Tag Archives: chess games

Chess Tactics: Relevance of all-round play in chess

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The game of chess calls for shrewd analytical skills of positions coupled with calculations to gain control over the game. It is essential that good positional play should be entwined with calculations of moves and deployment of effective tactics assessing the overall position in the board. Having good control over the board positionally will not guarantee you any success over the opponent as long as you do not entwine the tactics effectively to gain control over the board. It is in this context that one should strive to be a good allround player instead of concentrating either only on his tactical skills or in positional factors.

In the following example, you will notice that having good positions will not lead to success as one silly error caused without giving importance to the opponent’s pieces, and due to paucity of time, ended up in losing the game from the winning position.

This is the position after 27 moves. It is the turn of the white to move now.

Position 1
White is a good player in positional chess and now, a cursory look at the board indicates that white has an extra pawn than black.  The game proceeded as follows :

28.    Rc1       h6
29.    Rc8+    Kh7
30.    Rc4       Qe5
31.    Rf4        Qc4

White, using his skills on positional chess has been making satisfactory progress.  The position after 31 moves is given hereunder:

Position 2
Not only is the white rook at f4 supporting the pawn at f2, the queen in b3 is threatening the black pawns at e6 and f7 and blocking their movement.

32.    Kh2    …..            Another good move from White in an attempt to develop his pawns with King’s assistance.

32.    …..        Kg7
33.    Rg4+    Kh7
34.    Rf4        Kg7
35.    Qb4       Qc2
36.    Kg2       e5
37.    Rg4+    …….            This is a wrong move from White that has exposed the pawn at f2.

37.    ……        Kg6            Black tries to capitalize on the wrong move by White.   He could have moved the King to h7 but instead preferred this move.

38.    Qxb6+    …….            White continues to attack with fervor considering the fact that time is running out, and Black tried to confuse the confused white by moving the king to the “f” file.

38.    …….    Kh5

This is the position at the board at the end of 38 moves.

3rd Position
39.    e4+    ……            This is the blunder on the part of White.  He did not assess the winning position correctly and out of confusion and time constraint, deprived himself of a winning move in Kh3 and by calling check on Black, exposed the white rook at g4, and literally threw the game.

39.    ……    Kxg4
40.    Qe3    Rd3
41.    Qxh6    Rxg3            After this White resigned accepting defeat.

This is a clear example of how confusion caused by the opponent and paucity of time can change the whole advantage into a loss.

For any aspiring chess player to grow up the ladder and achieve success, he or she should develop as a complete player having allround skills and not relying on any particular skill as positional play or tactical player.  Positional analysis and calculation of the moves and counter moves are very essential for the deployment of a good successful chess strategy or an effective chess tactics.

The World’s Most Nearly Impossible Chess Puzzles

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1st Puzzle

This puzzle was devised by Dr. Karl Fabel and published in 1949 in “T.R.D.’s Diamond Jubilee” issue of the Fairy Chess Review.


Fen Position

For those of you who are interested in analyzing the position with their favorite chess program here is the FEN Position, you can simply copy it and paste it in Chessbase or you could simple save it in a .Fen file and load it as FEN.

8/4K3/4NN2/p3p3/rnp1p3/1pk5/bp1n4/qrb1N3 w – – 0 1

2nd Puzzle

This chess puzzle by C. S. Kipping was published in the Manchester City News in 1911.


Fen Position

Compared to the last one this is pretty easy but rather baffling how White goes on with the next few moves, by the way this puzzle is for fun.

k7/8/N1N5/3B4/K7/8/4p1r1/8 w – – 0 1

3rd Puzzle

This puzzle was composed by Hans August and Dr. Karl Fabel, and was published in 1949 in Romana de Sah.


Fen Position

Although you will not need the FEN for this one, I will post it just in case you want to try out something ODD.

2bqkb2/1pppppp1/8/8/N5P1/p3QPR1/PPP1PKPN/R1BQ1B1b b – – 0 1

4th Puzzle


This puzzle is based on a theme by W. A. Shinkman, and the mate-in-three was first solved by Sam Loyd. The puzzle above was published in the Leeds Mercury Supplement in 1895.


Fen Position

Another easy one but I know there are some who would like to get their engines started and see if the engine can solve but the best way to solve these puzzles is to think and take time, that is how you will enjoy it the most.

8/8/8/8/7k/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQ – 0 1

5th Puzzle


Similar to the 4th puzzle but this time the question changes a little bit.


Fen Position

8/8/8/8/7k/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQ – 0 1

There you go, 5 brainteasers to work on your chess skills. Now to the answers, I will not post it until next few weeks, I will let everyone give these a try and leave their answers in the comment section. This will also start a good conversation. There are thousands of visitors every day at MyChessBlog it would be great if visitors leave comment that will give me some motivation to write more posts as well. It looks sad that not many of my posts get comments after 1000-2000 views.

Get your thinking caps on and start solving the puzzles. I highly recommend you solve the Mating problems by yourself before going for the Chess Program.

Shape of things to come in the world of chess?

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Though no one has complained as yet, but in response to our article Chess Sacrifice as a Chess Tactics: recovering the investment with interest, one reader held that White (Schulten) simply played badly and another reader felt that the game was very old, implying rightly that modern players with White pieces would not play that way and fold up so easily!

Accepting their points, I would still like to bring out what Grandmasters almost a centuries later and of the stature of Mikhail Botvinnik and Nigel Short had to say about Morphy’s play and their comments were included in the article so that readers may not hasten to a judgment. A player like Bobby Fischer held that Morphy was probably the greatest of them all! We could certainly argue on Fisher’s views but there is no denying the fact that great players can make good players look average!

In any case, I accept that most of the illustrative games used in the articles so far belong to periods possibly half a century earlier or even before that. Why is this fascination with period pieces!?

The number of games played all over the world is increasing very fast thanks to online chess. Modern communication technology is making the moves and results available almost in real time, whether the chess play is over the board or online. With easy access to powerful computers and progressively more sophisticated software, almost anyone can dissect a game threadbare, what used to be the prerogatives of chess masters in earlier days! With so many analysts from Grandmasters to club players equipped with their PC and software, the openings have been analyzed to a depth where you can possibly rattle off the first dozen moves in any opening without even thinking! If anybody makes a mistake, it is because all people are not blessed with a computer-like memory! There may also be the tragedy of missing the forest in looking at the trees!

I sometimes wonder if it is tending to make modern games more stereo-typed (for want of a better word) and there is less to enthuse people the way Morphy games used to do 150 years earlier, or Marshall games 100 years earlier, or Tal games 50 years earlier…

You may argue that their games used to be flawed on many occasions, but can you deny the magic also that they produced by some electrifying moves? When you play through the games in Chess Sacrifice as a Chess Tactics: diverting opponent’s piece or Chess tactics: A move worth some gold pieces? or Chess Sacrifice as a Chess Tactics: gaining space for attack, do you think of the flaws or wonder at the way the victors conjured up their moves?

In one article, I expressed that according to experts, all brilliancies arise out of mistakes by one player. In fact, if both players played perfect chess as per the theoretical lines projected by analysis, what result would you expect from such games? And when you choose to play games from master level, what percentage of those do you take from drawn games? Quite low compared to the decisive ones, I am sure.

If I may use a simile, modern nutrition theory and health studies have analyzed all our food to such an extent that anyone caring about it knows for each food its calorie content, the chemicals it contains, their favorable/unfavorable effects, the risks of diseases we run and so on and so forth. But how much will you enjoy your food if you keep doing it for all your food? Conversely, do you think of these when enjoying your triple sundae? How many of us do not have weaknesses for ice-creams and chocolates in spite of knowing their flaws in respect of health-giving quality? If you stick to the guidelines, you will be in better health (!) probably, but I wonder how much enjoyment you will have left in that life.

Chess is a food for your mind and some analysis definitely helps us to understand complex positions. But over-analysis will surely create the same effect as I described for your favorite foods. I have another thought on game analysis which may appear controversial to many of you. It is my view that unless the players themselves annotate their games immediately afterwards, the analysis of moves that get published may not reflect the truth behind the logic of the moves when those were played. Except where a link can definitely be established between a previous and a later move (like Breyer’s 14th and 23rd moves in Chess Tactics: Well thought-out combinations), we can never be sure how much of the brilliant idea in a move owe itself to the player and how much to subsequent analysis! Also of relevance are our thoughts on chess logic and chess intuition.

Such may be the thoughts working in the unconscious mind of all those people like me who love to play and discuss the games that Morphy, Marshall, Tal and others of their ilk have left behind. Let us keep playing and enjoying and sometimes getting thrilled! In future, we may only be getting more and more drawn games.

We just produced some food for thought – how the reader takes it will depend on individual appetites! If your curiosity is aroused regarding the truth of the matter, you may like to compare between the periods say 1950-1959 and 2000-2009 regarding the percentage of drawn games in total games played. Or a similar comparison for the games from the World Champions of say 1905, 1955 and 2005. I do not mind getting corrected. Any takers to find and share with us?

To save this article from boring you to death, given below is a game from 1925 played at Debrecen (Hungary) between David Przepiorka and Lajos Steiner who even in their times were not among the notables. Just play it and think what I said.

David Przepiorka (1880-1940) was a Polish player of Jewish origin and became the Polish champion in 1926. He was executed by the nazis in a concentration camp. Though not well-known, he has to his credit victories over some more famous players like Teichmann, Tarrasch, Spielmann, Rubinstein, Nimzowitsch etc.

Lajos Steiner (1903-1975) was a Hungarian Champion in 1931 and 1936. He emigrated to Australia in 1939 and became Australian Champion a few times. He was awarded IM in 1950. Like his opponent, he had also scored victories over players like Tarrasch, Marshall, Tartakower, Gruenfeld, Nimzowitsch etc.

Watch the Game



No one pointed it out, so we presume everyone missed a small error in the video! At the end, it says “Black Resigned” but if you have watched the video carefully, you will see that Black went all the way till he was checkmated!

Middle game tactics: Dilemma over the choice of rooks to move

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One of the important set of pieces with unique advantages of moving forward and backward only on verticals and horizontals and not otherwise is the rooks. The importance of the rooks can be assessed by the fact that the value of two rooks is more than the value of the Queen. No other combination of the major and minor pieces gives a value more than the value of the queen in the game of chess. The rooks are basically stationed at the flanks at the start of the game. As part of the opening strategy, it is imperative that the players try to bring these two rooks into play by preferring to castle and prepare the rooks for further development.

At the start of a typical middle game stage, one could invariably find both the rooks occupying the back ranks while all other minor pieces leave that first rank and take interesting positions in the other ranks. Most of the time even the Queen moves out of the back rank, but the rooks will be stationed there before preparing for the development.

It is imperative that which of the two rooks should be moved as part of the development or defence should be correctly assessed, based on the evaluation of the position of the board, and a wise decision is taken. The choice of the wrong rook for movement will not only complicate the position, it might give away the advantage to the opponent to pounce on the weakness.

To emphasize this important fact, let us look at a part of the game played in German Bundesliga by two grandmasters, where a wrong decision by white has forced him to part with the control over the board and ultimately after great defending and futile attacking, had to settle for a draw.

This is the position of the game after 15 moves, and it is the turn of the White to make a move.


(White to move)

A cursory look at the position indicates that both the players have developed their pieces fairly well, and are in the midst of an intriguing middle game. It is obvious that White would want to move his rook to the e1 square to share the advantage of the open e file. Here comes the dilemma as to which of the two rooks – rook at c1 or the rook at f1 – that should be moved to the e1 square – is the problem.

The merits of moving the rook at f1 to e1 include – having two rooks at each side – queenside and the kingside – and exercising control over the “c” file and the “e” file. On the contrary, moving the rook at c1 to e1 means the rook at f1 is blocked.

White decided to go ahead with the second option of moving the rook at c1 to e1.

The moves are as follows:

16. Rce1 Qd6
17. Re3 …. White anticipated that an exchange of Rooks as:

1. ….. Rxe3

2. fxe3 ….. would strengthen his position with the Rook at f1

17. …. Bg7 Black did not accept the invitation for exchange

The game continued further and after another 30 moves or more, both the players agreed for a draw.

This is a nice example, which emphasizes that every move, especially the wrong ones such as this one by white, should be judged on its merits.

Middle game tactics: Moving the worst piece first is a good idea

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The Middle game part in the game of chess is the place where most of the tactics are tried and effectively deployed. This is so because, it is in this stage that the major and minor pieces of both the players would be battling for control over the squares. As you might be aware, tactics are a series of less than three moves at a stretch aimed at a positional advantage and/or thwarting the plans of the opponent. In most of the cases, the tactical moves planned by a player might not fully materialize due to the defensive moves or counter attacking moves of the opponent. So, there would be a series of tactics that might be required to be calculated and assessed by the player before effectively deploying it into action.

It is quite possible in such occasions that one gets caught in a dilemma as to which piece to move or how to initiate a tactical ploy to gain advantage over the opponent. It is in this context that assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the major and minor pieces at work in the board should be assessed, and the least effective piece in the board should be considered as the starting point of a tactical ploy. The process of identifying the weak piece is not a one-time affair in the game. The positions keep changing quite frequently and it is essential that the idea of identifying the relative weakness in the pieces is constantly reviewed and tactics are planned accordingly so that one can have an edge over the opponent.

Let us try to explore this concept a little deeper with the help of a game played in 1995 between two grandmasters, and see how the concept works out.

The position of the game after 26 moves by White is given hereunder, and it is the turn of Black to make a move.


A casual look at the board reveals that the Black has two bishops as against one of White. White, however, has an additional Knight and also one extra pawn. Despite a pawn down, black has a good position on the board, and a fair chance for launching the attack. The light squared bishop is threatening the white knight at a3, and at the same time providing cover for the pawn at f3. Now the dilemma is which is the piece to be moved. It is evident that the rook at f8 is not so effective, and there is not much room for moving any of the pawns.

The game continued as follows with the black preferring to move his weak rook at f8.

26. …. Rg8
27. Rg1 …. Sensing the ploy that blacks light squared bishop might threaten the white king with a check on g2, the rock has been moved for additional cover.
27. …. Rxg1
28. Kxg1 …. Black preferred to exchange his rook

The position in the board after White’s 28th move is given below:


As has been stated earlier, it is not necessary that the idea of identifying the worst piece should be a one-time affair. It has to be looked for constantly to have better control over the overall board and also an edge over the opponent. Now, we need to once again identify the weak piece or the piece that can be ideally considered for the next move. The light-squared bishop is exerting pressure on the White King restricting his move to only two of the four possible moves, and the dark-squared bishop is protecting the pawn at f3. It is obvious that the queen should be the one to be moved.

A deep look at the squares reveals that the white square d3 is unprotected. This would be better for the black queen to land in to exert more pressure on the white king. Black decides to execute the plan as follows:

28. …. Qg6+
29. Kh1 Qd3 Mission completed for black
30. Be1 …. White tries to activate his Knight at a3 to c2.

The position after 30 moves of white is given below:


It is the turn of Black to move now. What should he move now? Again the process of identifying the weak piece or ineffective piece needs to be carried out.

It is clear that after White moved his dark-squared bishop from d2 to e1, the threat for the black pawn at f3 is eliminated, and there is no need for the dark-squared bishop at d6 to provide cover for the f3 pawn. As such, the weak piece or ineffective piece now turns out to be the dark-squared bishop.

30. …. Be7
31. Nc2 Bh4
32. Nb4 Qd1

The game is almost over for White. The decision to move the dark-squared bishop from d6 to e7 and then follow it with a move to h4 (Bh4) is too good for white to handle, and as such lost the initiative. The end game is more of a formality now, with black firmly in control.

Analysis of the positions and the relative strengths and weaknesses should precede any tactical ploys, and this game is a best example for this useful trick, which might turn out to be so handy in the middle game.