In the below position, how many moves will it take for Black to be stalemated? Black moves first, and both sides are working together. Black's pawns are moving down. Have fun solving!

Zdravko Maslar, Problem 1958, Special Prize

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "both sides are working together"? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ Cooperative chess, I assume. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_chess $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 22:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @hexomino - chess.stackexchange.com/questions/8/… $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ @marsnebulasoup As far as I understand though, a draw is not the same as "black being stalemated". It's okay, I think I can envisage a scenario now at least. $\endgroup$
    – hexomino
    Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 22:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @hexomino - Yes, you're right. A stalemate occurs when a player has to move but can't legally do so. The stalemate results in a draw, and the game is over. Draws, however can be caused by other chess rules/situations (e.g. the Fifty-Move Rule/Dead Position) besides a stalemate...more here $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


I believe the solution is the following

[FEN "K1b2rk1/4pr2/1b1n1p2/5q2/3p1p2/1p5n/8/8"]\n1.... f4-f3 2.Ka8-b8 f3-f2 3.Kb8-a8 f2-f1B 4.Ka8-b8 Bf1-d3 5.Kb8-a8 Bd3-b1 6.Ka8-b8 Bb1-a2 7.Kb8-a8 Qf5-b1 8.Ka8-b8 f6-f5 9.Kb8-a8 f5-f4 10.Ka8-b8 f4-f3 11.Kb8-a8 f3-f2 12.Ka8-b8 f2-f1B 13.Kb8-a8 Rf7-f2 14.Ka8-b8 Kg8-f7 15.Kb8-a8 Kf7-e6 16.Ka8-b8 Ke6-d5 17.Kb8-a8 Kd5-c4 18.Ka8-b8 Kc4-c3 19.Kb8-a8 Kc3-b2 20.Ka8-b8 Kb2-a1 21.Kb8-a8 Rf2-b2 22.Ka8-b8 Rf8-f2 23.Kb8-a8 Bc8-f5 24.Ka8-b8 Bf5-c2 25.Kb8-a8 d4-d3 26.Ka8-b8 Bb6-e3 27.Kb8-c7 e7-e5 28.Kc7xd6 Be3-c1 29.Kd6-e6 Rf2-d2 30.Ke6-f5 e5-e4 31.Kf5-g4 Bf1-e2+ 32.Kg4xh3 e4-e3 33.Kh3-g2 Be2-d1+ 34.Kg2-f1 e3-e2+ 35.Kf1-e1 stalemate

What gives me confidence in this one is that it appears carefully crafted to only admit a single line of play.

Replay scroll down to second game. Thanks @Rewan for help with the FEN.

  • $\begingroup$ So, how did you manage to solve it? Just wondering! $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ @RewanDemontay Well, with white being down to K only, the only way for black to get stalemated is somthing involving pawns and the far end of the board. The two light-squared B's together with the P structure were suggestive and after some trying to find any stalemate at all with the given material I started suspecting that that a promotion to another light-squared B might be needed and also the the white K might play a part in plugging the right half of the choke. Once I had one working layout of the final position (with K positioned slightly differently and IIRC a N instead of the Q) ... $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ ... I started trying to get there as quickly as possible, and doing so couldn't help noticing how purposefully everything was constructed. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 9:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.