Does anybody know a nice chess puzzle, where the question states:

Exactly one piece is drawn incorrectly on this diagram; another piece must be drawn on its position. Find the incorrectly drawn piece.

One needs to make retrograde analysis of the given position and find which of all the pieces is drawn incorrectly.

I really would like to find such a puzzle.

P.S. I would rather like to find an old puzzle like this than to see you creating a new one, because:

  1. I understand that it is easy to create a simple puzzle like this. But this would be too simple.

  2. When you try to create it, it is easy to miss some combination. Meanwhile old puzzles are checked "by time".

But if you really would like to try to create a nice puzzle like this - you are welcome.

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    $\begingroup$ I've never seen a puzzle like this, but I suspect it's very hard, if not impossible, to create a puzzle where one specific piece is wrong. Usually it's the compared positions of several pieces are either valid or invalid. A simple example is having two bishops on the same color, or having three knights and eight pawns. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ @KendallFrey, you can do it. As simple example you can put one bishop in an impossible position below the pawns line. $\endgroup$
    – klm123
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ What about the possibility of the pawns being incorrect? The position can be made valid by moving one or two pawns instead of the bishop. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 14:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @KendallFrey, the question is not "which piece is in the wrong position?", it is "which piece is drawn incorrectly?". Or "which piece must look differently?" $\endgroup$
    – klm123
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ "I understand it is easy to create a puzzle like this. But this would be too simple" — FWIW, I enjoyed that little puzzle immensely! It's not entirely "simple." (The implied puzzle from that position is, "Black has just put White in check; but the checking piece has accidentally been depicted as a pawn. Find out its true identity.") $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


Raymond Smullyan, Chess Mysteries of the Arabian Knights, #3

   [fen "qn2b1Qk/pPpNpP1p/p1P3P1/rp1R3P/P1N1P1B1/8/8/8 w - - 1 1"]

One chessman is the WK in disguise. Which?

   [fen "1n2b1Qk/pPpNpP1p/p1P3P1/rp1R3P/P1N1P1B1/8/8/8 w - - 1 1"]

One chessman is the WK in disguise. The disguise is different from previous problem. Which?

Raymond Smullyan, Chess Mysteries of the Arabian Knights, #28 [fen "7K/8/8/k7/8/1N6/3B4/R7"] One of the chessman is a spy in disguise. Which is it, and what is it really?


Are you familiar with Raymond Smullyan's book The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes? I don't know if it contains exactly the kind of puzzle you're looking for. There are different kinds in the book, and most that I remember are trying to reconstruct the moves in a game from an unlikely or absurd position. Some are more subtle - for example, determining merely from the pieces on the board whether it is legal to castle. I don't remember if there is one that exactly meets your specification. But it is marvelously entertaining.

  • $\begingroup$ the puzzles you describe here is basically definition of "retrograde analysis puzzle", there are huge number of them, but I need very specific category. $\endgroup$
    – klm123
    Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 18:38
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ There are a few puzzles like this in Smullyan's The Chess Mysteries of the Arabian Nights: the ones related to spies. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 13:33

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