There was a deathly hush in the saloon bar of the Lazy Queen, so quiet you could hear an isolated pawn drop. The Karpo Kid and the Kaspo Kid were having a chessboard shoot-out.

When they reached the diagram position, the Karpov Kid, playing White, said: "It's checkmate, Kaspo." But before he could make his next move a shot rang out sending his night flying upwards from g8. Another bullet his it between the eyes. "I don't see no mate," said Kaspo, his gun still smoking.

"My mistake," smiled Karpo. "I meant to say it's mate in two." Then another two shots reduced his e-pawn to splinters. "Where's that mate?" asked Kaspo, and Karpo replied: "Just three moves away." But no more than a second later, his e-pawn was sawdust.

"Mate in four," said Karpo triumphantly, "and by my recknin' you're out of bullets." Then the saloon doors swung open to reveal a tall figure. "I annul this entire contest," said the Kampo Kid. But without exchanging a glance, the Karpo Kid and the Kaspo Kid both shot him.

Answers: 1) 1.Nf6. 2)1.Rf7. 3) 1.Rf3 gxf3 2.g8(Q) g4 3.Qd5. 4)1.Nf3 gxf3 2.Kxf3 g4+ 3.Ke4 Kg5 4.Rf5.