|Do you see it, too (Finally, in 1986, Averbakh saw it as well, writing: it is a creation of genius)? There's a checkmate in twenty moves, below. Apparently composed 13 centuries ago, in Babylonia, by As-Suli in the Court of Caliph Harun-ar-Rashid, as featured in the one of the earliest remaining books, entitled: The Thousand & One Arabian Nights. |
The rules of the puzzle are Shatranj, and so, the Queen is really a Firzan (both its move and attack are one move at a time, but only diagonally outwards), and not yet a Fers (with its immediate choice of a leap), its Mediaevil successor. The name stems from the Rank of the Aparzan, a Tent Commander-in-Chief of an Army.
Another rule of Shatranj at the time is that immediately prior to the appearance of a bare King position, stalemate would only occur if the side with the bare King can also immediately take sufficiently much material to strip bare both Kings. Otherwise, the side with the bare King is also checkmated.
click for larger view
The hints are that:
(i) white may make progress if it were black, in zugzwang, who was compelled to move,
(ii) there is a mirror-diagonal solution which can assist white in the pace of his progress,
(iii) is it possible in the game for a King to mate with a Queen (er... Firzan)?
Sources: Oxford Companion to Chess (terminology), and seen once as a puzzle in the Globe & Mail, of Jonathan Berry.
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