It was a bright sunny day of the sort that we occasionally get in this part of the world (it was the fifth Friday in March). In the park was a van advertising its wares under the banner "Hyper Ices", and that's where I met my friend Megan, who was wearing a beautiful light summer dress.
"What lovely hot weather we've been having", I said.
"Yes -- my husband and I have got the table out on the patio. The other day we had a game of chess out there."
"Didn't know you played chess."
"Well, not very well -- he beat me, as usual. He took a photo shortly before checkmating me. I've got a copy of it here."
Megan retrieved her mobile from one of the many pockets of her shoulder-bag, and showed me. Now, however good her husband was at chess, he wasn't all that good at photography -- how washed out the colours were in that bright sunlight! There was Megan, wearing a dress in white and gold (or at least I think those were its colours -- it was hard to tell), and there was the board.
I could tell which way round it was because it was one of those with file-letters and rank-numbers round the edge, but... I couldn't tell which of the chessmen were white and which were black.
"Yes, it does look like you're in a tricky position" I said, as I pondered the position.
"Honestly, how could I have let him get into that position?" she replied -- then it struck me -- I could work the colours out and also a bit of the previous play.
"Anyway by that stage I knew I was losing," she went on, "and he mated me two moves later." I didn't know that before, but, yes, I could see that there was a way a checkmate could happen that soon.
- What colour was each unit?
- What were the last three single-moves?
- How could the winning side mate two (full) moves later?
The first two parts of this puzzle are a problem by Nikolaj Burljaev.