Studies for fun and entertainment (2)

by Frederic Friedel
9/26/2022 – Once again we will be presenting you with some unusual and interesting positions. They are clever and somewhat difficult to solve. But all of them are fun. We will present the studies on replay diagrams, where you can move the pieces to analyse. In one case there will be an engine that will defend against your attempts to win. The solutions with full explanations will be provided in a few days.

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Note that I am switching on the feedback section. Please do not give solutions to the puzzle – and ruin the fun for other readers. Just tell us what you think about them, how long it took you to solve, and how difficult you thought the studies were.

The solutions will come in full detail in a few days. There you will learn all the fine details of the position, in terms even a casual chess enthusiast can understand. I will of course not give the source of the study today. It is too easy to look it up with Google.

So let us get started. The first position looks fairly simple.


Astonishingly, there is only one key move in the above position that will secure a win. Can you find it by moving pieces on the diagram above? An engine will defend the position for Black, so you have to find the correct strategy to be able to secure victory. There is a lot you can learn from this simple study.

The second position is even simpler.


At first glance this looks like an easy win for White. But you soon see problems. Whatever you play Black is going to respond with 1...g2 – and force you to exchange the queen he promotes to on g1 for your rook. There is just one move that will actually lead to a win. Can you find it. Move the pieces on the diagram above. Here the built-in engine is switched off, so you have to work out everything on your own. Congrats if you find the only move that wins!

Our final puzzle is all about forks.


Black is threatening the dire ...Re1#. White has a powerful family check: 1.Nf5+, attacking the king, queen and rook. However, you soon discover it doesn't work: 1...Kxf4 2.Nxe7 Rxe7 is a theoretical draw. So how about an intermediate check, 1.Nh5, forcing the black king to move to the h-file. 1...Kh4 leads to the immediate family check on f5, and trades down to the winning B+N vs P, and 1...Kh3 2.Nf6+ forces 2...Kg3 and again we have a winning family check.

But what about 1...Kh2, after White has limited options? Do you think that White can win after 1.Nh5 Kh2 2.Nf6+ Rh3 – and if yes, how should White proceed? Once again, we have switched the engine off, and you are asked to work everything out all by yourself. Note that the main continuation contains a very clever path to victory.

That's enough fun for today. Expect the solutions and full explanations in a few days, during which you can try to solve them yourself. Once again: do not post solutions in the feedback session below. Only your thoughts on the studies and on this form of presentation.

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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