Broadly speaking, a chess puzzle refers to a board situation where chess pieces and chess rules must be used to solve the puzzle. While game winning moves from actual play make up the majority of chess puzzles, some of the most challenging puzzles in chess have been composed as art rather than played in competition. Composed (not arising from actual chess games) chess puzzles are often referred to as problems. With each generation of composers stretching the boundaries of chess further, chess problems have become increasingly complex.
My favorite chess puzzle is a problem composed by Mikhail Zinar which demonstrates the rare motif of under promoting to a bishop an incredible five times!
Ukrainian chess composer Mikhail Zinar (5/9/1951 – 2/4/2021) chess studies are some of the most deliberately complex, unique chess compositions ever published. Many of his compositions were designed to stretch the limits of what is possible on the chessboard, not actually be solved by the human intellect. But that doesn’t mean some haven’t tried. In fact, Zinar has been called a favorite composer of World Champions because of his ability to show the greatest chess minds a narrow path to solve seemingly impossible chess tasks.
The solution to this puzzle is a little difficult to understand without a thorough explanation. So, once you have exhausted your brain trying to solve the puzzle, I invite you to watch the video below for a brief demonstration of the astonishing solution.