FOOL a Genius with this Awesome Chess Trick!

FOOL a Genius with this Awesome Chess Trick!

This week is chess puzzles
that fool the smartest people at Stanford. Look, we’re clearly at Stanford. This episode of Scam School
brought you by Go Daddy. In the year 2657, in the
History of Magic Museum, there’s going to be a dark,
forgotten, cobweb-covered corner. And it’ll be dedicated to Scam
School, the only show dedicated to social engineering at
the bar and on the street. I’m your host, Brian Brushwood. And this week, we are
at Stanford University, where we get some of the
smartest people at one of the smart universities. And we’re going to fool
them with some chess scams. Get ready to be blown away by
how dumb you and I are compared to them. There’s one of them right there. All right, first of
all, thank you guys so much for joining me. This is like a dream
come true to be able to swoop in to
freaking Stanford campus and to hang out
with the chess club, and come up with idiotic puzzles
that I have no rights to pose to the smartest people
on campus, all right. So I’m very flattered
right at the onset. But here’s what I want to do. I figured it’d be fun
to start things off, we’re going to do a
little puzzle here. Normally I would do
this for a free beer, but since we don’t
have any beer here, I’m going to say whoever gets it
first will get a copy my book, Cheats, Cons, Swindles
and Tricks, 57 Ways to Scam a Free Drink. But you notice I had all of
you guys pull out eight pawns. All right, now
normally this should be done with eight
queens, but I figured we don’t have enough
queen pieces to go around. So we’re going to pretend all
of these pawns are queens. Who can set up all
those pieces, pretending they’re all queens, set
up all eight queens such that no two queens threaten
each other, all right? Ready, set, go. I love seeing everybody
spring into action here, this is awesome. Whoa, whoa. We got a potential? Hold on. Oh, in your face, suckers. What time do we have, John? Four minutes, 50
seconds, all right. You got it? You got it? Hold on, let’s see. Let’s see. Check their work,
check their work. Yeah. They got it. Holy crap, they got it! That was great. What’s the final time? What’s the final time? Five minutes, 35 seconds. We couldn’t figure out this one. Yeah. No, I am. That’s right, that’s right. And in fact, I’ll show you
the version I came up– well, I say I came up. I didn’t come up
with any of this. The version I
learned, and I just remembered the number, 3162574. And so the first one, you
start up in the corner. And then you just go three,
one, six, 25– oh yeah, six. That’s six. Thank you. 74, like that. But I’m sure there’s a number
of different solutions for it. But I’m really impressed. Obviously, for people as capable
as you guys are, even then, having eight people all
simultaneously trying to solve it, that took
a really long time. That was a good one. Give these guys a big
round of applause. That was awesome. All right, so you’re going to
make yourself a video podcast, make yourself famous
on the internet? Maybe you want to talk
about your opinions about late 1970s anime, so
you registered Gamelancast. Question. Are you going to
register it as a .org, pretend you’re a
community organization? .net, oh look, I’m an ISP. No. You’re going to do .tv, because
that’s what all the cool kids are doing, especially right
here at And guess who we used
to register our domain? That’s right. Go Daddy. Go Daddy’s been a partners
since the very beginning. They have 99.9% uptime, the
domains are ridiculously cheap, and using their sweet
Android and iPhone apps, you can register
stuff while you’re sitting around watching TV. Hell, you’re probably
do it right now while you’re watching me. But the important
thing is when you check out, make sure to use
those sweet discount codes, like scam12 at checkout. That’ll get you up to 25% off. We’re talking $10 discount
for an order of $40 or more. That’s like a 25% discount. The best part is
not only will you be getting a sweet,
fat discount, you’ll be making us look good. And you will be keeping
Scam School in business. The business of stealing beer. Do you guys have different
house rules on whether or not you can promote a
pawn to a queen? Or can you have two
queens on the table? Is that established? What’s the story with that? Because I’ve run into
some people who have house rules where you can’t have two
queens, or something stupid. That’s just dumb. That’s made up
stupidity, Brushwood. All right, well I will say,
just to be totally fair here, that anything goes. You can promote any piece
you want in the game. That’s fine. Here’s the puzzle. And the puzzle is I want you to
imagine we had an epic battle. Here’s the set up,
right here, all right? It’s white’s turn. And in fact, I’ll spin it
around so you can be white. It’s white’s turn, and white
needs to mate in one move. What is the one move
under the conditions I’ve set up where it’s
possible for white to mate? I’m thinking of [? crowning, ?]
but then you take. So that doesn’t work. When you take. So what you’re saying is
whatever this guy turns into, the king could take
and he’s protected. That’s not a mate. So it has to mate
on the move, right? Yes. It has to be in one, in one. So in other words, the
black king can have no move. In a single move, it has to
suddenly become checkmate. And then we’ve got
the queen here. Which is good, because
that puts him in check. Right, but it doesn’t
mate, because you’ve still got your space. So when you say got
your space, you mean– You still got this move. Could move there. Right. Good point, good point. So this is the move that
I’m trying to avoid. Right, you want to not allow. I have to prevent you
from doing this move and attacking you
at the same time. OK, so you don’t like the
queen, because even if you check there or check
there, either way the king can move in. You can move there. That’s good, that’s good. And then the pawn
there, you move there. And if the pawn promotes, even
if it turns into a queen– The king takes. Takes, right. You still have that spot. Right, gotcha. What about the rook? Anything you can
do with the rook? No Brian, that’s stupid. No, I don’t see it. I can’t really do anything
with the rook that can actually give you– I mean, especially
the pawn’s in the way. Yeah, the pawn’s in the way. Of course, yeah. Good point. I don’t see it. I can do this move, but I’m
still in the same spot where– That’s true, you’d be
able to move there. So, if I have to
mate you in one, it seems like from
my perspective, that the only thing I can do
it with is with the queen. If someone else figures it out,
are they allowed to chime in? I’m not going to lie, there’s
one person in this room and I posed the puzzle. He solved it in ten seconds. Who wants to know the
answer to this one? Three people. Everyone else leave. What were the initial
conditions that I set up? I said two things. Do you remember what
they were, Edwin? Oh, OK. Well, if you go like that. No, it’s white’s turn,
it’s white’s turn. No, you said it wasn’t. OK, you did. You’re right, I did mention
that it was white’s turn. I mentioned that is
was white’s move. And I get to make one move. There goes my one move. And if white could actually
move black’s piece, that would be way
convenient, right? But I said two things. I said it’s white move,
white needs to mate in one. But before that, I
cleared up an ambiguity. I said that there are some house
rules where they don’t like you having two
queens or whatever. So I said for the
record, you could promote to any piece
in the entire game. Including a king? No. Well no, you can’t
have two kings. That would be just silly. Even is you promote to a
Bishop, it can still take it. What if you promoted– To a black knight? Checkmate. But technically, that’s not
even– you can’t do that. But technically– and that’s
the key to a great scam, is you’ve got to lay it
out right in front of them to where only after the
fact– you’re pissed off, and I’m sorry. I’ll buy you a beer
is what I’ll do. That’s how you do scam school. Now, I have no idea if
this is true or not, but the story I heard is that
back in the 17th century, some Russian grandmaster
posed this problem, because until then, there had
never been a case where anybody would ever want to promote
to a piece of another color, and that he posed this puzzle
as an answer for why you need to make it an official
rule that you can only promote within your same color. I have no idea if
that’s true or not, and I’m sure the folks who
watch Scam School at home are going to send me emails
saying whether or not that’s the case. But I hope you guys enjoyed it. And Edwin. Thank you. You were a super awesome sport. Thank you guys. Congratulations to Elliot,
and all you guys are awesome. First and foremost, want to give
a huge thanks to Kurt Andersen, friend of the show,
for sharing with us that puzzle we had to
promote to the black piece. That one blew my mind. And I loved how many
chess experts it fooled, including here at Stanford. How awesome is that? Of course, I want to hear
about your success stories and failure stories. So hit us up at the
forums at, where you can see
all of our episodes right back to episode one. If you’re doing
the Twitter thing, why don’t you follow me
at’shwood. I promise it’ll be
fun and interesting. We’ll have a good time. Really. Probably. Probably not. If you want to suggest
your favorite bar scan, write me directly at
[email protected] And don’t forget, you’re going
to want to join us next week, because we’re going to
do a special art house version of Scam School. It’ll all be black and white,
it will not be in English, and you will fall
asleep instantly. It’ll be boring.

100 thoughts on “FOOL a Genius with this Awesome Chess Trick!

  1. *psst* Are you enjoying Scam School? You've gotta check out our brand-new series "The Modern Rogue" at If you've seen it, reply and tell me what you think. If not, then get on over there. I'll bet you a dollar you love it. -Brian

  2. A stalemate is possible, turning your white pawn to a black knight is just pure madness. Anyhow, that 8Q puzzle really is good.

  3. he tricked them into believing pawns are queens, how did they fall for it? I would have refused because it's called a false premise (the kind of logic they don't teach in so-called schools). I am naturally super smart, I had my IQ tested and it was in the range 80-90, possibly as high as 95. On the plus side it means I grasp concepts far better than most which is why I wouldn't fall for this chess scam, but on the flip side I will always have the burden in life of having to tolerate the relative stupidity of those around me. I get on best with those who recognise true intellect is found in nuanced material of depth such as rick and morty, rather than the sheeple who blindly follow the false "education" pertaining to "textbooks" and "schools"

  4. This game is called Salamander and me and my homeschool teacher use to play it all the time and it only took me 00:21.53 seconds to complete the first challenge, by the way I am a 12 year old beating some adults/teenagers.

  5. I actually have another solution for the second puzzle
    You didn't mention which type of mates sooooo…….
    if we move the rook to c8 then it is a stalemate LOL!!!
    I am a genius 😀
    A boy of 15

  6. Couldn’t let go of that hair cut you wanted as a kid that your mom wouldn’t let you get so you got it as an adult just to put it in her face.

  7. None of the "queens" (cough pawns cough) threaten each other because there are all on the same team, just take a look.

  8. Here's a much better way to do your dumb ass puzzle without violating the rules of chess: Put the black king on A6 and the queen on B4. The winning move is the pawn promoted to knight.

  9. ok I could be wrong here but if you move the rook/castle to 8 would that not work too, cause if the king takes the pawn the bishop gets him, if he moves to 8 the rook/castle gets him, if moves to 6 the queen gets him. so that would be check mate

  10. You can do this legitly by moving the rook up one. The black player would have to move because it's a rule and so they would loose

  11. That second one stumped me until I saw the answer and realised that works
    And I thought the answer was move the rook to the edge so if the king moved forward in line of sight of queen move back in line with rook took the pawn in line with bishop so it had nowhere to go then realised 1 move meaning the king can’t move

  12. for someone who thinks of himself as some "leet scammer haha lolol" I'm really pretty surprised (and underwhelmed) by the fact that you didn't just notice that a piece isn't threatening its teammates, so any configuration of queens would work…

  13. Wouldn’t rook c8 be mate, king can’t move to the 6 line because of the queen, can’t capture the pawn as the bishop would capture, and can’t move to the 8 line because of the rook moving

  14. The second puzzle is so stupid,of course he said the rule was that you can promote to anything you want using the two queens excuse to throw them off so he can say that he can promote to a black knight,that's not allowed in modern chess and if you don't apply rules then I can just say…yeah well I'll promote it to a queen and my rook defends it because it can move diagonaly cuz there are no rules..
    The actual smart answer to the puzzle would have been to say…well you said I have to MATE in one move…rook to c8 staleMATE,you never said it had to be checkmate dude,you actually said mate

  15. I thought the trick was going to be that white "moves to mate in one," meaning that after white makes a move it will be mate in one, AKA mate in two. Which could be achieved by 1.b8=Q!! Kxb8 2.Qb6# (I think)

  16. This idiot with weird hairstyle knows nothing about chess. The only scam here is the video itself. Worst YouTube channel ever.

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