Retrograde chess problems
Posted By: Nack Ballard In Response To: Donkey Variant, ROLLOUTS (Robert Chow)
Date: Wednesday, 9 April 2014, at 9:43 p.m.
In Response To: Donkey Variant, ROLLOUTS (Robert Chow)
For anyone interested in retrograde chess problems , there are two books I can recommend (and that I suspect Robert already knows about), written by Raymond Smullyan:
- The chess mysteries of Sherlock Holmes (ISBN 394-73757-1)
- The chess mysteries of the Arabian knights (ISBN 394-74869-7)
Here is a taste: On the front cover of the first book, White has Bg1 Ph2 Kc8 (three pieces) and Black has Ka8 (one piece). The caption is: "Black moved last, Watson. What was his last move -- and White's last move?"
The problems get increasingly more challenging, especially in the second book.
Smullyan's chess retrograde problems are based on just playing legally, and he created marvelous problems based on that premise -- often by adding creative conditions. An example of a backgammon problem with that premise can be seen here.
Most of the retrofits I do here are based on reaching positions where the moves are well played (or sometimes perfectly played). For early game positions, this has practical value. For middle- or later-game positions it is typically less practical and more difficult -- i.e., fun. ;) Without "well played" or some other restriction(s), though, simply reaching a specific position is way too easy in backgammon -- just shuffle the checkers where you want them to go. :)
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