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This is adapted from a real game between GMs where white played the King's Gambit. I changed the position slightly (moved one piece) because there were actually two mates available, with one more prosaic than the other. The GM chose the less prosaic one, and I wanted to show it to you. Not crazy hard, but insanely beautiful.

White to play and mate in 3

White to play and mate in 3

Please list all the variations (there are 3).

Bonus point if you can get the game (hard since I've changed the position of one of the pieces!). I'll post the game after someone's posted the solution. Note that black still has all his pieces (excluding pawns). He'd actually lost his queen and promoted a pawn!

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Since black has many checks available, we can

exclude every white move that's not a check.

This limits our options to four possible moves. Nf7+ seems particularly promising, so

we study it for a while, lay it aside since nothing seems to immediately work, and instead, we go for the super flashy Botez Gambit!

Black has only one move that doesn't immediately end in a smothered checkmate at Nf6, so we check the checks (heh) after that move to find

1. Qe8+ Kxe8 2. Nf6+

after which we can somewhat incredibly finish with either

2. - Kf8 3. Bh6#

or

2. - Kd8 3. Nf7#

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  • $\begingroup$ How does Nf7+ not work? Nf7 Ke8; Nxd6++ (Kf8; Qf7#) Kd8; Qe8+ Rxe8; Nf7#. What am I missing? $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Sep 22 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Gareth, the question asks for mate in three. Your proposed solution is mate in four. Apart from that: Nf7+ Kd8; Nf6+ Ke8; Bh6# unless I am also missing something. $\endgroup$ Sep 22 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, yes, I can't count. Thank you. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Sep 22 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent. Imagine finding that in a game. Unfortunately, moving the queen from it's original position of f7 introduces another mate. Nf7, Nf6, Bh6. That's irksome. But great job. You even found the intended solution and not the fake one! $\endgroup$
    – Dr Xorile
    Sep 23 at 4:32

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