Celebrate Independence Day with Benko Problems

Happy Independence Day! Solve the following problems from Grandmaster Pal Benko, which are inspired by the American Revolutionary War. Start off with two problems that depict both Independence Day and July 4th: a mate in 7, and a mate in four in “I” and “D.”


Mate in 7

2. D

Mate in 4


Mate in Three 


Mate in Three 


Mate in Three 


Stalemate (or mate ) in 5    

The solo king (1), and the men in the column (7) and the solution (in five moves) depict the year, 1775. The White men are the patriots while the black king represents the British army. The possible mate in five if (3…Kf8) represents the Lexington, MA victory by the minute men. It became a stalemate situation since there was no decisive victory for either side.


Stalemate in 6        

There are 7 total + 6 white men on  the board in honor of the date US declared independence from Britian, on 1776 at the Continental Congress. There are 7+6 white men on the board, but after the serious loss at the NYC battle, only six White men remain.

Benjamin Franklin said that”We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” He was a famous physicist, statesman as well as an avid chessplayer. He even wrote an essay on chess and how good it is for the mind.


   Mate in 8 and stalemate in 3

The stipulations depicts the date of the peace treaty in Paris, in 1783 after eight years of War (eight move mate.) In three moves the King III George could be stalemated,, and US sovereignty is recognized. In the same year with the Louisiana Purchase the US more than doubled its territory



  1. Thank you, GM Benko. Your delightful problems mirrors the historical analogies very well! The fifth problem was hard for me to spot the ‘key’. Once I got it, it was worth the extra work! Keep up your remarkable contributions to compositions and endgame studies. Your work is priceless!

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