A history lesson:
I believe the puzzle was referring to Tamerlane, also known as Timur, who was a Turco-Mongol conqueror and the founder of the Timurid Empire in Persia and Central Asia. He was born in 1336 in what is now Uzbekistan and rose to power in the late 14th century.
Tamerlane was known for his military campaigns, which led to the conquest of a vast empire stretching from present-day Turkey to India. He was also known for his brutal tactics and the massacres of civilian populations in conquered territories.
Tamerlane was a devout Muslim and considered himself a champion of Islam, often justifying his conquests as holy wars against non-Muslims. He died in 1405 during a campaign against the Ming Dynasty in China. Despite his controversial legacy, he is still revered as a national hero in Uzbekistan and other parts of Central Asia.
Why am I saying all this? Allegedly, Timur owned an iron cage. The cage that he possessed, which is famously known as “Tamerlan’s Cage,” had various functions. It could be used as a seat, as a platform to mount a horse, or even to confine a captive. And the last use case, so to say, probably inspired a Russian chess master, Karl Jänisch, to create this unique puzzle in the 19th century.
Bring the black king to a cage, then kill it!
This is the initial position. White may instantly checkmate the black king, but that’s not the objective of the puzzle. You are supposed to sacrifice all pieces but one that would deliver the final blow. How can you achieve that?
“Tamerlane’s Cage” is a classic example of a chess problem and has been studied and admired by chess enthusiasts for generations. The cruel tactic employed by Tamerlan of imprisoning helpless captives in a cage appears to have had a profound impact on the ingenuity of future chess experts.