Practice makes perfect and that is what this training session is all about! Below you find a selection of positions–all from master and grandmaster games–of varying difficulty. Some are tough (really tough !) and others are relatively easy.
To make it competitive: you have 40 minutes to solve the whole batch of them. I want you to try your best! If you can not figure everything out, then I will accept the first move and the general idea as 50% of the available points. But in practice the idea and the 1st move are rarely sufficient against a strong player: you need to follow thru and deliver the decisive blow! You should be able to anticipate the best defence possible and still be able to knock your opponent down.
The difference between 1st place and 2nd place is often very small. It is this difference that this training session seeks to diminish. Be a champion!
NOTE: I WILL POST THE SOLUTIONS FRIDAY
Black should play 1…Kg8! with a tough fight. Instead, he played 1…Kf8?. How does White win after that?
White is clearly dominating play and has an extra Pawn to boot. Black can only try to complicate White’s task. The Bishop on a5 attacks the White Rook. How should White play to win in the simplest fashion?
Oh, that bad Bishop of Black’s is such an eyesore! But ignore it! White has a way to win immediately.
White is beautifully centralized and his Knight on d4, combined with his Pawn on e5 and Bishop on f6, completely paralyze the Black defence. What is the fastest way for White to win?
Black has all of his pieces in play. I hope you notice that the Black Bishop on b6 is Black’s best piece! How does Black crash thru and crush White in just a few moves?
Black’s last move was 1…Re5. How does White win?
Black is a pawn up and has a dominating position. I hope you notice that White is also weak on the first rank! How does Black exploit this to win quickly?
”Elementary!” said Holmes to Watson. Yes, it is elementary, but ONLY if you see it! How does White win in style?
In the game continuation, Black–no doubt in time trouble– lost after the natural 40…Kg7 41.Bxc5 d3 (Black has put all of his hopes on this passed pawn) 42.Qe5! QxQ 43. Bf8-ch! when the Queen easily stops the passed d-pawn.
INSTEAD, how should Black play in the diagram above to make atleast an easy draw?
A very unusual position. Normally I would say in this type of position that both sides stand badly! However, it is White to play. Having the move in the critical position often makes up for previous sins! White to play and mate in 11 moves!
Black has problems on the back rank and is currently a Pawn down also! To boot, White will also double his Rooks on the 7th rank. Things look bleak, one must confess!
Black lost after 30…Rdxf2? 31. Rb7! Rf6? 32.Re-e8-ch! Rf8 33.Re-e7! R8-f6 34.Rb8-ch and Black resigned since on the next move White captures the Pawn on b6 and wins easily.
However, in the diagramed position above, Black is actually not too badly off and has no reason to lose! Had Black kept a cool head, he could have successfully defended the game. What is Black’s best defence?
Ok, if you learned something from the last example, it is that doubled Rooks on the 7th are often not as fearsome as their reputation. How did White win in just a few moves?
Ok, White is a Pawn up and has everything in his favour. Still, some class is required to win this position. How did White proceed to win this game in just a few moves?
White has a strong attack: his Knight on e5, his Bishop pair pointing towards the Kingside and his Queen on h5 are ready to pounce. How does White proceed?
Material may be equal, but there can be no doubt that Black dominates the centre–and with it the play. How does Black win?
White is busted ofcourse! White’s attack has failed miserably and now the simple 1…Qb2 (controlling the dark diagonal) should be good enough to win–after 2.Nf5 there are only a few spite checks. However, there is a more forcing line! What did Black play to crush White quickly?
Black’s pieces are all on the back rank! How did White exploit this ?
A famous combination by the Cuban World Champion! White’s Bishops are lined up looking at the Black monarch. How did Capa put Black away in style?
G. STECKHAUER 1972
Endgame theoreticians will instantly recognize that if the Black Pawn were not on e6 then the game should be a draw. White to play and win!
1.) Moiseenko vs Krasenkov (France 2011) 2.Ba5! wins a piece
2.) Dreev vs Battaglini (France 2011) 1.Bf2! wins, ie: 1…BxR 2.RxB Qg5 3.Bxe4 Re5? 4.QxR! 1-0
3.) Eliskases vs Frydman (1938) 1.Bxh7-ch! KxB 2.Qc2-ch! 1-0
4.) Eliskases vs Bogoljubov (1939) 1.Nf5! 1-0
5.) Stahlberg vs Opocensky (1937) 1…Bxe2 2.RxB Qxf3 3.RxR Bxf2-ch 0-1
6.) Stahlberg vs Guimard (1945) 1.Qg6! 1-0
7.) Pira vs Miton (France 2011) 1…Nd2! 0-1 There is no defence to …Nf2-ch
8.) Stahlberg vs Andersen (1960) 1.Rxd4 QxR 2.Nc6 1-0 There is no defence to the coming Re89.) 1…Qxf6! and 2…BxB draws without difficulty10.)Battaglini vs Fedorchuk (France 2011) 1.Ne7-ch Kf7 (forced) 2.RxN NxR 3.QxN-ch g5 (what else?) 4.Nf5-ch! wins the Queen11.)1…Kg8! defends against the backrank mates and recovers the pawns12.)Stahlberg vs Gligorich (1949) 1.Rxf7! Rxg2-ch 2.Kf1! (black can do nothing serious) 2…Rh2!? 3.Rxg7-ch Kf8 4. Raf7-ch 1-013.)Eliskases vs Laurentis (1935) 1.Nd6-ch! BxN 2.RxN-ch Be7 3.RxB-ch! 1-014.)Stahlberg vs Sterk (1934) 1.Nxf7! KxN 2.Qxh7 with a winning attack. The King is too exposed.15.)Stahlberg vs Keres (1936) 1…Nf3! 0-1 if 2.PxN Rd2! 16.)1…QxR-ch! 2.NxR e3! 0-1 ; weak backrank17.)Eliskases vs Muffang (1935) 1.RxR RxR 2.Ne7-ch! 1-018.)1.Nc4! PxN 2.Bxc4 Nhf7 3.Rxd6! QxR 4.Ne5 Be6 5.Rd1 Qe7 6.Rd7! Rfc8 7.Qc3 1-019.) 1.Kd7 Kh7 2.Ke8 Kg6 3.Bf8! Bd2 4.Bg7! Bb4 5.Bc3! Ba3 6.Ba5! and 7.Bd8-e7 winning
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS