The 5-Move Chess Problem That Was So Hard Even Garry Kasparov Couldn't Figure It Out

As you may have seen earlier, my colleague Joe Weisenthal found a fascinating chess puzzle posted on eminent chess expert Susan Polgar’s blog.

The problem was solved in a fascinating way.

In the aftermath, chess expert Mig Greengard — who is an ally of legend Garry Kasparov’s — threw his hat into the ring with this doozy of a problem:

Well, evidently Kasparov was rather familiar with this problem, because he followed up in a tweet:

So we just had to take a look.

The answer is available on the internet — we found it on this random match page on — but it’s definitely worth thinking about.

Want to know how to pull it off? See below.

For starters, this by definition has to be a weird game.

This kind of stuff doesn’t happen when players are acting rationally.

But by and large this is an enchanting bit of Chess CSI, so let’s dive in.

Move 1: White moves pawn to e4, per the problem constraints.

Move 1: Black moves knight to f6.

Move 2: White moves pawn to f3, so far so good.

Move 2: Black takes pawn with knight. Now it’s beginning to get weird.

Move 3: White, rather than taking knight with pawn, instead moves queen to e2.

Move 3: Black’s knight moves to g3.

Move 4: White moves queen to e7, taking a pawn and putting the king in check.

Move 4: Black handles the situation, takes queen with queen and puts white in check.

Move 5: White makes a final blunder, moves king to f2.

Move 5: Black knight takes rook. Checkmate.

So that was weird.

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