A few decades ago, before the invention of laptops and chess engines, I used to study chess on a large tournament-sized set.
During the warm summer nights California is known for, I would set up a playing board, along with notes and books, in the backyard.
This particular night I had just set up the board when I noticed a bright light zigzagging in the night. My eyes followed it and for some strange reason it noticed me. And it sped towards my backyard.
I wasn’t frightened, more curious than anything else. It’s not every day a strange, bright, flying, object settles in my backyard.
It was small thing and when the door opened a tiny being emerged. It (it could have been a male, female, or animal, or robot) began to talk with me. Now since I’m not a polyglot, nor do I know any extra-terrestrial languages, I didn’t understand everything this otherly-world being was trying to say.
But with some hand movements I got a general idea what this entity wanted to know. It (again, I’m sure what gender this being was or if it had a gender) wanted to know what I was doing with the tablecloth (the chessboard), and the little figurines (the pieces).
As I am happy to share the game with others, with adults, children, pets, and now aliens, I started to teach the game to it.
But this visitor, like so many other beginners, was impatient, and soon fell behind in material, key squares, position, and was on the wrong end of possible checkmates.
So here is the diagram which we eventually reached.
1.Qa1+ Kxa1 (Obviously not 1…Ka3 due to 2.Qc3+ Ka4 3.Bb5+! Kxb5 4.Qc5+ Ka4 5.a8=Q+. My space-traveling friend, being a quick learner, figured this out and avoided it. Besides, there was another point to his move.)
2.Kc2 (with the idea of Bd4#) 2…h1=K!
(Whoa! I started to tell him that was an illegal move. To which he replied, “Didn’t you tell me that a pawn reaching the last rank, could become any piece? And I want another king”.
I had to admit he was right. What to do now? If I leave both kings on the board, it would seem likely I would stalemate one of them, and possibly both. I looked at his smug expression. It knew the problems I faced. But then I had moment of inspiration.)
3.a8=K! (Now he had at least one move that didn’t result in stalemate.) 3…Kb8 (forced.)
4.h7 Ka8 (again forced.)
5.h8=Q mate, mate, mate!