The mysterious man motioned Walter into a small room. "Here", he said, "is where we test how smart our applicants are." Walter died inside. He had been told that the applications were tough - after all, being part of first contact with another species was important, and Earth only wanted the best of the best to represent them - but this interview was brutal.

"Do you see this screen?", the man said. He gestured to the far part of the room. Walter looked up, and saw what appeared to be a green screen with eleven white arrows on it. "Yes..." Walter replied. "Okay", said the man, "this is how this is going to work." He produced a stylus from his lower pocket. "You can use this stylus to draw an arrow on the screen - here's an example." The man drew a twelfth arrow on the screen, in a seemingly random spot. He then walked over and handed the stylus to Walter. "What do I have to do?", Walter asked, getting increasingly nervous. "It's easy", said the man, "All I want you to do, is to draw a thirteenth arrow, to finish this." Walter immediately wanted to ask a thousand questions. What was this about? How can you 'finish' a bunch of arrows? What is 'this'? The man, however, had already left the room.

Walter stared at the screen in front of him.


Where should he put the thirteenth arrow?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Clever puzzle, but this would be a terrible job interview question. $\endgroup$
    – Rob Watts
    Dec 22, 2014 at 20:17
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Shouldn't it be Where should he have put the thirteenth arrow?, because he is dead? $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2014 at 22:08
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ When I read the third sentence, I thought you meant he died inside the room. Brutal indeed. $\endgroup$
    – Ypnypn
    Dec 23, 2014 at 5:06

1 Answer 1


The answer is

Nd5 checkmate, in others words draw an arrow starting from arrow 7 and extend in the same direction.
The arrows represent chess moves. enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You're too fast... :P $\endgroup$
    – Tryth
    Dec 22, 2014 at 5:18
  • 24
    $\begingroup$ Like an arrow :D $\endgroup$
    – McMagister
    Dec 22, 2014 at 6:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I only caught on that the pieces all move Up, Down, Up, Down, but I guess that is how Chess is usually played (besides backwards moves of course). $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2014 at 22:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wow, that's a short game of chess! I didn't know we can checkmate the king using only two knights and one bishop (with some black pieces) $\endgroup$
    – justhalf
    Dec 23, 2014 at 12:16
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @justhalf See the [Immortal Game](en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortal_Game). It features one on the finest checkmates I've ever seen. EDIT: Is it my mobile or why doesn't markdown work? $\endgroup$
    – ThreeFx
    Dec 23, 2014 at 19:46

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