Friday, 7 September 2012

Bet you can't solve this puzzle

Any chess players out there?

Last year Marijn Willem Otte, then a student at SAIS Bologna, responded to a call from our Admissions Office for photos, magnets and mementos with a chess problem, pictured here.

The problem has remained on our bulletin board, and no one has yet solved the problem. Marijn put the solution to the problem in an envelope, which has remained sealed ever since.

Here's the challenge: A game begins with 1.e4 and ends in the fifth move with knight takes rook mate.

"With only five moves deep, the solution is simple, elegant and stunning," Marijn said. "Some of the greatest chess minds of the century could not solve it, yet there have been cases of amateurs solving it overnight."

For some amusing anecdotes about the puzzle, including one about a stumped Garry Kasparov, click here.

Marijn, who is studying at SAIS DC this year, has a distinguished record in chess. He is a FIDE Master with two international master performances; he participated twice in the world university student chess championship.

Think you have the answer? Send it to and if you're the first, you win a SAIS Bologna tee shirt.

Nelson Graves