chess William Hartston

Share
Mars is a foreign planet and they play chess differently there. Take this years girls' under-8 championships for example. Since chess on Mars is forbidden as time-wasting to any who have reached puberty, this is the highest section of their championships, though restricted to females with seven or fewer pseudopods.

The event ended in a tie for first place necessitating, according to the rules, a four-game play-off between the two best players Phobia and Dementia. The first game reached the diagram position with Phobia, playing Black, to move.

Had they been humans, of course, Black would have played 1...Qxd3 and eventually won with queen against rook. But the Martians are an advanced and co-operative civilisation and winning takes a low place in their aesthetics. In fact, Black played a move, White replied, Black played another move, and then Dementia delivered mate.

Remarkably, in the second game, with Dementia now Black, they reached an identical position, except that the piece on a6 was not a queen but a black rook. Again it was Black to play, and again White delivered mate on her second move.

In the third game, it was a black bishop on a6, and in the fourth a black knight. And in all cases, with Black moving first, White delivered mate on move two. Can you find the moves?

Answers: a) 1.Qf6 Nc5 2.Qb2 Ra4; b) 1.Rb6 Rb1 2.Rb3 Ra1; c) 1.Bc4 Ne1 2.Ba2 Nc2; d) 1.Nc5 Nc1 2.Na4 Rb3.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker / Telesales

£15000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading supplie...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales Executive - Dereham

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is proud to b...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Libby Lane, the first female bishop in the Church of England, smiles following her consecration service at York Minster in York  

Libby Lane's appointment as the first female bishop might have been understated, but its importance echoes around the world

Sally Hitchiner
The leader of Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau holding up a flag as he delivers a message  

The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11

Memphis Barker
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project