Philosophical Riddles for Chess Players (2)

by Arne Kaehler
9/14/2020 – This is our second philosophical riddle, and they will continue to jump in to our logical riddle series every now and then. The first philosophical riddle was a paradox and unsolvable. This riddle takes the same route, and if you haven't heard of it before, it will make your head steam. We also offer the solution of logical riddle number 8.

Fritz and Chesster - Learn to Play Chess Fritz and Chesster - Learn to Play Chess

Learn to think strategically, try out tricky mental exercises and master fun and exciting challenges – all with a generous helping of chess knowledge.


The unexpected opening paradox

In a chess knock-out tournament, the grandmasters Fritz and Chesster have to play in the finals. Ten decisive games will determine the championship outcome. 

Although GM Chesster with White never opens with anything else than 1.e4, he tries to cause some trouble for Fritz by telling him something mind-boggling.

He tells Fritz, that whenever playing with White, which will happen on the second, fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth day of the tournament, he will open with 1.e4 as usual. But on one of these days, he will instead promise Fritz to open with 1.h4 and that Fritz will be completely surprised by that. With this said, Chesster walks away with a smile.


Fritz thinks for a tiny moment, and shakes his head. What rubbish was that? But while walking to his hotel room, he cannot stop thinking about what Chesster had told him.

Having reflected on this for almost the whole night, Fritz draws the conclusion that he will actually know for sure when Chesster will play 1.h4! Fritz thought of the solution like this: 

The "surprise pawn move" can't be on the last tournament day, as if it hasn't been played on any day before because there is only one day left - and so it won't be a surprise if 1.h4 is played on day number ten. Since Chesster's promise guaranteed that the pawn move would be a surprise to him, Fritz concludes it cannot occur on the last day.

Fritz then reasons that the surprising move cannot be on day eight either because the last day has already been eliminated, so if 1.h4 hasn't been played by day two, four or six, the move must be played on day eight, making it no surprise either. Keeping on with this pattern, he concludes that the move cannot occur on day six, four or two, either.

A little tired, but with a big relief and a clear, focused mind, he walks to the chess tournament to play the first round, knowing that he cannot be surprised at all.

After drawing three games in the first three days, Fritz wins his games on day four and five.

But on day six, Chesster plays the move 1.h4, which is a devastating surprise to Fritz. He loses all other games played against Chesster, who becomes the new chess champion.

How could Chesster surprise Fritz?

This is almost more a story, than a riddle. But it is still worth thinking about the solution and its different, paradox thought-chains. Remember, this is not meant to find a clear solution.

Anyway, comments are welcome as always.

Fritz and Chesster - Part 2

Jump into chess action, move by move, to rescue Chesster from deep within King Black’s castle. Join Fritz and Bianca in a thrilling chess adventure as they enter rooms of the castle, where each challenge will help you sharpen skills and prepare for the ultimate showdown.

Fritz and Chesster - Part 3 Chess for winners

This unforgettable chess adventure is designed to advance young chess player’s skills, move by move. Discover mini-games, brain-twisters and more at every attraction. Pick up chess tips and skills as you ride in bumper cars and the Ferris wheel. Polish up your chess strategy and tactics, opening, middle game and endgame and use what you’ve learned to win. You’ll have lots of fun while you learn more about the serious business of playing – and winning – chess!

The powerful queens solution

How to get more queens on the chessboard? The King unfortunately never thought of promoting more pawns! 

As a solution, I want to copy & paste JoshuaVGreen's answer, which is on point:

Just group the children by their position in the birth order. 1/2 of the first-borns will be Queens, 1/2 of the second-borns will be Queens, 1/2 of the third-borns will be Queens, etc., hence 1/2 of all the children will be Queens.

Correct. With the methods the King tried to use, basically nothing will change in their kingdom.


Arne Kaehler, a creative mind who is passionate about board games in general, was born in Hamburg and learned to play chess at a young age. By teaching chess to youth teams and creating chess-related videos on YouTube, Arne was able to expand this passion and has even created an online course for anyone who wants to learn how to play chess. Arne writes for the English and German news sites, but focuses mainly on content for the ChessBase media channels.


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