Christmas Puzzles: Solutions 3

by Frederic Friedel
1/5/2024 – How did you fare with the three fun-to-solve puzzles we provided on December 30? They were fairly subtle, one quite amuzing. We got them from Gauri Shankar is a FIDE Master with eight IM norms. He lives in Chicago and produces entertaining video shorts explaining problems and studies. You can watch them for the solutions to our Christmas selection.

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On December 30, in the installment "Christmas puzzles, fun to solve", we gave you three interesting problems to solve. They were all provided by Gauri Shankar, a FIDE Master, originally from India, who moved to the United States when he was ten years old. He has eight International Master norms, and is seeking to cross the 2400 Elo mark to get his title. He works as a chess trainer in Chicago, where he currently resides.

Gauri's decade long experience teaching chess to thousands of children has helped him become a popular online chess content creator, making entertaining and educational videos on Twitch, Youtube, Instagram and Tiktok.

The first Puzzle was a fairly simple position – but one that was quite clever:

To win the position for White you have to find the very clever idea that ensures victory. The solution runs as follows: 1.Rg7+! (1.g7? Ra8 2.Rh1) 1...Kxh8 2.Rh7+ Kg8 3.g7 Ra8 4.Rh8+ Kxg7 5.Rxa8 1-0. You can watch it in full in this short Gauri video

The second problem is by one of the greatest and most prolific composers. Once again, you can move the white pieces, and even start an engine to assist with your analysis. 

The point, of course, is to capture the rook and end with bishop and knight against the king. It is truly incredible that there is only one key move, a fairly innocuous one, that allows White to secure victory. And this is it: 1.Bg2 Only move to win, would you believe it? 1...Rxf4+ 2.Kg3 Rf6 3.Nc5+ Kb8 4.Nd7+ Kc7 5.Nxf6 1-0. 

There are a lot of subtleties involved. To understand them all, watch Gauri's video short.

In the final puzzle Black is threatening mate in one by ...Rh4. How on earth can White defend against it?

The solution is the rather amusing 1.Ra4 Rxa4 2.b4 Rxb4 3.c4 Rxc4 4.d4 Rxd4 5.e4 Rxe4 6.f4 Rxf4 7.Rf1 Rxf1 8.b8=Q 1-0. Once again, full explanations of this "insane puzzle" are provided by Gauri. This man's videos are a pleasure to watch.

You can download all three positions with full solutions in PGN here.

Have you enjoyed these puzzles? We hope it will encourage you to venture into the fascinating world of chess composition. Our competition for amateur composers will close on Janurar 15.

Please submit your compositions here

All Christmas 2023 puzzles


Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 1/5/2024 07:10
The first and third problem are quite well known. I even knew the composer's name of nr. 1. That makes them a bit too easy to solve for some people...
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