ChessBase Puzzle Challenge – 02

by Anirudh Daga
3/18/2024 – Chess is a really fun game to play, but equally enjoyable is solving artificial positions – problems and studies – many that defy the imagination. In this ChessBase Challenge instalment, we have a set of puzzles that can challenge your brain. Can you solve the position? Can you find the mind-boggling strategy that is required to reach the goal? You have a week to do so. Then we will provide the full solution.

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Today we start with three wonderful little puzzles for you to solve. You probably know that you can move the pieces on the diagrams below. For the first, we have switched on an engine to defend for Black. You must find the correct strategy to achieve your goal. You can take back moves with the cursor keys of your computer, and try different lines. The notation button below the diagram will show you the lines you have entered so far. Clicking on a move will jump to the corresponding position.

The author and source of the problems, with the full solution, will be given next week.

Puzzle 1

This problem is what can be called a pseudo-two-mover, because if it were Black's turn to play, White could execute a mate in two moves: 1...Kg1 2.Ne2+ Kh1 3.Nf2#. However, White moves first, and there is no waiting move that retains the threat. You have to carry out a longer manoeuvre to mate Black. Can you find the right way to do it?

In the above diagram, you can move the white pieces. The diagram will defend for Black. You can take back moves with your cursor keys and try different lines. The notation button below the diagram will show you the moves you have entered so far. Clicking on any of them will jump to the corresponding position.

Puzzle 2

This relatively famous problem is by a world class chess master. It's White to play and win! Looking at the position, it may seem paradoxical as to how such a feat could be achieved with the a5-pawn soon-to be lost. But, there is a subtle trick, into winning this position. Can you find it?

Puzzle 3

Another study by the same author. Its first version was “cooked” by another great composer, who found a change for the idea of the study to be preserved. The second version is presented to you and again White must win here! He has a passed pawn on e6 which may soon promote, but the rook remains in its way - can you find how to block/dominate it? Here you have work out everything by yourself.

The source of the problems and their solutions, with full video explanations, will be given here in a few days. Naturally we ask you, very earnestly, not to post any solutions in the feedback section below. That would spoil the fun for readers who are still searching for the right strategies. Instead, tell us if you enjoyed the challenge the puzzles presented, if you were able to solve them, how long it took you, and whether you want more of the same.

Solution to ChessBase Puzzle Challenge 01

You can enjoy video descriptions of the studies by FIDE Master Gauri Shankar, in his inimitable style. Gauri teaches chess to thousands of children in the Chicago area.

Puzzles in our replayer:

Note that the first puzzle formed part of a famous study by the great Abram Gurvich. Our starting position is marked in the notation below.


Anirudh was born in Delhi, India, and now lives in Singapore. He is one of the world's most promising young problem composers, specializing in positions that are fascinating and unconventional. He became interested in chess composition after winning the Christmastide Solving Contest, at the age of twelve. Anirudh grew from strength to strength, competed at the World Chess Solving Championships, and composed numerous problems that have all found their due place in reputable problem magazines. It is his goal to spread the joy of chess composition and solving!


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Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 3/28/2024 02:11
Anirudh, I hope people interested will still read this, as by now it is on the '3rd page'. Maybe publish the whole article again?
A hint, as anyone willing to compete has less time for problem 1: the 3rd move is the crux. And there is a connection between the two endgame studies.
Aniedg Aniedg 3/28/2024 12:00
Thank you everyone for the comments. In the interest of clarity, the stipulation for Puzzle No. 1 is indeed "White to play and mate in 7 moves". This will be changed in a while!
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 3/20/2024 11:01
Same for me as for Laszlo. Is this problem a 'find the stipulation'?
I'm not likely to spoil anyone's fun by writing that 1. Nf4 Kg1 2. Nce2+ Kf2 3. Bg2 Ke1/e3 4. Nxg6 wins prosaicaly.
laszlo laszlo 3/20/2024 09:14
Thank you for the article. Is Puzzle 1 of this article a 'Mate in X moves' problem? I struggle to understand why White can't just sacrifice a piece for the h pawn and win prosaically.
Aniedg Aniedg 3/20/2024 08:37
Thank you everyone for the comments, the PGN has now been changed to credit both Rinck and Reti, for No. 3
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 3/19/2024 07:42
I can't imagine Bd7 was the cook; it looks to me as the intended solution - as in Rinck's correction.
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 3/19/2024 04:51
As mentioned before, the Reti EG (1928) with the rook on e5 had a dual on the second move with 2.Bd7 that he noticed only later. However, he was to pass away next year (1929). It was left to Artur Mandler who edited and published his endgame studies (1931) to mention the same. Four years later Henri Rinck restored it to its thematic idea with the rook on f4 that takes away the dual. John Beasley, a specialist and authority on endgame studies has explained it here:
Sadly, he passed away this month.
Now here is the original Reti study with the rook on e5:

After 1.Bf5+ Kd8 2. Bd3 (2.Bd7 comes to the samething) e1=Q 3.Bb5 White wins.
xaver xaver 3/18/2024 12:05
The correct source for Rinck's study in Challenge 01 is: Bohemia (Prague) 28 Juillet 1935
See Rinck, H: 1414 Fins de Partie, No. 147
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 3/18/2024 11:21
This time, only no. 2 is somewhere back in my mind (an even untidier place than my desk). I'll have a go at them. About the solutions: I knew no. 2 and 3. Seeing the original study by Gurvich was a great pleasure. As pointed out last time, no. 3 was originally by Réti, with the rook on e5. But as Réti himself had found, that was cooked by 1. Bd3. The solution to this composing problem by Rinck is remarkable (the rook having to go to e4 preventing a later Bd3), but they should at least be credited together.
Number two has featured before on chessbase, as a study the engines failed to solve, if I remember well. Probably now they can. Once you know the idea, it is less difficult then it seems. However, I might have solved it anyway, considering what happened to me fifteen years ago. In the Dutch team competition I had the honour to play against GM Yge Visser (who sadly has to stay in a mental institution nowadays). After a thrilling game ( I played Bc3+ in the following position, expecting a draw after Re2.

However, the grandmaster played Kf7!! and seeing 51.Bxd2 f2 52.Rb1 Bd7 53.Rc1 Bc6+, I resigned. The similarity should be obvious.