Want to be a millionaire? Decode this Queens puzzle

By: | Updated: September 4, 2017 1:36 PM

Scientists have an open challenge for you. Write a computer programme to solve a 'simple' chess problem and you can win a reward of $1 million.

Queens puzzle, Queens puzzle chess, Queens puzzle computer programme, Queens puzzle 1 million, Queens puzzle millionaire, chess puzzle, chess, chess queen, Queens puzzle program, Queens puzzle code, Queens puzzle coding, coding challengeIf ever there is a puzzle which can crack the popular Queens Puzzle in Chess, it will open pathways to do things which were previously considered impossible. (AP Photo)

Scientists have an open challenge for you. Write a computer programme to solve a ‘simple’ chess problem and you can win a reward of $1 million. The chess problem is known as Queens Puzzle, and the scientists believe that it is impossible to solve. It is basically a challenge for a player to put 8 ‘queens’ on a standard chess board so that they cannot attack one another. This can be done by placing a queen in each row so that more than one of them is not in the same column and well as not positioned diagonally. This problem has already been solved by humans, but when the board gets bigger there is no programme on any computer that can solve the puzzle.

If ever there is a puzzle which can crack the popular Queens Puzzle, it will open pathways to do things which were previously considered impossible. It includes solving the most secure connections on the web. This challenge has been thrown open by scientists from the University of St Andrews in the UK. While researching, they found that if the size of the chessboard was increased by 1000×1000 squares, programmes are incapable of understanding the huge number of options and it goes into an eternal problem. The researchers described the problem as similar to the Deep Thought super computer in the book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Meanwhile, Clay Mathematics Institute in the US has thrown open the million dollar challenge.

Watch video: Know what is the Queens puzzle!


Ian Gent, one of the researchers, said that if you can create a computer code to solve the Queens puzzle, the programme could be adapted to crack many key daily problems. The solutions to be provided to something as inconsequential as finding out a group of friends on Facebook who does not know each other or crucial things like programmes to secure online transactions.

The reason why such a program is difficult to create is that of the huge number of possibilities which can take years to consider. It is similar to ‘backtracking’ in computer programmes, where the code backs away till the time a solution is found. The study was posted in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research.

The researchers of the St Andrews University said that the programme is only in theory as no one has even come close to solving it. Peter Nightingale, a senior research fellow, said, “….for all practical purposes – it can not be done.”

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