Chess Puzzle of the Week (142)

Lionel Penrose
1st Pr The Observer 1920

One of the most interesting chess developments of recent years has been the revival of interest in chess compositions: problems and studies.

Many chess teachers now recommend the regular solving of both endgame studies and problems to help develop your tactical awareness and creativity.

As usual, when Postman Pat delivers the latest Problemist, I look for something I can show you. This is taken from an article in the Supplement by David Shire: I’ll tell you more next week.

It’s White to play and mate in two moves. To appreciate problems of this type you should start by asking yourself what would happen next if it was Black’s move in this position.

Let me know if you think you’ve found the solution.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (141): Solution

Last week’s puzzle was taken from Jan Timman’s new book The Unstoppable American: Bobby Fischer’s Road to Reykjavik (New in Chess 2021): my review will be published on British Chess News shortly.

This was from Gligoric – Fischer (Siegen Ol 1970). Gligoric played Kf3 here, and, after some further inaccurate moves, lost the game.

Instead, he could have gained a winning positional advantage by playing the (fairly obvious, I would have thought) 39. Nb1!, with the idea of Nd2, Nc4 and Kg4.

You can see the complete game here or here.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (140): Solution

Last week’s endgame study (Yochanan Afek 1973) solves like this:

1. Rxb5+! Kxb5 2. Ne5+ Ka4 3. Nd7 Be2! 4. Bxe2 Rb8+ 5. Bb5+!! (5. Ka2 Rb2+! 6. Kxb2 is stalemate) 5… Rxb5+ 6. Ka2 and Black is in zugzwang: the rook will be lost either by a capture or a fork.

My review of How to Study Chess on your Own by Davorin Kuljasevic, my source for this and other recent puzzles, is now available here.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (140)

Davorin Kuljasovic, like many recent authors of chess improvement books, recommends the regular solving of endgame studies as an important tool to improve your rating.

He gives this one, composed by Yochanan Afek in 1973, as an exercise. It’s White to play and win. You could challenge yourself, he adds, by solving it blindfold!

Off you go, then!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (139): Solution

Last week’s puzzle, taken from Davorin Kuljasevic’s new book How to Study Chess on your Own (my review will be appearing elsewhere shortly) is some analysis from the Sicilian Najdorf.

White’s sacrificed a queen to reach this position and can conclude with 30. Rf7+!! Kg8 (or 30… Kxf7 31. Bc4+ Kf8 32. Nd7#) 31. Rf8+! Kxf8 (or 31… Rxf8 32. Bc4+ Rf7 33. Re8#) 32. Nd7+ Kf7 33. Bc4+ Qd5 34. Bxd5#.

Kuljasevic points out that in the three variations in the solution White mates with three different pieces: knight, rook and bishop.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (139)

This is another position from Davorin Kuljasevic’s new book How to Study Chess on Your Own.

You’re playing White and had to consider whether to sacrifice your queen to reach this position. Are you losing, can you force a draw, or is there a way to win?

You tell me!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (138): Solution


Fritz Emil Giegold stern 1967

Last week I left you with a mate in 4 which, you might have guessed if you’re familiar with this composer, was the work of the wonderful Fritz Emil Giegold, whose compositions, I think, are particularly suitable for OTB players.

Congratulations to Chris Baker, and anyone else who found the solution: 1. Ra3 b4 2. Ra4 b3 3. Rh4 Kxh4 4. Nf3#

I took this from a book I’m currently reviewing: How to Study Chess on Your Own, by Davorin Kuljasevic. You’ll be able to read my review on British Chess News within the next week or so.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (137): Solution

I had Black against Julien Shepley (to move) in this pawn ending from an RTCC arena game the other day.

I asked you to analyse 40. Kf3 and 40. Kd3.

The answer in brief is that 40. Kf3 draws, as do 40. b5 and, perhaps less obviously, 40. g4. For instance, 40. Kf3 a6 41. g4! f4 42. Ke4!

The game continued 40. Kd3? a5? 41. bxa5 bxa5 and the game was soon drawn.

I could have won, though. 40. Kd3? a6! (the only winning move, threatening b5 to prevent White securing a protected passed pawn) 41. c5+ bxc5! 42. dxc5+ Kd5! or Ke5! and Black will secure the full point.

Very instructive, I think. A position well worth studying in depth. It’s so important – and so difficult – to excel at pawn endings.