Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

In theory endgames should be the easiest part of the game as there are few pieces left on the board.   In practice they can be very complex and require calculation of lengthy variations as well as the ability to come up with a winning “idea.”   Because of this they are often an area where humans have an advantage over computers if the length of the winning variation is beyond the horizon of the computer’s analysis.

I enjoyed last’s week’s puzzle where Tal came up with a cute stalemate idea that two other grandmasters had missed and I’ve used this position in a couple of my lectures at schools already.

This week I thought you might like a go at a “simple” position with only six pieces on the board.   To win White will obviously have to queen a pawn but Black seems to have them both covered.   Can you find a solution?

[fen caption="White to Play and win"]7K/8/8/P7/7B/4k3/4P2b/8 w KQkq – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

Here at Chess Kids we are constantly looking for ways to improve our coaching services to help get our message across to the chess students.  In a few day’s time we are having a coach training session where the focus will be upon trying to present an interesting story or anecdote as part of each lesson.   I had one of our coaches pop in last week whilst I was typing “Knight Times” and he commented how much he had enjoyed my presentation at the National Schools Finals Prize-giving where I had told the story of the “Trojan Horse” and related that to the position I was demonstrating.

So, to put this policy it practice, let me tell you an interesting anecdote I came across the other day about former World Champion Mikhail Tal (that’s his pic in the banner giving his opponent the “evil eye”).

Tal was watching a game between two strong grandmasters (Firmian v Smejkal) at the Tallin Tournament in 1971.  White is losing and can choose between 1.Ne4+ or 1.Nb3.   Today’s puzzle is which would you choose and how should the game finish?   If you don’t get it right I’m sure that Tal will be happy to help you!

[fen caption="Should White play 1.Ne4+ or 1.Nb3?"]8/8/8/2b4p/8/p5k1/3N4/7K w KQkq – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

I don’t have a picture but Bob Bergmanis is a giant of a man, a former A Grade player (of Latvian extraction) who would now be in his 70′s.

Karl Zelesco (known as the “Z-Kid”) is a diminutive little boy aged 10 years.   Think David and Goliath and you will get the picture.   The two met in the “2010 Tuesday Autumn Swiss” at the Canterbury Chess Club and reached the diagrammed position with Black to play.

Perhaps you would like to take over the role of “David” and see if you can slay the chess “Goliath.”

[fen caption="Bergmanis v Zelesco - Black to play."]1k2rr2/ppp3pp/3b1q2/8/2Q4N/3PB1P1/PP3P1P/2R3K1 b KQkq – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

Last week’s puzzle created quite a bit of interest with Chess Kids coach Tim Broome finding a mate in 6, only to be trumped by someone else have found a very beautiful mate in 5.   Have a look in the comments to Puzzle #48 if you missed it.

This week’s puzzle is from Magnus Carlsen, the world’s highest rated player, who finds a nice tactic in a Rook and Knight endgame.   See how quickly you can spot it.

[fen caption="White to play and win"]8/5npk/pp6/3N1P2/P5R1/6K1/1nr5/5R2 w – - 0 1[/fen]

Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

Each week I go to great lengths to try to find you a new position, hopefully something a little bit different, so I hope that you haven’t seen this position before. (See Diagram).   It looks vaguely familiar to me.

I used this position in one of my classes today.   The students’ task was to find a way for Black to mate in 6 moves by promoting a pawn to a R.   One rotter managed to do it in 5 moves so I had to come up with something a little harder.   I went back to an old 19th century game where White had lost in 7 moves with the checkmating move being a pawn promoting to a N.  Could they replicate this mate?  Fortunately this one was too hard for them, but, perhaps dear reader, not for you?   Have a go and see.

[fen caption="White to play and help Black mate on move 7 by promoting a pawn to a N."]rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

Everyone makes mistakes.  I remember back in 1974 when I was the newly crown Australian Chess Champion and was about to play in the first round of the A Grade Interclub competition.  Eddy Malitis stood up and made a short speech congratulating me on my win; everyone clapped; then we sat down to play our games.  I was paired against John Hanks and I had decided to try an new opening with 1…b6.   Five minutes and 12 moves later I had blundered and resigned the game.  Such is life.  It even happens to World Champions!

Take a quick 5 second look at the position below.   What would you play as White?

This position is from the game between Larry Christiansen, the USA Grandmaster, and Anatoli Karpov, the former World Chess Champion and one of the most solid players of all time.   A win against Karpov was something rare and to be treasured.   Karpov has just played 11…Bd6 so as to be able to answer 12.Be2 with 12…Nf4.   Christiansen did not play 12.Be2.   Can you spot the move he played which resulted in Karpov’s immediate resignation?

[fen caption="White to play]r2qk2r/p2p1ppp/1pbbp3/7n/2P1P3/P1N1B3/1PQ2PPP/R3KB1R w KQkq – 4 12[/fen]

Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

I was talking to my friend Sam the other day.  He’s trying to make a come-back to chess after a 10 year break.   He’d just blundered horribly against Rujevic and was bemoaning his new-found tactical ineptitude.   “I just make so many mistakes” he complained.   I know the feeling.   As you get older your brain does not want to analyse variations and tends to lack its former decisiveness.

The worst type of positions we oldies could get is a Q+P v Q endgame.  There are just so many checks to look at and the game drags on for ages.  I remember Botvinnik once winning with Q + knight pawn v Q after about 90 moves going around in circles.

Take the following position I was looking at the other day.  I’m Black and I’ve nearly got my pawn through to queening but how do I avoid those nasty checks?   What I need is someone like you with a young brain who can work it all out for me quickly.   So off you go.  What should I play?

[fen caption="Black to play]8/8/2Q5/7q/8/4K3/6p1/7k b – - 0 1[/fen]

Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

Chess, like life, is all about decision making.   We have a number of options, but which do we choose?  How do we decide how we make decision – what are the criteria?   What if we make a mistake?

It’s all pretty difficult, so today I thought you might like a chance to fine tune your decision making skills.

Have a look at the position below.  White has just played 1.e6+ and now Black must decided between 1…Nxe6 to get his pawn back; 1…Kc8 to hide his King away in the corner or 1…Kc6 to keep his a8 rook in the game.  (I’ll ignore 1…Kc7 as even I can see 2.Bxd8+ is no good for Black).  One move is OK, one is pretty bad and one is a shocker!   Which would you choose?

[fen caption="Black to play]r2q1bnr/pp1k1Bpp/3pP3/2p3B1/3nP3/3P1b2/PPP3PP/RN1Q1RK1 b KQkq – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

Playing a top player is always a thrill and gives you a chance for a moment of fame should you pull off an upset.

10 year-pld Karl Zelesco had his moment of fame in round one of the Lidums Checkmate Open in Adelaide last week when he was paired with IM James Morris in the first round.  James was the exchange ahead in winning comfortably even though his rook was not yet in play.   Karl was desperately trying to find some threats when suddenly James blundered!    In the diagrammed position James was tossing up between 30.a4, 30.Qh5 and 30.Qd1.

Today’s puzzle is which move did he choose and why was it a blunder?

[fen caption="White to play and not blunder!]7k/1pq3b1/7p/p7/4p1Q1/1B1bP3/PP4PP/K6R w KQkq – 0 1[/fen]