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...