Monday 16 March 1998
The logic behind the solution is remarkable: White cannot mate without covering the d6, b6 and b5 squares, and his king alone cannot do that. Since b4 or d4 cannot be played until the final move, it is essential for White to free his f-pawn, which means capturing on f3 with his king. But Kxf3 is impossible until all the pieces protecting it have been eliminated - and the knight on g1 cannot be taken until the rook on g4 is gone. That takes care of the first 119 moves of the solution: 1.Ke1, 2.Kd1, 3.Kc1, 4.Kb1, 5.Ka1, 6.Bb1, 7.Ka2, 8.Ka3, 9.Ka4, 10.Ka5, 11.Ka6, 12.Ka7, 13.Kb8, 14.Kc8, 15.Kd7, 16.Ke8, 17.Kf8, 18.Kg8, 19.Kh7, 20.Kg6, 21.Kh5, 22.Kxg4; the king then retraces its path, returning to a1 at move 38, then 39.Ba2, 40.Kb1 and 45.Kxg1; next in line is the rook on h3, which involves another circuit ending at move 69, followed by turning round again and capturing the bishop on h1 at move 94. With h2 still under Black's control, White must again go the long way round to reach Kxf3 at move 119. After that, the remaining moves are 120.Ke3, 121.f4, 122.f5, 123.fxe6, 124.e7, 125.exd8=Q, 126.Qxc7, 127.Qb8 and finally 128.b4 mate.
The striking thing about such compositions (and this one is, I believe, the longest of its type) is that none of the early captures alter the fact that the white king has one and only one route through the minefield of black pieces. And even after all the carnage is completed, there is still only one nine-move sequence leading to mate at the end.
Life & Style blogs
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Licence fee: What is the BBC charge – and how will the changes affect you?
- 3 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...