“How nice to have both of you in my class today,” said **ProfessorPando** to his two prize students, Zephyr and Lucian.

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“Perhaps you can put your heads together and tackle a fairly difficult problem. Sometimes, though not all the time, two heads are better than one.”

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Zephyr and Lucian smiled in agreement, yet both wondered if the Professor had really challenged them to compete against each other.

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“This next problem needs a little setup,” the Professor began. First, before anything else is said, here’s the position.

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“There are several versions of the following story. I happen to like this one, whether it’s true or not,” the Professor commenced.

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“Supposedly, this position was originally created by the great Sam Loyd. It was shown to Bobby Fischer in 1957, when Fischer was only 14 years old. The person showing Bobby the problem was former world chess champion, Dr. Max Euwe, who asked Fischer the following question.”

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Lucian wasted no time in speaking up.

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“I notice that White’s pieces are all on their original squares. Is there any reason for that?”

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Zephyr answered before the Professor could say anything.

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“Yes! Of course, there is,” Zephyr shot back. “They are where they are because that’s where Sam Loyd and Dr. Euwe put them.”

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“That’s exactly, right,” chuckled the Professor. “Indeed, that’s where they put them. But all kidding aside, did you know that Fischer supposedly solved the problem in only two minutes? Let’s see how long it’s going to take the two of you. I wonder if you can beat Bobby Fischer.”

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“Oh, and by the way. I expect you not to move the pieces, as you work together, analyzing as a team.”

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They had never done that before – that is, worked together as a team – but why not? Isn’t that what players do quite often, sit over a chessboard and analyze together?

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So they began, and they honored the professor’s stipulation. They discussed their ideas in chess notation, without moving the pieces.

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After about 10 minutes, having checked their analysis very carefully, they thought they had the answer.

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“We think we have the answer,” Zephyr spoke for the two of them. “Would you like to hear our analysis?”

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The Professor beamed back “Yes.” He added, “I hope that, since White’s pieces are all on their original squares, you stuck to principles, beginning with a good developing move.

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“Furthermore, I hope that in the final position your answer leaves me feeling a little crossed up.”

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Can you solve the problem and also explain what the Professor was hinting at?

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The team found the correct first move, **1. Bc4**. To be sure, it’s a developing move.

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Black now has two moves: (a) 1…Kf5 and (b) 1…Ke5.

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Zephyr analyzed (a) 1…Kf5 (next diagram). She found the correct response to be **2. Qh5+.** If Black then plays 2…Ke4, it’s mate by 3. Qd5#. And if Black plays 2…Kf6 instead, it’s mate by 3. Qg5#.

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Lucian analyzed (b) 1…Ke5 (next diagram). He found the correct response to be **2. Qd5+.** Black would then have to answer 2…Kf6, and White mates again by 3. Qg5#.

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Naturally, they checked their analysis with each other – again, without moving the pieces. The Professor was very pleased with their work, giving each one a Master Class Point and saying:

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“If they were here, Bobby Fischer, Max Euwe, and Sam Loyd would all approve and applaud!”

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In all the above variations, the mating position reflects a crisscross checkmate, where key diagonals are guarded by the queen and one of the bishops, functioning as a team, just like Zephyr and Lucian. That also clarifies the Professor’s attempt at humor, when he said he was feeling “a little crossed up.”

**RELATED STUDY MATERIAL**

- IM Poppabear challenges you to solve another mate in three in his video;
- BoundingOwl wants to you see even more of Fischer's genius;
- Crisscross, applesauce - more fun mates on the diagonal for you to solve!