In presenting the rules of chess, some writers carelessly say that a pawn that reaches the eighth rank can be promoted to any piece that the player chooses. That’s a bit too generous, as a couple of puzzle composers have noted. In 1941 Leonid Kubbel presented this problem — White is to mate in two moves:

kubbel promotion puzzle

It’s not immediately clear how to release Black from his stalemate and still mate him on the next move. The solution is to promote the e7 pawn to a black king!

kubbel promotion puzzle - solution

Now it’s Black’s move — he has to play 1. … Kd8, and White can mate both kings with 2. Qd7#!

The Polish master Johannes Zukertort offered this one: White is to mate on the move:

zukertort promotion puzzle

Here White promotes the pawn to a black knight, ending the game. (Note that it must be a knight — crazy as it seems, this is the only black piece that produces mate.)