, Muskogee, OK

October 31, 2013

The grand and the vulgar, all from the dung beetle

By Eric Morrow
Chess Corner

White to move and mate in three

Scientists have recently discovered that a dung beetle’s fate is in the stars. That is, the feces-eating insect rolls its prized food source in the direction of the Milky Way. This shows that scientists, like chess players, find new discoveries in both high and low places. With this hint in mind, please try to find how white mates black in three moves before the reading the following solution.

White begins with a discovered attack or check, as white’s knight hops to e6 and captures black’s pawn. The knight unblocks the white queen’s attack upon the enemy liege. The king must retreat to one of three squares.

If the black king retreats to f6, white’s other knight joins the fray and mates from e4.

If the black king retreats to h7, the white queen captures the g7 pawn with the support of its knight and mates black.

If the black king retreats to h6, the white queen again takes the g7 pawn, checking black and forcing the king to h5. The white queen slides over to g5 with the support of its knight and mates black.

This week’s lesson is brought to you by the humble dung beetle. It shows the connection between the grand and the vulgar and between the most powerful chess pieces and the least powerful chess pieces.