Bobby Fischer Lost 2 Bets Trying to Solve this Puzzle (Mate in 3)

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Benko also published the problem on other occasions, e.g. on page 233 of the April 1977 Chess Life & Review.

In an article dated 22 August 2005 on pages 38-39 of his dire book This Crazy World of Chess (New York, 2007) Larry Evans put the black king on e5 (a change which, curiously, does not affect the key move) and wrote:

‘Bobby Fischer once bet he could solve it in a half hour and lost. … Bobby then bet Benko he could find a second solution (called a cook) if he could study it overnight. He lost again. There is one and only one key move.’

No source or other information was given, the word ‘once’ being deemed sufficient. The same diagram and text appeared on pages 41-42 of the ‘new edition’ (Las Vegas, 2009).
On pages 581-582 of Pal Benko My Life, Games and Compositions by P. Benko and J. Silman (Los Angeles, 2003) Benko wrote that it was …

‘… the last problem I composed as a teenager. It was published many times because its original setup appealed to problem-solvers and tournament players alike.

During the Lugano Olympiad, which Bobby Fischer attended as a spectator, I made a bet with him that he couldn’t solve it in 30 minutes. As time ran out, he became irritated and demanded to see the answer. When I showed it to him, he insisted that other solutions had to exist. Naturally, this led to another bet. After more time passed, he was forced to settle both wagers. The teenage Pal Benko never would have guessed how much mileage he was going to get out of that little problem.’

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  1. On lighter note if Chuck Norris was playing with black, he would checkmate white in 3 moves…:)

  2. WTF this took me 5 minutes (you don't have to believe me, but I paused the video and just solved it.

  3. how can a super GM like Fischer miss this

  4. I literally solved this in the 5 seconds he was telling me to pause. I'm shocked but that was ridiculously easy….. (I'm an 800 lol)

  5. How did Bobby not figure this out in 1/2 hour?

  6. I couldn't do it until I saw bishop C4. I immediately paused it and solved it 😁

  7. as a 1730 rated IRL player, I solved this in about 15-20 minutes (no help from solution). I solved it by realizing a few things about the position:
    1. in 3 moves, white cannot play a move with black's king on the edge of the board (black cannot make it in time), so we must mate black in the middle
    2. when a king kisses up against the diagonal of a bishop, the queen has that nice mating square, but must be protected (this is the "slicing mate" as agadmator called it)
    3. the black king only has 2 moves in the current position

    with these facts, I continued by trying to determine a good way of setting up a defense of the queen so that it could hit one of those vital squares, but everything seemed to be thwarted because black wasn't forced into any particular one, and cutting off the king with something like B-h3, while it does cut off a square for the king, it does not even allow the black king to the square we want, f5, which then would be mate if we get Q-e6, so eventually (after also considering other forcing moves like Q-h5, Q-d3, B-g2, Q-d6, even Q-d7), I determined that the bishops just don't work well with the queen in the places that they are, so that needed to change. Then I realized, hitting diagonals that have squares which are knight moves away from each other is a great setup for that "slicing" checkmate that I had realized was probably necessary. Then it was just a matter of calculating the two lines that black can play, and now I can say I'm better than Bobby Fischer… sorta

    again, only a 1730. I did lose to Andrew Tang once though. That should count for something, right?

  8. Queen to D6, 2 mate2 in 2, bishop to C2(stall) for mate in 3

  9. "You might remember when the queen checking and the bishop are 3 squares apart it is checkmate!"

    Me: giving check with the queen
    Opponent: King takes Queen!

  10. As a complete amateur, I found the Bc4 Qf3 combo surprisingly easy to find. I guess even grandmasters have their off-days.

  11. I solved it on the first look though I am bad at chess😁

  12. 1. Bg2+ Kf5 2. Qd5+ Kg4 3. Qg5 Mate? did i do something wrong?

  13. Bishop c4 was immediately in my head, because you have to limit the kings options to move

  14. Lol i saw bc4 im better then bobby fisher

  15. video starts at 3:17 for all those that wanna cut through all the filler

  16. Took me 30 seconds. Why am i not world champ yet.

  17. I could not solve it, because I tried to make the black win…

  18. White Bishop to C3
    Queen to B3
    Black Bishop to B2


  20. There is also Mate in 2 with Qd6, Kf3 and Qf4 if black blunders.

  21. The first solution that I found was a mate in 4 where only one piece for white was moved. And I think it, too, only has one solution (one starting move, ending in the same position every time). Anyone wanna have a crack at that?

  22. Somehow I found the bishop move. Don't know how. But somehow I did

  23. Always fun to watch your videos.
    In this one you could have added a quick text/note since you forgot to mention the task for us newbies.

  24. It's a trick question: black resigned after 1 move.

  25. 1. Bh3 Ke5 2. Bb2 Kf4 is extremely close to working if only the queen could move to e3…

  26. I paused the video at the begging and tried to find the solution as black for like 20 minutes; FML

  27. Uuhh I’m not too good at chess but I solved it? Does that make me like superior? Or ?

  28. "the dark square bishop covers the dark squares"
    -agadmator, 2019

  29. Don’t forget to tell your friends at the bar & the library that has to be mate in 3

  30. I solved with that queen line in 1 minute and I was so proud of myself, but after Kf5 I did Bg2, then Kg4 and for some reason I thought at this point that my queen is on the 5th line so mate on Qg5. Don't experience that disappointment when I realized that my queen is d6 so it's mate in 4…

  31. Right.
    1. I found mate in 2 in 8 minutes. Qd6, if King blunders f3 then Qf4#.
    2. 3 minutes after, stalemate in 3. Qd6 Kf5, Bh3+ Ke4, Ke2.
    3. 36 minutes later I found a position which I could reach in 3 moves, which mates the king! Bc4, Qd5 and Bg5.
    And the secret to this strategy is… …that the King stays exactly where he is!

  32. DON'T BELIEVE IT!! Bc4 was frequently a first choice for after any pawn and/or knight moves.

  33. I found a mate in 2 but it’s not forced and requires the black king to go one square over another.

  34. @7:27 "…Fischer tried to solve it, for the entire night, and he failed"
    Fischer did not fail.

    A failure is when an attempted goal has not been accomplished. But this pertains to goals that are possible; goals that have a solution.
    If a goal is impossible; if it has no solution, then concluding that someone failed to obtain a non-existent solution is undeserved.

    Stating that someone failed at the impossible is an inappropriate aspersion on that person's character.

    Bobby Fischer did not fail at solving that unsolvable puzzle, any more than he failed at throwing a baseball 3 times around the planet.

    Consider this:
    If your teacher gave you a math test, and it had problems that had no solutions, and you got an "F" on your test, would agree that you earned your "F" grade?

    I know that agadmator meant no malice. I am just making sure that Bobby's memory is not unfairly tainted.

  35. My 1200 self did solve this, but you have to realize you're going for a specific type of mate, and once you do it's a lot simpler of a puzzle. Qh5 is definitely the wrong idea and I spent way to long calculating that. I might have also seen this puzzle before and something in the back of my mind clicked, but it definitely not an impossible one.

  36. I think the point of the position is that you must deliver mate without the use of the edge of the board, which then means you must create the Queen/Bishop mating box.

  37. Somehow I don’t believe Fischer couldn’t solve this puzzle! That in itself is very puzzling 🤔. It took me 3 seconds to come to this conclusion.

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