Brain builders

by ChessBase
11/7/2004 – If you find yourself jumping from diagram to diagram in your antiquated printed chess books and magazines, these exercises are definitely for you. Even if you have joined the 21st century with ChessBase 9 and our training videos, your skills will definitely benefit from this workout.

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Use the force

The following is a section from a recent issue of White Belt, a weekly training e-mail newsletter from Annotated reader games and questions are in just about every issue. Subscribers get a free six months at the best place on the internet to play chess,

Other online training material at Never too late to lose, GM Master class, Psyched out, Visualization practice, Tactics by Morozevich

Brain Busting Blunders

We've heard from a few of our more macho readers that we need to make these exercises more difficult. Say no more. This week we have the Find the Blunder format. You have to pick the WORST of the suggested moves. This means one of them has a clear tactical refutation and the others are at least reasonable.

If you are new to these puzzles, you have to play the moves below the diagram in your head before trying to solve them. Picture the new position clearly before trying to figure out the answer.

The answers are below, with the answer beginning after "FTB" (find the blunder).

9...f4 10.Nh3 Qe8

a) 0-0 b) e4 c) gxf4

8...Nd4 9.Bxd4 exd4 10.e5 Bxe5 11.Nxe5

a) ..dxc3 b) ..Qxe4 c) ..0-0

11.Ng4 Bxg4 12.Bxg4 e3 13.f3 h5

a) Bh3 b) Bf5

15.0-0-0 a6 16.Bxd7+ Qxd7 17.Rhe1

a) ..Nd4 b) ..0-0-0 c) ..h5

9.Na3 Nc5 10.Rc1 b6

a) Ne2 b) d4 c) d3

10...Nxd4 11.Qe4 Nxb3 12.axb3 Qd6 13.Nxb5

a) ..Qb4+ b) ..Qc6 c) ..axb5

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Nc3 Nxc3 5.dxc3 f6 6.0-0

a) ..c6 b) ..d6 c) ..Qe7

23...Qxa4 24.c4 b5 25.Qb2

a) ..bxc4 b) ..a5 c) ..h5

14...Nf6 15.Qe2 Nxd5 16.Bc1 e4

a) Nd2 b) dxe4

19.Ngf5 Bxf5 20.Nxf5

a) ..Rae8 b) ..cxd3 c) ..Nc8

14.Rfd1 Ke7 15.Nf4

a) ..Kf7 b) ..Qa5 c) ..Rad8

1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.e5

a) ..Bxf3 b) ..dxe5 c) ..Nh5



Replay and download the solutions here.

(1) Spanton,T (2004) - Lutton,J (2134) [A25]
Monarch Assurance Port Erin IOM (1), 25.09.2004

9...f4 10.Nh3 Qe8 FTB 11.0-0? [11.gxf4 exf4 (11...Bg4 12.Qd2 Nd4!) 12.Nxf4; 11.e4 Qg6 12.Qe2] 11...f3 The white bishop is overloaded protecting the h3 knight. If the queen captures the pawn it is trapped by the bishop. [11...f3 12.Bxf3 (12.Qxf3 Bg4 The queen has no squares.) 12...Bxh3] 0-1

(2) Dimitrov,R (2026) - Vanchev,Todor [C60]
Georgiev-Kesarovski Mem Sunny Beach BUL (3), 19.09.2004

8...Nd4 9.Bxd4 exd4 10.e5 Bxe5 11.Nxe5 FTB 11...Qxe5?? Putting the queen into traffic on the same file as the king. This is rarely good, especially when your opponent has already castled and has a rook quickly available. [11...dxc3 12.Bxf7+ Kf8 13.Qe2 cxb2 14.Rab1 d6 15.Ng6+ Kxf7 16.Nxh8+ Kg8 17.Rfe1 Nc6 18.Qe8+ Kh7; 11...0-0?! 12.Ng4 Qf5 13.Re1 d5 14.Rxe7 dxc4 15.Nxh6+ gxh6 16.Ne4] 12.Re1 Qd6 No matter where the queen goes, Nd5 wins the pinned knight on e7. 13.Nd5 1-0

(3) Chernushevich,Andrey - Dimitrov,Pa (2141) [C59]
Georgiev-Kesarovski Mem Sunny Beach BUL (3), 19.09.2004

11.Ng4 Bxg4 12.Bxg4 e3 13.f3 h5 FTB 14.Bh3?? This looks like the safer square, but it's vulnerable to a nasty check that also threatens mate. [14.Bf5 Qe5 15.Be4 Nxe4 16.fxe4 Qxe4 17.Qe2 exd2+ 18.Nxd2] 14...Qh4+ 15.g3 [15.Ke2 Qf2+ 16.Kd3 You can tell this isn't going to end well. 16...Rd8+ 17.Kc3 Ne4+ (17...Nd5+ 18.Kd3 exd2 19.Qg1 dxc1N+! The knight promotion is actually faster! Fun. 20.Qxc1 Nf6+ 21.Kc3 Qc5#) 18.fxe4 exd2 19.Bxd2 Qc5#] 15...Qxh3 0-1

(4) Jovkova Draganova,P (2069) - Genchev,Evgeni [B33]
Georgiev-Kesarovski Mem Sunny Beach BUL (5), 21.09.2004

15.0-0-0 a6 16.Bxd7+ Qxd7 17.Rhe1 FTB 17...Nd4?? Ugh. White can take the knight with queen or rook thanks to the pin on the e-pawn. King in the center... [17...0-0-0 18.f4 h5 19.Qf3 Qc7; 17...h5 18.Qg5 Qe7 19.Qd2] 18.Qxd4 1-0

(5) Stankovski,Marin - Penev,Valeri [A00]
Georgiev-Kesarovski Mem Sunny Beach BUL (6), 21.09.2004

9.Na3 Nc5 10.Rc1 b6 FTB 11.Ne2?? Yes, we like to see one like this every once in a while. Few things are prettier than a smothered mate. [11.d4 exd3 12.Bxd3 Qd6 13.Nf3 Nxd3+ 14.Qxd3 Qb4+ 15.Qd2 Qxa4 16.Bxf6 gxf6; 11.d3 Bf5 12.d4 Nd3+ 13.Bxd3 exd3] 11...Nd3# 0-1

(6) Atanasov,Viktor - Georgieva,Tonka [C62]
Georgiev-Kesarovski Mem Sunny Beach BUL (6), 21.09.2004

10...Nxd4 11.Qe4 Nxb3 12.axb3 Qd6 13.Nxb5? FTB. A blunder, but it inspires a blunder by Black! 13...axb5?? Falling in with White's plan. The pawn was pinned against the rook. Black could have gained an advantage with a quick check and fork. [13...Qb4+! Check, and Black keeps the initiative. 14.Qxb4 Bxb4+ 15.Bd2 (15.c3 Bd7) 15...Bxd2+ 16.Kxd2 Bf5 17.Rhe1 Rd8; 13...Qc6 14.Nc3 Rd8 15.0-0] 14.Rxa8+ 0-1

(7) Nikolov,N (2132) - Hristova,H (1982) [C42]
Georgiev-Kesarovski Mem Sunny Beach BUL (7), 22.09.2004

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Nc3 Nxc3 5.dxc3 f6 6.0-0 FTB 6...c6?? [6...d6 7.Re1 c6; 6...Qe7 7.Re1 c6 8.Nxe5!? fxe5 9.Qh5+ g6 10.Qxe5 d5] 7.Nxe5! A classic in these gambit lines. Whenever you see an f-pawn advanced away from home you should start looking for ways to exploit the holes around the enemy king. 7...d5 [7...fxe5?? 8.Qh5+ g6 (8...Ke7 9.Qxe5#) 9.Qxe5+ Qe7 10.Qxh8] 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Nxg6 Another classic. Two for one in this game. The h-pawn is pinned against the rook and there is the threat of a nasty discovered check. 9...hxg6 10.Re1+ Kf7 11.Qxh8 dxc4 12.Bh6! f5 13.h4 [13.Rad1!] 13...Be7 14.Qh7+ Ke8 15.Qxg6+ [15.Rad1] 15...Kd7 16.Rad1+ 1-0

(8) Aaron,Ashok - Riddell,J (2130) [E61]
State-ch New York USA (3), 05.09.2004

23...Qxa4 24.c4 b5 25.Qb2 FTB 25...h5?? Totally missing White's threat. Black's queen has no moves and it will be trapped by Ra1 before or after d5+. [25...bxc4 26.d5+ c3 27.Rxc3 Qd4 28.Bc4 Rxc4 29.Red3 Rb4 30.Qa1 Ra4 31.Qb2 Rb4; 25...a5 26.d5+ f6 27.dxe6 Qb4 28.Qxb4 axb4] 26.d5+ [26.Ra1 Directly works too. 26...Qxa1+ 27.Qxa1 hxg4 28.Qxa6] 26...Kh7 27.Ra1 Winning the queen. 1-0

(9) Villalobos,Jeffrey - McNally,Bernardo [A00]
zt2.3.c2 San Jose CRC (3), 06.09.2004

14...Nf6 15.Qe2 Nxd5 16.Bc1 e4?? FTB. Black misses a chance to play the winning combo here. Lucky for him, White gives him another crack at it! 17.dxe4?? [17.Nd2 The only move. 17...Nc3+ (17...Bxb2 18.Bxb2 Nc3+ 19.Bxc3 bxc3+ 20.Nb3 Qb4 21.Qe3 exd3 22.Rxd3 Bf5 23.Rxc3 Rfe8 24.Qd2) 18.bxc3 bxc3+ 19.Nb3 d5 20.dxe4 c4 21.Bf4] 17...Nc3+! A line opening sacrifice. If White declines the queen is lost. 18.bxc3 [18.Ka1 Nxe2] 18...bxc3+ 19.Ka1 Qb1# 0-1

(10) Figueroa,Marc (2126) - Sanchez,Jorge [B31]
zt2.3.c2 San Jose CRC (3), 06.09.2004

19.Ngf5 The g-pawn is pinned against the black queen. 19...Bxf5 [19...gxf5?? 20.Qxf6] 20.Nxf5 FTB 20...cxd3?? [20...Rae8 21.g5 Qh8 22.Ne3 cxd3 23.cxd3; 20...Nc8?! Silly, but it covers the crucial e7 square. 21.0-0-0 c3] 21.g5! The queen can't control both e7 and g7. 1-0

(11) Mig (2450) - Demish (2252) [A45] Main Playing Hall, 28.09.2004

14.Rfd1 Ke7 15.Nf4 FTB 15...Rad8?? [15...Qa5 16.Be2 Rad8 17.Qb3 Bc8; 15...Kf7 16.Be2 Be5 17.Nd3] 16.Nfd5+ A consecutive knight fork, basically. When both knights attack the same square, good things can happen. 16...exd5 17.Nxd5+ Ke8 18.Nxb4 1-0

(12) Mig (2450) - EJ3000 (1903) [B09] Main Playing Hall, 28.09.2004

1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.e5 FTB 6...Bxf3?? Believe it or not, a losing blunder already. The f6 knight is under attack and after Qxf3 the b7 pawn will be too. [6...dxe5 7.fxe5 Nd5 8.Bc4 c6; 6...Nh5 7.Be2 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nc6 9.Be3] 7.Qxf3 dxe5 8.dxe5 Nh5? From bad to worse. The knight has no escape squares. [8...Ng8 9.Qxb7 Nd7 10.Nb5] 9.g4 [9.Qxb7 This is also strong here or a move before. 9...Nd7 10.g4] 1-0

The preceding was a section from a recent issue of White Belt, a training e-mail newsletter from Mig Greengard's


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