Alexander Dmitrievich Petrov was a prominent figure in the world of chess during the 19th century. Despite not competing in formal tournaments, he was widely recognized as the strongest player in Russia, having defeated all of his potential opponents in one-on-one matches. In addition to his skill as a player, Petrov was also renowned for his ability to compose challenging chess problems. One of his most famous compositions was “The Retreat of Napoleon I from Moscow,” which was published in 1824. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of this notable chess composition.
Let me explain the setup. The black king is a symbolic representation of Napoleon, while the white king represents Czar Alexander I. The white queen is represented by Marshall Kutuzov, a known cautious figure. The white knights are used to represent the Russian Cavalry, specifically the Cossacks. Moscow is symbolized by the red square on b1, while Paris is represented by the yellow h8. The Berezina River is represented by the diagonal line that runs from h1 to a8 – blue squares.
The solution of this puzzle is also limited by one more rule: Marshall Kutuzov must remain near the Czar, which means that the white king and the white queen are obliged to stay at adjacent squares all the time.
The final position also demonstrates the King’s Mate. Impressive, isn’t it?