Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

The 39th bi-annual Olympiad is currently being played from September 19 to October 4 in Khanty-Mansiysk which I gather is somewhere in Siberia (Russia).   Doesn’t sound like the ideal holiday destination but it could be worse.  They could be playing in New Delhi!

It’s a good time zone for Australia with the live games being broadcast from 7pm each evening.  I’ve certainly been tuning in and following Australia’s fortunes.  In round two the Men’s team was matched against the defending champions Armenia, but only Smerdon came away with half a point.   In the following round he was paired as black against IM A.Montalvo 2250 from Puerto Rico and the game appeared to be evenly balanced.  Smerdon was obviously planning to play …Re4 followed by doubling on the “e” file so his opponent was tossing up between 1.Rbe1 and 1.Ree1.   After 1…Re4 he planned to play 2.Bg1 and swap off rooks.  Today’s puzzle is which move would you advise him to play?

[fen caption="Should White 1.Ree1 or Rbe1?]r3r1k1/pp4bp/q2p2p1/3P1p2/5P2/1P2B3/P2QR1PP/1R5K w KQ – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

I’m so happy!   I’ve just found a new chess application for my iPad called ChessDB HD which I’ve download for the princely sum of $8.99.  It’s a database of chess games/positions which comes loaded with such things as “1000 great short chess games, 773 mates in 1-4 moves, annotated immortal games, middle game lessons” and so on.  It won’t let you play through variations, only the actual games with notes shown beside the board, but there is just so much material – and the short games are ideal for my chess coaching lessons.  No more late nights trolling the internet for a good games for tomorrow’s chess lesson!

For today’s puzzle I’ve picked out one short game (see diagram).  Black has just played 6…Be7 and White is pondering whether or not the sacrifice 7.Nxf7 works.   He needs your help!   How would you advise White?

[fen caption="Should White play 7.Nxf7?"]r1bqk2r/pppnbppp/4pn2/6N1/3PN3/8/PPP2PPP/R1BQKB1R w KQkq – 5 7[/fen]

Archive for the ‘Chess Tactics’ Category

The other day I dropped in to watch the exciting last round of the Victorian Chess Championships in which any of four players could have won the title.  Young guns Christopher Wallis and Dusan Stojic came through to tie for first place whilst IM’s Igor Goldenberg and Mirko Rujevic ended up half a point behind.   The arbiter, Gary Bekker, was kind enough to send me a file of all the games which I’ve been playing through in the search for new puzzles for you, dear reader.

Easily the strangest game was Morris v Stojic in which Morris seemed to been down a Q for a R for most of the game with little compensation.  Stojic traded this advantage for 3 extra pawns in a Q+R endgame and they reached the position below with Morris (White) to move.

Play continued 40.Qf4 Rf5 41.Qd2 Qd5 42.Qe2 Qd4+ 43.Kh2 Rh5+ 44.Kg3 Qh4+ 45.Kf3 Rf5+ 0-1 as expected.  My computer however tells me that White can draw the position in the diagram if he finds the correct move.   See if you can do better than IM James and salvage the half-point.

[fen caption="What is the best move for White?"]6qk/2Q1R2p/6p1/2pr4/1p6/8/6P1/6K1 w – - 2 40[/fen]

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]