Just Deserts

The image of a man playing chess with the devil for possession of his soul has appeared in many pieces of fiction, notably Ingmar Bergman’s film The Seventh Seal (and later Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey). In one interesting twist that appears in some folk stories, the devil takes black (naturally), and play goes like this:

chess with death

1. … Nd4+ 2. Kd6 Qxd7+ 3. Nxd7 Rxd5+ 4. Nxd5 Re6

“Mate!” cries the fiend — but then he takes a second look at the board and disappears with a scream:

chess with death - solution