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My five years old pupil Magnus is really on fire !

After three wins in the first, second and third games, he is playing White today in round 4 against one of the tournament's favorites (a child who already has a Elo rating, 1070 I think).

I could not witness directly Magnus' first three games, but today I swallowed my coffee in less than thirty seconds (it was too hot, it burned my throat), hurried from the bar to the playing hall, and... alas, I was stucked in a waiting line before entering the hall because an over-zealous guard was insisting on performing full security checks on every one coming in.

I did my best to keep quiet until I could finally walk in, reached a spot from where I could see Magnus' board, and had a second of bitter disappointment: are the players already putting back the pieces on their starting squares because the game is finished ? Did I miss all the action once again ?

Hum, no, the clock is still ticking, both players seem fully concentrated, so the game is still going on ! I will finally be able to watch the end of a game of Magnus' with my own eyes ! Here is the position:

The board when I entered the hall

(The board when I entered the hall)
White: Ke1, Qd1, Ra1, Rh1, Bc1, Nb1, Ng1, Pa2, Pb2, Pc2, Pg2
Black: Ke8, Qd8, Ra8, Bf8, Bc8, Nb8, Ng8, Pa7, Pb7, Pc7, Pd7, Pe7, Ph7

Black's hand hovers over the knight on b8, hesitates, finally grabs it, brings in to a6 - but doesn't let it go; Black startles, changes his mind, the knight is released on c6, and my heart skips a beat. Magnus can mate in one move !

The thirty seconds that Magnus spends to think on his next move feel like an endless torture to me. But when I am almost collapsing, he suddently jumps on his chair, flashes a bright smile, grabs his queen, jams it on h5, and proudly announces "Checkmate!" with such a loud voice that all the other players in the hall turn their head toward him. I gasp quite loudly myself, and I realize that I had been holding my breath for all that time.

As usual, Magnus couldn't write the moves on his scroresheet but only marked them with a bar. There are ten bars in the column for White (the last one is very large, as if a checkmate deserved a bigger bar!) and nine for Black.

Because I witnessed it myself, I know that the last two moves, from the diagram above, are 9...Nb8-c6 and 10.Qd1-h5#.

Can you help me figure out what happened before ? How did they reach that weird position after White's 9th move ?


TL;DR

Find the chess game that reached the position on the board above after White's 9th move.


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  • $\begingroup$ should it be "in one move"? $\endgroup$ – Destructible Lemon Oct 22 '18 at 10:26
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    $\begingroup$ @DestructibleLemon Not sure I understand your question. You have to find 17 moves, 9 for White and 8 for Black, that lead from the start of a chess game to the diagram position. $\endgroup$ – Evargalo Oct 22 '18 at 12:02
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    $\begingroup$ I think what he means was a small edit to the text! Think I’ve fixed it now, @DestructibleLemon. $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Oct 22 '18 at 13:04
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    $\begingroup$ Oh ok, I understand now. Thanks for the edit. $\endgroup$ – Evargalo Oct 22 '18 at 13:07
  • $\begingroup$ @SteveV : Yes, of course, all the moves were legal. $\endgroup$ – Evargalo Oct 23 '18 at 14:15
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I think I have a solution

1. h4 f5
2. h5 f4
3. h6 f3
4. hxg7 fxe2
5. gxh8=Q exf1=R+
6. Ke2 Rxf2+
7. Ke1 Rxd2
8. Qd4 Rxd1+
9. Qxd1

Followed by

9... Nc6
10. Qh5#

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  • $\begingroup$ Great! You nailed it. $\endgroup$ – Evargalo Oct 23 '18 at 20:24

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