Chess Puzzles / Games

White to Play

In a chess club, beginners will often observe a couple of strong players going over a game they just played with each other or against some third party where the one strong player is bragging to the other about his game. Oftentimes the beginners will hear, “I really dominated the dark squares.” or “My light squared bishop controlled the long diagonal.” And have no real appreciation of how important square control by color can be. This position is the best example I have found of dark square exploitation.

White to Play

Simple question: how does White draw this? Black seems able to prevent White from getting at the pawn with his rook. How do you solve this dilemma?

White to Play

Reader Jim Williams wrote in to ask for the complete score of the Morphy game from Friday’s puzzle so he could see how it developed. I couldn’t find the game in my database, so I checked Sergeant’s Morphy’s Games of Chess. Found it! It was at odds of the queen knight, which was interesting. The reason it didn’t show up in the database was because Morphy announced mate in three, which was the puzzle. Then we looked closer. So, here are two puzzles in one!! What forced mate did Morphy miss earlier and what way to save himself did the opponent miss just before the final fireworks? You have one big hint in the diagram.

White to Play

Here’s a classic. In fact, it may be the first example of an “epaulette mate.” Played by Paul Morphy against an amateur in the 19th century.

White to Play

One of my favorite endgame composers is R.K. Guy, who created some magnificent work in the 1930s and 1940s. Now we all know that a king and two knights cannot force a mate against a lone king.You can only stalemate him at best. However, if that lone king has just one pawn, he can be in trouble as long as that pawn can move because White can trap the king and then find a mate while the pawn moves. The pawn in the diagram is pretty close to promoting, so you really have to have your wits about you.