Written by Michael McDowell

Retrograde Analysis (RA) is a term referring to the deduction of the play in the imaginary game leading up to a position in order to determine, for example, which side is to play, whether or not the position is legal, is castling still possible or what was the last move played. A number of types of problem involve retrograde analysis.

(1) T. R. Dawson

Falkirk Herald, 1914


Mate in 2

(2) Axel Ã…kerblom

Svenska Dagbladet, 1925


Mate in 2

(3) W. Langstaff

Chess Amateur, 1922


Mate in 2

A Shortest Proof Game (SPG) is the shortest sequence leading from the initial game array to the given position.

(4) Richard Müller

Rochade, 1985


SPG. Position after White's 7th move.

(5) Tibor Orbán

Die Schwalbe, 1976


Position after Black's 4th move.
Game score?

(6) John D. Beasley

The Problemist, 1972


What was White's first bishop move?

Retractors are problems in which a number of moves are retracted from the diagram then forward moves are played from the new position. They may or may not involve retrograde analysis.

(7) W. Naef

Die Tat, 1955


White retracts his last move
and mates in 1

Developed and maintained by Brian Stephenson.