Scott Justice's puzzling look at Pente®
Hall of Fame
No Snakes SOSO
The following problem and text excerpted from Tom Braunlich's Pente Strategy Book II.
The position above is a beautiful and extremely complex example of a new genre of Pente® activity -- the Pente® Problem. Problems are more than just puzzles or exercises. They focus on a certain strategical "theme". The author works at expressing the theme in imaginative and aesthetically pleasing ways. When he succeeds, the problem is raised to a level that can only be called artistic. Attempting to solve them can be as delightful as it is frustrating for their secrets are always well concealed. Yet how obvious and simple they seem, when the mystery is discovered, and the solution revealed.
"Quincunx" is truly a masterpiece created by Rollie Tesh, the man who invented the idea of Pente® problems. As an experienced composer of chess problems, Tesh said he could not resist the unexplored territory present in Pente®.
Tesh's magnum opus is Quincunx, which took him three months to complete. He began with the idea of creating a problem, in which, there was a stone in each corner of the board and one in the middle. Thus the name "Quincunx", which means "an arrangement of five objects, as trees, in a square or rectangle, one at each corner and one in the middle." The main difficulty he faced was a requirement dictated by the aesthetics of problem-creating that each and every stone on the board must somehow play a part in the solution of the problem. Amazingly enough this is true of Quincunx -- not one of those seemingly randomly placed stones can be removed from the board without somehow ruining the solution -- especially the four corner stones!
Of course, Quincunx is an extreme novelty -- a deliberate attempt to stretch the possibilities of Pente® to its outermost limits. Tesh has already admitted to me that he has no desire to ever again attempt such an ambitious composition.
Tom Braunlich, Pente® Strategy Book II, Advanced Strategy and Tactics (Pente® Games Inc., 1982) 95-96.
Once you think you have solved Quincunx, or give up, click for the solution.