Friday, March 19, 2010

Hazel's Mind Bender

Since I'm in a rush, you get an easy one today...

During a chess game, Mary delivers a check, but her opponent's king does not move. Furthermore, no pieces block the check, and there are no captures. However, the game is not over after this move (not checkmate, stalemate, etc.). How is this possible?

Two possible answers:

(1) This is a correspondence game, and Mary sent a monetary check (cheque) along with her move...possibly to pay an entry fee or as a gift for her opponent. She did not "check" her opponent's king.

(2) They are playing take-me, or some other variant that does not require the king to be on the board.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hazel's Mind Bender

Not too tough...

Freddie is a talented chess player. After only three years, he is close to reaching master rating, yet he claims to have never touched a (chess) piece in his life. All his games are played in front of his opponent, and since he is a quiet boy, he never says his moves out loud. How is this possible?

Answer: Freddie must be very shy. Over the three years, he has only played against one opponent, his computer. Although he plays in front of his "opponent", he never "touches" the pieces on the screen. Instead, he simply clicks and drags them.

Seeing that his rating is limited to his computer-playing abilities, it is debatable whether or not his talent is overestimated (it is difficult to reach master rating within three years of actual tournament play).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hazel's Mind Bender

This one is a little more straightforward...

The people of Chesstown decide to set a record. They want to participate in the longest (chess) tournament held within 1 day. They elect the cafe owner to organize the event. At exactly 12:00 am on Sunday, the owner tells everyone to begin their games. Some good games, some bad games, some really bad games, but what can you expect over such a long day? Finally, the owner glances at the clock, which reads 11:59 pm. He stops all the games and declares the tournament over.

The next morning, the owner contacts the folks at Guinness World Records. They are very impressed. However, just as the owner prepares to announce the news to the town, he receives a call. "I'm sorry, but from the information you have provided us, your tournament does not qualify for the record. You see, your tournament ended on Monday, not Sunday." How is this possible?

- the cafe owner's clock is a standard analog (like the ones you see in classrooms)
- the clock never malfunctioned, and did not stop during the day
- no one tampered with the clock
- a tournament is considered to have started and stopped in the ways mentioned above (and thus, cleaning up and incomplete games are not a factor).

Do you have the answer? ...if not, you're going to be quite upset (just as the town must have been)...


Answer: The cafe owner forgot to "spring forward" for daylight savings. His starting time was correct, because daylight savings begins around 2 am. However, his ending time was actually 12:59 am on Monday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hazel's Mind Bender

Better think twice...

More than 30 men are in a chess tournament. For each of the men to play in at least one standard chess game, what is the least number of games required?

Answer: One. These "men" are chessmen, and there are 32 of them "playing" on a single chessboard.

Told you to think twice...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hazel's Mind Bender

You're gonna love this bender...

In a chess tournament, none of the players win any games, yet there is a clear first place. How is this possible?

(Assume there are no full point byes/forfeits.)

Answer: Only one player showed up.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hazel's Mind Bender

How about this one?

Two players are playing a regular chess game against one another. They are using a standard 8 by 8 square board. The only valuable piece left on the board is a single rook. The player with the rook lifts it, places it down, and declares "Checkmate!". However, the rook is neither on the same file nor the same rank as the king. How is this possible?

Three possible answers:

The tricky answer: "The king" referred to in the question is not the one which is checkmated. A sample position: white king b6, white rook c8, black king a8. The white king is neither on the same file nor the same rank as the white rook, yet that is irrelevant to the fact that the black king is checkmated.

The silly answer: The "lifted" rook was already off the board (the player was simply playing around with it while he was thinking) . The actual checkmating rook was not lifted, but instead, simply shifted to the mating position.

The really silly answer: The two players have no idea how to play chess?! Silly, but not impossible...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hazel's Mind Bender

Can you figure it out?

One bright, sunny day, a cafe owner decided to hold a chess tournament. In order to promote some excitement, he chose a blitz (5-minute) time control. The tournament was fairly successful, with a number of players of different age and skill level. As the cafe owner made his way through the crowd, he noticed one player staring intensely at the board. The game had already begun, and the clock was ticking. Ten minutes later, he was still staring at the board, yet neither his flag nor his opponent's flag had fallen. Assuming the clocks were functioning properly (with no lags), and clocks were not stopped during a game, how is this possible?

Note: Also assume the game was won on time.

Answer: The player watching the game had already finished his round, having checkmated his opponent (or vice versa) before either flag fell. An eager chess enthusiast, he went over to watch his friend's game, which was still in progress. When the game ended, the player reviewed it with his friend, and thus, was still staring at the same board ten minutes later!

The cafe owner probably noticed because he wanted to start the next round :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

So Proud!!!

Congrats to all teams who participated in the Ontario Team Tournament this weekend!

(and so proud of my Seneca students!)

Here are the results for K-3 and K-6:

1st - Seneca Hill 3A
2nd - Upper Canada College A
3rd - Palmerston

1st - Denlow
2nd - Crosby 2
3rd - Seneca Hill 6A

These teams will attend the Ontario-Quebec match in Kingston later this spring. Good luck!