The "Money" problem: Can you solve it?

by ChessBase
1/8/2019 – “The best things in life are free.” This puzzle came to us by way of Joaquim Crusats of the Spanish Society of Chess Problemists (SEPA). It's a problem that, unlike money itself, you really can take with you. Perhaps you'd like to print it out and bring it with you to your next chess club meeting? We tweeted this out last week, but now present the solution.

Powerplay 26: Checkmate Challenge — essential knowledge Powerplay 26: Checkmate Challenge — essential knowledge

Checkmate. That's the aim of the game. There are numerous ways to checkmate the enemy king, but there are common patterns that recur over and over again, and having these at our mental fingertips is essential for when we want to finish the game.


A different sort of puzzle

Here's an unconventional test for your solving skills. The solution is below, but if you would like to take a crack at it first on a chess board of your own. Here, again, are the rules:

1) Place the following six pieces on an empty board on adjacent squares on the same rank:

Starting position

Notice that each piece is assigned a letter — that's key!

2) Make a legal sequence of nine half-moves (White moves first) until you spell "MONEY" adjacent squares:


3) Note that the sequence must include the capture of either the white knight or the black pawn. But which?

Need a further hint? Here are a few tips courtesy our Study of the Month columnist Siegfried Hornecker:

First of all, there is a pawn in the line. As the diagram goes towards players and there are no special rules given for those cases, the initial position won't be on the 8th or 1st rank. Second, the position has a unique solution, meaning that it will utilize the full breadth of the board and also either the full height (why would it?) or, more likely, make use of one of two special rules: Pawn double step or pawn promotion. So it is likely that the initial position is on the 7th or 2nd rank.

As the full board might be utilized, it is a good idea to start checking for solutions with the arrangement of pieces on a7-f7, c7-h7, a2-f2 and c2-h2.

The Bottom Line

The solution doesn't grow on trees, but you can find it below. Last chance to solve it on your own! Meanwhile, here's a song that Magnus Carlsen likes:

Solution (spoiler alert!)

If you want to work it out yourself, stop here!


Thanks again to Joaquim Crusats of the Spanish Society of Chess Problemists (SEPA) for sending our readers this challenge.


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JoshuaVGreen JoshuaVGreen 1/9/2019 12:50
Having wasted a night on this before coming up with the intended solution the following morning (under the assumption that you had screwed up), I must say that this problem is misstated and unfair and that it was rather sloppy to put your fans through this. My thoughts are ROT13ed below, just in case you find an accurate way to present this.

1. Ba gur jro cntr, lbh jebgr "Abgr gung gur frdhrapr zhfg vapyhqr gur pncgher bs rvgure gur juvgr xavtug be gur oynpx cnja." Guvf frrzrq gb pynevsl gur nzovthvgl V abgr va zl arkg cbvag. Nynf, vg'f fvzcyl JEBAT -- arvgure bs gubfr cvrprf vf pncgherq va gur fbyhgvba.

2. Rira vs jr vtaber gur nobir oyhaqre (juvpu jnf nofrag sebz gur Gjvggre irefvba), gurer'f fgvyy na vaurerag nzovthvgl -- qbrf gur Oynpx cnja ergnva vgf yrggre nsgre cebzbgvba? V gubhtug vg jnf ernfbanoyr gb nffhzr "Lrf" nf gur yrggref zhfg pyrneyl zbir nybat jvgu gur bgure cvrprf, ohg bs pbhefr lbh vagraqrq sbe gur cnja gb cebzbgr naq punatr vgf yrggre sebz L gb B. Guvf qbrfa'g ernyyl frrz gb or whfgvsvrq ng nyy, hayrff lbh guvax nyy Oynpx Xavtugf fubhyq unir gur yrggre B, ohg guvf (ng yrnfg) vfa'g cneg bs gur ceboyrz fgngrzrag.
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 1/8/2019 12:32
Nice but booooring word. And no surprise. I want the word ta be revealed at the end.