A crossword position is a legal chess position with the following property: The board can be thought of as a crossword grid where the pieces on board work as clues. Each type of piece is a clue for their own name (KING, QUEEN, ROOK, BISHOP, KNIGHT or PAWN). That is, you can fill out the empty squares with letters corresponding to the pieces' names.

You do not need to be able to fill every square of the board – only all stretches of two or more letters directly to the right or below a piece. If a word can fit both down and across from the same clue, both have to be filled.

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For example, the above is a simple crossword position. Note that neither of the bishops needs to clue the word BISHOP because no word of at least 2 letters fits below or to the right of them.

The puzzle

In the following position, white to move (and black to help), reach a crossword position on white's third move.

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  • $\begingroup$ is black being 'friendly'? $\endgroup$ – JMP Jul 2 '19 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ @JonMarkPerry Yeah, both players co-operate to make the position happen. $\endgroup$ – jafe Jul 2 '19 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ crossword tag maybe? $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jul 2 '19 at 7:18
  • $\begingroup$ @OmegaKrypton Added, thanks. $\endgroup$ – jafe Jul 2 '19 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ do we need to fill partial names? $\endgroup$ – Omega Krypton Jul 2 '19 at 7:22


 1. Rh3  bxa1=N
 2. Qxb7 Kxe5
 3. Qh1

the board looks like this:

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  • $\begingroup$ how did you move your black knight to A1? $\endgroup$ – SeaMonkey Jul 2 '19 at 8:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Didn't: promoted a new one and captured the old. $\endgroup$ – Bass Jul 2 '19 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't it also be solved before the last queen move? (Assuming we ignore that the puzzle requies 3 white moves and that we just want a crossword position) $\endgroup$ – BrainStone Sep 2 '19 at 10:33
  • $\begingroup$ @BrainStone Well, no, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the word "Queen" wouldn't fit if the queen were at b7, and even if white played Qa7 as the final move to fix that, the empty space at the bottom row would be too long for the word "Knight". $\endgroup$ – Bass Sep 3 '19 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ From my understanding of the puzzle description both would be fine. @jafe can we maybe get a little clarification on it? Because from what I understand the words don’t have to be spelled out completely (if they can’t be) (otherwise the two gap rule hardly makes sense) and it’s also never said that there can’t be any blank spaces left. Unless I’m missing something. $\endgroup$ – BrainStone Sep 3 '19 at 9:06

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