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Inspired by @ExcitedRaichu's puzzles yesterday; I decided to write one of my own. Good luck to you all, and I hope you have fun!


I sat down at a table in the park this morning and noticed a score sheet from a chess match was left behind; however, due to the rain it was torn in multiple places and portions of white and black's moves were missing or unreadable. Can you tell me what moves each made?

White's Moves

1) e3
2) Unreadable
3) Bb5+
7) Nxf3
8) gxh3
9) Unreadable
10) Ne5
12) Nf4
15) Unreadable
16) Nxg6
22) Rxe7#

Black's Moves

4) Qd7
5) Qg4
6) Unreadable (Aside from the number 3)
11) g5
13) Bxd2+
14) Unreadable
16) gxh3
17) Na6
18) Unreadable
19) Ne4+
20) Ng3
21) Unreadable


Hints

The black side player isn't very knowledgeable and plays without thinking ahead. Their opening appears to be a good defensive strategy but they don't really take full advantage of it. They are definitely taking a heavily offensive approach, but without thinking ahead this will be their downfall; plus it forces white to make movements that wouldn't naturally make sense in their plan.

Hint 1: I believe the second move is:

White; Qf3. Black; d6.

Hint 2: I believe the first move is:

White; e3. Black; Nf6.

Hint 3: I believe the sixth move is:

White; h3. Black; Qxf3.


Bonus Questions

  • What strategy did white open with?
  • What strategy did black open with?
  • Which movements caused the downfall of black?
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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Easiest +1 of my life. :) $\endgroup$ – Excited Raichu Oct 3 '18 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ For 16) xh3, is this supposed to represent the fact that we don't know what piece it is, or that it's a pawn capture on h3? If the latter, then common notation would be to identify the pawn by its file (ie. gxh3). $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Oct 3 '18 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ @El-Guest Corrected, my apologies on that! $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Oct 3 '18 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ Does $\ast$ (ROT13) gur cbfvgvba fgneg sebz gur ortvaavat cbfvgvba bs rirel purff tnzr orsber gur svefg zbirf bs oynpx naq juvgr? $\ast$ I attempted at the puzzle, and it appears so with the first few moves DVL2 $\color{darkorange}{\bigstar}$ :P $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Oct 3 '18 at 21:26
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexandrSukharev : It doesn't seem so. Black's first move is not "unreadable" but included in the hints. For White's ninth, it is the opposite. $\endgroup$ – Evargalo Oct 11 '18 at 9:10
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One solution among thousands. Note that a.l. (ad libidum) means "any move that doesn't interfere", for instance Rh1-g1-h1 for White and Ra8-b8-a8 for Black.

1. e3 d6
2. a4 Bh3
3. Bb5+ c6
4. Ra3 Qd7
5. Rd3 Qg4
6. Rxd6 Qf3
7. Nxf3 g6
8. gxh3 Bh6
9. Re6 Bxe3
10. Ne5 Nf6
11. Nd3 g5
12. Nf4 g4
13. a.l. Bxd2+
14. Kxd2 Rg8
15. a.l. Rg6
16. Nxg6 gxh3
17. a.l. Na6
18. a.l. a.l.
19. a.l. Ne4+
20. Ke1 Ng3
21. a.l. a.l.
22. Rxe7#

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  • $\begingroup$ Your movements on black side for numbers 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 18, 21 are wrong. Your movements on white side for numbers 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 are wrong. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Oct 9 '18 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ @ElGuest That would be a very bad way of giving instructions. I have just looked at the hints and they give more moves. I see no reason not to include these moves directly in the questions scoresheet. $\endgroup$ – Evargalo Oct 9 '18 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ What Evargalo is saying is that they have done so as written — they do not believe that the solution is unique as written, @PerpetualJ. The hints provided are the only thing that stands in the way of this being a correct solution. $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Oct 9 '18 at 17:00
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    $\begingroup$ @PerpetualJ : I was one of those who may want to attempt to solve without the hints and as El-Guest explained, I felt I had succeeded. If the puzzle is different from what you indicated, you should edit the original question accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Evargalo Oct 10 '18 at 7:26
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    $\begingroup$ @PerpetualJ : to explain the problem differently: if you found a tattered scoresheet as in the story, how can you know which reconstructed game is "right" or "wrong" ? Even more to point, how can the solver know that ? $\endgroup$ – Evargalo Oct 10 '18 at 9:38
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Another potential solution which satisfies the additional hints:

1. e3 Nf6
2. Qf3 d6
3. Bb5+ c6
4. a3 Qd7
5. e4 Qg4
6. h3 Qxf3
7. Nxf3 Bxh3
8. gxh3 g6
9. a4 d5
10. Ne5 Bh6
11. Nd3 g5
12. Nf4 g4
13. Nh5 Bxd2+
14. Kxd2 Rg8
15. Nf4 Rg6
16. Nxg6 gxh3
17. Ra3 Na6
18. Rd3 Nc5
19. Rxd5 Ne4+
20. Kd1 Ng3
21. Re1 h2
22. Rxe7#

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Works just fine. Obviously, even with the extra constraints named 'hints' there are still hundreds or thousands of solutions. $\endgroup$ – Evargalo Oct 9 '18 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ @Evargalo indeed, I still have at least a couple of waiting moves built in to this solution. I like your answer as well. $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Oct 9 '18 at 19:53
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Haven't been able to crack this yet, there are just so many possibilities. But some notes.

Unless black is opening with some silly sacrifice, I think the 8. gxh3 move has to be a response to a bishop taking a white knight on h3. That would imply that 7. Nxf3 is in fact white's queenside knight hopping in via d2 and not the kingside knight.

Also, after 3. Bb5+ black can't block on d7 since the queen makes use of that square on move 4. So it has to be either d6 or Nd6. I think the latter, because otherwise white is leaving the bishop hanging (there's not enough time to both get the queenside knight to f3 and get the bishop safe).

White's fourth move could be 4. d4 as well (although it would be odd for black to play 5...Qg4 in that case, ignoring the threat of 6. d5 which wins the knight).

Not sure about black's first move at this point. 1...e5 comes to mind as a natural choice, but white's 10. Ne5 seems to rule that out. At some point the e-file surely needs to open up to allow 22. Rxe7#, and the most natural way to do that is with ...e5 d4 exd4 exd4.

White's 11th move has to be Nd3 to allow hopping from e5 to f4 (Ng6 would be the other choice, but then black couldn't play 11...g5). So the d3 pawn has to move out of the way on move 9, and since this threatens the black knight I think 9...d5 is the response. (And if the black pawn stayed at d6, white's 10. Ne5 would make no sense.)

Black has to do something about the attack on the knight on 10. Ne5, so I think black's tenth move is 10...Ne7, implying that they've played e6 on move 8.

So up to move 12:
1. e3 ?
2. Qf3 d6
3. Bb5+ Nc6
4. d3 Qd7
5. Nd2 Qg4
6. Nh3 Qxf3
7. Nxf3 Bxh3
8. gxh3 e6
9. d4 d5
10. Ne5 Ne7
11. Nd3 g5
12. Nf4

I have a hard time justifying 12. Nf4 right after black has played g5. Isn't that just giving up a knight...? To be continued...

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  • $\begingroup$ Starting off, your movements for black at numbers 3, 8, and 10 are incorrect; your movements for white at numbers 4, 5, 6, 9, and 11 are incorrect. To continue, you're thinking of black side as a knowledgeable opponent where they are not. The black side player is beginner level and is playing heavy offense. Though, to give some insight, black's first move is Nf6 which would naturally be a good defense as kingside pawn is a heavy weakness; however, as I stated black side isn't a very good player and isn't thinking ahead. $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Oct 9 '18 at 13:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Okay, I see. I tried to limit the amount of options by making some assumptions, but seem to have picked the incorrect ones. Back to the drawing board... $\endgroup$ – jafe Oct 9 '18 at 16:20

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