# A fun lateral-thinking Chess puzzle [closed]

Which famous movie is suggested by the following chess position (by Trevor Tao)?

• Does it matter who is next to move? Feb 3 '21 at 6:23
• @Laska: That facebook group is privite so isn't any good to anyone. Also, are you suggesting that Trevor Tao created this whole puzzle (including the film reference) or did he just create the chess puzzle part? Because editing his name into brackets is ambiguous Feb 4 '21 at 16:21
• @Laska Is there anywhere else this problem has appeared, as many people don't have (nor want) a Facebook account? Feb 4 '21 at 16:43
• @Laska: Also, if you know the answer, please post an answer! This is doing my head it for 2 days now! haha Feb 4 '21 at 16:45

This is also (one would hope) not the intended answer, but I'll go with the garbagious

That would be because to my eye white can only win by

sacrificing the Last Knight in the corner:

after which there are a lot of transformers, as

white and black both promote three queens, which immediately get exchanged away at H1.

 [FEN "8/8/P7/P4N1p/P7/7p/P6p/n1K3k1 w - - 0 1"]
1.  Ng3   h4
2.  Nh1   Kxh1
3.  a7    Kg1
4.  a8=Q  h1=Q
5.  Qxh1+ Kxh1
6.  a6    Kg1
7.  a7    h2
8.  a8=Q  h1=Q
9.  Qxh1+ Kxh1
10. a5    h3
11. a6    h2
12. a7    Kg1
13. a8=Q  h1=Q
14. Qxh1+ Kxh1


The sequence seems forced: white wins this way, and any deviation from black leads to being down a queen.

After this, the white king will step to b2, confining the black's Last Knight into the corner, and the final pawn is free to march to a8.

If you have a better suggestion for a movie based on the solution to the chess part (and you probably do), please drop a comment.

• I have another probably wrong answer based on this solution: this musical. Feb 2 '21 at 21:28
• Bass has found the right moves for both sides. If you get the movie I'm thinking of then you'll know it's correct :) I don't wanna give too big a hint though Feb 3 '21 at 12:07
• I'm thinking Henry VIII, based on rot13(ubj znal dhrraf jr qrpncvgngr)... Feb 3 '21 at 14:32
• For what it's worth, Lichess disagrees that this is a win for white, as the black king can catch up to the last pawn and capture it before or immediately after it promotes, leading to stalemate. (White king takes black knight, and then you're down to just king v. king) Feb 3 '21 at 17:51
• @DarrelHoffman how does that work? The king needs 7 moves to reach a8, the pawn needs 5, so even if the king goes first, the pawn is well ahead
– Bass
Feb 4 '21 at 5:37

I think this could be:

Black Hawk Down (2001)

As:

The only difference between the two sides' available pieces is a single pawn - specifically, black has one fewer...

'Hock' is a synonym for 'pawn' (as in to deposit a possession with a pawnbroker) and in some (US) accents a soundalike for 'Hawk'...

Thus black is one pawn down, giving us:

'Black Pawn Down' → 'Black Hock Down' → 'Black Hawk Down'!

• Very clever but not my intended answer! Feb 2 '21 at 19:45

Because

Both sides have one knight and one king. The plot of the movie centers around a cadre of young women in bondage (pawns) spending a night with a king (being promoted to queens) after which one queen remains. This assumes that white moves first and the game proceeds as @Bass outlines.

• Certainly seems to fit better than the other guesses... although it still seems tenuous. Feb 4 '21 at 12:41
• There's also an Argentine movie called Nueva Reinas (nine queens) which would make sense (2 queens to start and then 7 promoted), but the plot doesn't seem like much of a connection. Feb 4 '21 at 15:54
• And I wouldn't call either of these movies famous in 2021. Feb 4 '21 at 15:56
• Yeah, I found that film too but couldn't justify it. I also am trying to justify the famous part of the questrion, expecting it to be a big film. EDIT: Beat me to it with the famous comment! Feb 4 '21 at 15:57
• March of the Penguins is famous, but that doesn't relate much (yes, pawns are black or white, but they aren't both and they're monogamous, so ... the multiple queens killing each other thing doesn't work) Feb 4 '21 at 16:01

Because

1. Ng3 h4 2. Nh1 And now there are three pawns on the horse.

I already posted this in a comment, but might as well make it an actual guess:

Henry VIII (2003) (or maybe Henry VIII (1979), or even Henry VIII: Man, Monarch, Monster - last one doesn't have a date associated with it, and it's a TV series not a movie, unsure if it was officially released or not. I'm surprised there aren't more of these, and none were theatrical releases. Maybe there's some other famous Henry VIII movie that just doesn't have his name in the title?)

Explanation being:

Henry had 6 queens, most of whom didn't last for very long. In this sequence, we see 6 pawns promoted to queens and then pretty much immediately captured. (In reality, 2 of Henry's wives outlived him, but whatever - point is except for the first, none of them were queens for very long.)

These answers have been very entertaining for me, thanks everyone!

Here's my guess:

Seabiscuit (2003)

Because:

Seabiscuit was a horse who beat the 1937 Triple-Crown winner War Admiral, by 4 lengths in a 2-horse special in 1938. The White Knight on the board is Seabiscuit. The "Triple-Crown winner" is the Black King, who has 3 pawns who can promote to Queens. It takes "4 lengths" (4 moves) until White wins with a Checkmate: 1) Seabiscuit initiates with Ng3, Nb3+ 2) axb3, h1Q 3) Nxh1, Kxh1 4) a7 is Checkmate. In this "2-horse special", Seabiscuit becomes our heroic champion!

It could be

Because

The white king can pin the black knight and take it,

While the black king can force the white knight from its position by fear of pinning

The last part is a little sketchy. I haven't played chess in a while. I don't know many terms. :)

• Not sure that is classed as a "pin", as the knight is free to move, regardless of if it will be captured or not. I would be inclined to just say the knight is "trapped", although I am no expert - there may be a more specific term for it. Feb 4 '21 at 16:24
• @musefan, I agree. I have limited knowledge of chess verbiage. It's a Trap! comes to mind now, though. Feb 4 '21 at 18:20

Maybe

Because it looks like that's going to happen in the game, but it's not a definite outcome, and there are more pieces in play and many aren't required to support the idea.

Looks like time to put this thing to bed once and for all

The movie is Groundhog Day since this question was asked on 2nd February

And of course

The moves (already pointed out by several solvers) involve repeated promotions and captures on the h1 square, thus justifying the Groundhog Day theme :)

• Hmh. I think this is the least fitting of the movies suggested here.
– Bass
Feb 6 '21 at 12:20
• I'd be divorced if this was the climax from 4 days of teasing. Disappointed to say the least :( Feb 8 '21 at 15:30
• I'd think a better-fitting chess puzzle for this movie would result in a draw due to repeated board positions. Feb 8 '21 at 19:24
• Okay, I was trying to milk the fact that 2nd of February was Groundhog Day when I posted this. I was astonished to find there are many reasonable answers. File that under "another 1 of life's disappointments!" :( Feb 9 '21 at 8:22
• The difference one missing seasonal tag makes.. :-)
– Bass
Feb 10 '21 at 8:14