In the following diagrams you can move pieces to try out your ideas. We wish you a lot of fun.


You can move the pieces on the boards above. Solutions will be posted here in a few days.

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.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register

PEB216 PEB216 12/26/2017 10:05
@Velvia, thanks! As you said, the selection overlay is "tiny." My old eyes had trouble seeing it.
Velvia Velvia 12/26/2017 09:25
PEB216 You can drag the pawn & hover over the promotion square; it should give you a tiny selection overlay
geeker geeker 12/26/2017 12:41
Happy Holidays to CB, and thanks for the enjoyable problems. This is the first year I've worked through all of GM Benko's Christmas offerings.
KevinC KevinC 12/25/2017 07:54
@PEB216, I can also confirm that it works with the Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox browsers.
KevinC KevinC 12/25/2017 07:53
@PEB216, if you hold the mouse down as you move to the last rank, you can see some VERY small figurines to the right of the queen, but still in the c8 square, and you can hover over the third one down to get a rook.
garyklien garyklien 12/25/2017 07:20
wow i love you Pal Benko!!!
PEB216 PEB216 12/25/2017 05:00
Is there a glitch in the first diagram? After 1. Kb8 Kxb6, the diagram will only let me promote to a Queen instead of a Rook, i.e. after 2. c8 promoting to a Rook wins, but promoting to a Queen draws.
Pieces in Motion Pieces in Motion 12/25/2017 02:28
Nice article and fun problems.

And Merry Christmas to all. :-)