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I spotted this position in a new book Chess Wizardry: The New ABC of Chess Problems by John Rice (Batsford, pounds 17.99). Composed by M Caillaud and J Rotenberg, it's one of those how- on-earth-did-they-get-here puzzles. Or, to be more accurate, it's two of those puzzles.

In the first, you're told that it's the position after Black's 7th move. Black's moves are easy enough to work out, but how did White get rid of the pawn on d7? Whatever took it had to get back home again. After eliminating all other possibilities, you should hit on the right idea of using the knight on g1. The answer goes 1.Nf3 f5 2.Ne5 f4 3.Nxd7 Kf7 4.Ne5+ Kf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Ng1 Bxe2 7.f3 Qe8.

In the second puzzle, you have to reach the diagram position after White's 8th move and finding a way to lose that half-move is quite a task. Try it before reading the solution. The difficulty, as you will discover, is that White must take the pawn on d7 to let the bishop emerge, and Black can only take the e-pawn on e2 - or so it seems.

Answer: 1.e4! f5 2.e5 Kf7 3.e6+ Kf6 4.exd7 Qe8 5.d8(Q) f4 6.Qd3 Bg4 7.Q3e2 Bxe2 8.f3. Bravo!

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