How to solve the 34 base puzzles, as well as explanations of WHY those are the solutions, spoilered so that you can control the pace at which you learn solutions.
Completely confused and stuck? What you need to realize is that in 5D chess, pieces can move and capture through time and timelines. For example, a Rook can move any clear distance in any dimension – north, south, east, west but also into the past or into adjacent timelines. Checking a King in the past is an especially powerful move, since the King in the past can’t simply move out of the way.
If you don’t get it at all, watch this excellent tutorial video:
And it will help you visualize 5D chess piece movement.
Anyway, on with the puzzles! The first one’s a doozy, but it gets easier after that!
Rook Tactics I: At first it seems like there’s no useful moves you can make – if you check the King in the present with your Rook, it just walks out of the way. Moving your King into the present or past seems to do nothing exciting. What if we think five dimensionally? Just move your rook to the northeast corner. It checks the king in the past. (The AI can’t branch to get away from it since it would advance the checked timeline and allow me to make my checkmating move, and it has no other timelines it can branch to recede the Past while choosing to not play in the checking timeline.)
Rook Tactics II: In the last puzzle we demonstrated a new way for the Rook to move. But there is yet another possibility to be shown off in this puzzle. Move a rook fully north to check a king across timelines. (The AI can’t do anything here except move its pawn – it again has no other timelines available to branch to recede The Present. We weren’t obliged to play on the future timeline, and in fact if we do the AI can get out of it by sending their king into the past to capture our rook. So we have to make a move and NOT make another move.)
Rook Tactics III: Do the standard (as in Chess) mate. Enemy king will branch to remove their present king from check (they can do it since it’s not threatened in the past in that timeline, so it removes the check condition). Then just do it again. Too bad they couldn’t run further!
Rook Tactics IV: Do the standard Chess mate, then when they branch, just move the rook to the same position. Well, why does it work? Because they can’t branch to remove mate (two kings AND it’d be an inactive timeline and no other timelines to branch instead), and if they capture the rook instead, my rook from a parallel timeline can capture back. Cross-timeline defense!
Knight Tactics I, II, III: Basic demonstration of how knight moves can attack kings in the past and across timelines to make for surprising checkmates. Because of the L shaped move, you can go 1 tile spatially and 2 tiles in the past/future/across timelines, or 2 tiles spatially and 1 tile in the past/future/across timelines. Reasons why AI can’t get out of these checks are the same as in Rook Tactics I-IV so just read those.
Knight Tactics IV, V: Sometimes you want to make a new timeline to attack the original timeline with your knight! Same, but you make a new branch so you can attack 2 spatial 1 timeline into the past of the original timeline. (Sometimes you need to visualize where the new branch will appear as well as your opponent’s response to see that the timeline capture will line up.)
Knight Tactics VI: At first this looks inscrutable, but if you just do moves that seem intuitively useful, then it will fall into your lap like magic. Check, then check, then go 2E and 1 turn into the past. In the new branch you are doing a mammoth time only 2 past 1 timeline check of the original king in the past with a defended knight (so it can’t be captured). I’m not sure what you’d do if the enemy king moved differently, but it doesn’t? Possibly it doesn’t matter what the enemy king does? Oh, but it DOES matter what first move your knight makes since it has to protect your knight in its final move. And after that there’s only one way to move it into position, which is really funny, haha.
Knight Tactics VII: This is similar to Knight Tactics IV and V, but slightly bigger brained. Take your black knight 2 turns 1 timeline into the second branch (advancing it instead of making a new branch). From this point, after your opponent responds, it threatens the past king in the branch with a 2N 1 past leap. It can’t be taken, branching doesn’t negate the check, and they can’t branch elsewhere. Checkmate!
Bishop Tactics I: Demonstration of how Bishops can attack kings in the past for very credible mates. First defend your Bishop by placing it next to the king and attacking the king 1 past 1 north.
Bishop Tactics II: Then how about a 2 past 2 east attack?
Bishop Tactics III: Then, the trick is your bishop is already in position to attack the king in the past – so just protect it with your King and mate happens.
Combination Attacks I: Check with your rook. King only has one tile to move to. Then past-check with your knight (2 N 1 past move) and AI can’t do anything about it.
Combination Attacks II: We’d love to threaten mate with the knight (2 N 1 past yet again). But the enemy’s rook checks our king! Simple – just put a pawn in the way in the center board so it can’t finish, then we can submit our moves and get mate.
Combination Attacks III: At first it doesn’t look like you can do any kind of mate in the present or past with the rook or king! So you need to realize that the pawns matter – specifically, a pawn can make a 1 past/future 1 timeline capture, and we use this to check a past King. – Specifically, we take the rook back as far as it can go – just having this branch existing (and forcing the opponent to make a play on it) means that either the topleft black pawn can capture the king 1 future/1 timeline. If the king tries to capture it then it just gets captured in the present by a pawn normally.
Combination Attacks IV: You can make present checks with the rook or by moving the rook or bishop back in time, but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere, the king just walks out of the way and you don’t finish in time. You’d love to make a past attack with the rook or bishop, but the problem is that all the tiles you can do it from are next to the king, and it takes too many turns to move a piece into position and defend it at the same time.
Then finally it hits you – the only reason why I can’t attack the past king is because the present king defends all the useful tiles, right? What if I threaten it with my bishop to force it away so my king can attack the past? And it works! It’s a check chase that ends in checkmate. Feels good.
Backrank Basics I: Just showing that a rook can checkmate a king behind pawns. In fact, this also works in regular chess the same way – there’s no past or timelines for the king to retreat too.
Backrow Basics II: Showing that it can’t be stopped with a blocking piece if the other player doesn’t have another timeline or a way to capture the king – now the king CAN escape to the past, but the only tile available is… still in the way of the rook! Dun dun dun! But again, when the pin started, there was no past/other timelines to retreat into.
Backrow Basics III: Finally there IS past to retreat into – so what happens? You just do the same move on the newly branched timeline. Checkmate! So I guess the king really does have to escape into ANOTHER timeline so that history doesn’t just repeat itself with two kings instead of one.
Backrank Basics IV: You take your rook back into the past when you COULD do the Backrank Basic attack.
Solution A: Go into the past immediately. Enemy king will try to escape to a new timeline, don’t play in the future, this gives you the tempo to move your rook up into position, then onto the prime timeline again to check both kings. https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/715057331142000640/736560336219537469/SPOILER_unknown.png
Solution B: Go for check right away, then go into the past. When your opponent branches to flee, your already well positioned rook can move between timelines and checkmate. https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/715057331142000640/736560435075088464/SPOILER_unknown.png
Queen Tactics I: Queens are really strong! They can attack on a spatial diagonal AND back in time, so just protect it with your king and it’s unstoppable.
Queen Tactics II: Probabilistic solution, probably a bug that only works if the king doesn’t move diagonally downwards: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/715057331142000640/736562694169165824/SPOILER_unknown.png
Actual solution: So our goal is to check the king in the past – There are five tiles that we can do it from. Example: Move 2N, then 1W. This works because it’s one of the five tiles, and on the king’s turn, it cannot move 1 SW (which is the only tile that could attack the queen’s final destination). https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/715057331142000640/736563316444364820/SPOILER_unknown.png But there’s more than one way to do it – in total, I think you can get to 3/5 of the tiles 100% of the time.
Queen Tactics III: Well, we don’t have a queen but… We can make one by promoting a pawn! Well, where would we like it to be? It’s a mate in three, but a queen is so strong that we can probably check a king in the past from anywhere once we have a queen. But the first two pawns can be captured by the king before we get a turn with them post-promotion, so it has to be the third. Then just leave it in place – it’s already in perfect position to mate the pastmost king. Easy.
Queen Tactics IV: This starts off in a funny position – if we make any non-threatening move, the AI’s white knight leaps 2 past 1 west and creates a branched timeline where WE’RE checkmated (the knight has a 2 west 1 timeline-down checkmate opportunity on a past king and we have to play in that branch, can’t branch deeper into the past and can’t capture the knight). This does limit our movement options, therefore – we have to make a move that prevents this response. –
In other words, we have to check the king in the present (so the knight killer move can’t be made), in such a way that our queen doesn’t immediately get captured. – Then, we can use our queen to mate a past king and there’s no response to that. In this case, the correct moves are: Queen 3 SE, king 1 E. Or queen 1 SE, king 1 E. (Queen 1 S doesn’t work, since it doesn’t threaten past mate in a turn.)
King Tactics I: At first this is like… huh? Since OBVIOUSLY a king can never put a king in check, since the other king puts it in check first! Even if it’s across time or timelines. But there is one exception to this – you can check a king in the past and it can’t fight back!
So what do we do? Moves in the future or that make new future branches don’t seem to help, since our opponent can just choose to not play on them. – We can make a new present branch, but it doesn’t seem like we can threaten any exciting lethals. – Instead, we make a present move in the present – simply move the black king one NE. It threatens triple checkmate! Cool!
King Tactics II: It seems like the Present board is full of black king bullies – we can’t get anywhere in the top two rows without them threatening some kind of same or cross timeline check, but yet all black kings are up there, so we need to get close, right? In fact, here’s how we do it: Present white king goes to the W square of the original timeline’s first turn. From there, it threatens check on a king in the past in the middle timeline, and no black kings are in range to threaten it. If the new timeline was adjacent to the two-black-king timeline, this wouldn’t work!
Opening Traps I: Time to demonstrate the strength of queens in real situations! When our opponent moves a pawn out of their pawn line, it leaves a hole through which a queen can attack backwards through the past – big mistake. – All we have to do is line up to stick a past line through the hole. In this case, we move our queen 3 W (capturing a pawn) and it perfectly lines up to attack the past-most king and can’t be taken.
Opening Traps II: Similar idea, except we fit through the hole diagonally instead of orthogonally. Even though a knight is in the way in the present, it doesn’t matter in the past!
Opening Traps III: This time if we just try to threaten check in the present, our Queen gets captured and it’s thoroughly unexciting. The trick is to attack the pawn adjacent to the king… in the PAST. By doing this, your queen is defended by your own queen, preventing your opponent from capturing it with the King (which is what they’d do if you attacked in the present). Their only option is to make a really far back in the past move, but then you can just attack the king with your queen in this new timeline. Now they have the following situation:
1) They’re checked in +1L.
2) They’re also checked in -1L, and the only moves that break the check don’t travel back in time, so the check in +1L can’t be postponed.
(If you do something in +1L besides attack the king, then they can make another time travel move.)
Tricky Checkmate I, II: The trick here is that you win if your opponent is in check but can’t make enough legal moves to advance the present, so you go for a check on the top board while preventing the bottom board from doing anything.
Advanced Branching I: So the problem here is that I’m up on timelines and the present is really far back. – I seemingly can’t use the future branch because my opponent doesn’t have to play on it (including sending a knight from the present into the future), I can’t send anything from the future to the present, and if I make a new timeline it’s inactive and my opponent is not obliged to play on it.
I can threaten check with the knight, but the king can just escape, and it doesn’t seem like any move I make in the future can matter since my opponent isn’t obliged to respond to it (and the state as it exists doesn’t threaten enough tiles to matter).
Threatening with queen is even worse, knight just takes and it’s unthreatening.
Okay so since this is Advanced Branching, maybe I need to make a branch that, if it DID become active, would mean my opponent was checkmated. Am I smart enough to figure that out? – So I have to commit check in the present (presumably with the knight), and do something with the queen in the future that would threaten check if the king escaped by branching. – Yes, that is the solution! (Specifically, the Queen has to threaten the King in the past in a new inactive timeline and the Knight has to threaten the King in the present. Now if the AI tries to escape by branching the king, the Present recedes and checkmate is presented in the formerly inactive branch.) Cool puzzle!