Can a Fifer crack the Queens Puzzle?

Chess piece
Chess piece

Could you solve the ‘‘Queens puzzle’’ and net a $1m prize?
That’s the challenge from experts at the University of St Andrews.

They have thrown down the gauntlet to Fife’s computer programmers to come up with a solution to the chess puzzle.

The Queens Puzzle challenged a player to place eight queens on a standard chessboard so that no two could attack each other.

This means putting one queen in each row, so that no two are in the same column or in the same diagonal.

It HAS been solved by humans, but once the chess board increases to a large size, no computer program can come up with the answer.

And that’s the new challenge from the university.

Professor Ian Gent, computer scientist, and his colleagues, believe any programme capable of coming up with a solution, would be so powerful, it would be capable of solving tasks currently considered impossible, such as decrypting the toughest security on the internet.

And a paper they have published concluded that the rewards would be immense, not least in financial terms with firms rushing to use it to offer technological solutions, and also a $1m prize offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute in America.

Professor Gent said: “If you could write a computer programme that could solve the problem really fast, you could adapt it to solve many of the most important problems that affect us all daily.

“This includes trivial challenges like working out the largest group of your Facebook friends who don’t know each other, or very important ones like cracking the codes that keep all our online transactions safe.”