It’s so tied in to the rules of chess that I only really ‘discovered it’ (rather than ‘invented it’, per se): but unless you know better, I’m laying claim to the following as the Best Chess Problem Ever:-
Can you construct a legal eight-move game ending in smothered mate with Black’s king on a8?
If you too can find the awesome eight move solution, email me either of White’s two possible 5th moves and I’ll add your name to the Hall of Fame below!!! Alternatively, if this has been discovered before (or if you’re smart enough to find a parallel solution!), email me and let me know too (I don’t mind!) Enjoy!
Just to get you started, here are twelve different nine-move smothered mates on a8 I constructed.
White gets rid of the b7 pawn
1. c4 d6 2. Qb3 Kd7 3. Nf3 Kc6 4. Qxb7+ Kxb7 5. Ne5 a6 6. Nxf7 Ra7 7. Nxd8+ Ka8 8. Ne6 Bb7 9. Nxc7#
White gets rid of the a7 pawn
1. d3 d5 2. Be3 Kd7 3. Bxa7 Kc6 4. Bc5 Ra6 5. Bxe7 Kb6 6. Bxd8 Ka7 7. Nc3 Ka8 8. Nb5 Ra7 9. Nxc7#
White gets rid of the a8 rook
1. Nc3 c6 2. Na4 Qb6 3. Nxb6 Kd8 4. Nxa8 Na6 5. Nb6 Kc7 6. Nd5+ Kb8 7. h3 Ka8 8. h4 Nb8 9. Nc7#
White gets rid of the b8 knight and d8 queen
1. d4 d6 2. Bg5 Kd7 3. Bxe7 Kc6 4. Bxd8 b6 5. Bxc7 Kb7 6. Bxb8 Rxb8 7. Nc3 Ka8 8. Nb5 Bb7 9. Nc7#
Black castles long and buries himself/herself in the corner
1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Qd6 3. Bxd6 Bf5 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. Nb5 O-O-O 6. h4 Kb8 7. h5 Ka8 8. h6 Nb8 9. Nxc7#
Black castles long, White gets rid of the b8 knight
1. Nf3 d5 2. Ne5 Qd6 3. Nc6 Bf5 4. Nxb8 Qe6 5. Na6 O-O-O 6. Nxc7 Kb8 7. Nb5 Ka8 8. h3 Rb8 9. Nc7#
Black castles long, White gets rid of the c8 bishop
1. g3 d5 2. Bh3 Qd6 3. Bxc8 Nc6 4. Bh3 Qe6 5. Nc3 O-O-O 6. Nb5 Kb8 7. a3 Ka8 8. a4 Nb8 9. Nxc7#
White’s a-pawn and rook clear the way for a mate on b6
1. a4 b5 2. axb5 d5 3. b6 Kd7 4. Rxa7 Kc6 5. Nc3 Rxa7 6. Nxd5 Kb7 7. bxc7 Ka8 8. h3 Bb7 9. Nb6#
White bishop singlehandedly clears the way for a mate on b6
1. d3 d5 2. Be3 Kd7 3. Bxa7 Kc6 4. Bd4 Ra6 5. Be5 Kb6 6. Bxc7+ Ka7 7. Nc3 Ka8 8. Nxd5 Ra7 9. Nb6#
White’s bishop gets rid of the a8 rook, while the g2 pawn underpromotes and mates on c7
1. g4 d6 2. Bg2 b6 3. Bxa8 Kd7 4. Bc6+ Kxc6 5. g5 Kb7 6. g6 Ka8 7. gxf7 Qe8 8. fxe8=N Bb7 9. Nxc7#
White’s bishop clears the long diagonal
1. g3 d6 2. Bg2 Kd7 3. Bxb7 Qe8 4. Bxa8 h6 5. Bc6+ Kxc6 6. Nc3 Kb7 7. Nb5 Ka8 8. h3 Bb7 9. Nxc7#
White’s queen clears the a-file, while the c-pawn underpromotes to a knight and mates
1. c4 d5 2. cxd5 Kd7 3. d6 Kc6 4. dxc7 b6 5. Qa4+ Kb7 6. Qxa7+ Rxa7 7. cxd8=N+ Ka8 8. Ne6 Bb7 9. Nc7#
What on earth could improve on any of these lines? Find the answer and I’ll happily add your name below! Happy hunting!
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a8 Smothered Mate Solver Hall Of Fame
(Your name here!)