Questions tagged [puzzles]

Often, a puzzle type of problem in which a tactical or positional solution is required, like White/Black to move and win”, in what is often a middlegame of endgame-esqe position. But a puzzle can also be a chess riddle, chess math. or any other non-normal chess problem. Questions about solving puzzle, puzzle apps and websites, how to understand the idea behind a puzzle, etc. are also on-topic.

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26
votes
6answers
12k views

Why is this a checkmate?

I'm new to chess and I'm confused about a puzzle I was practicing. As you can see my black queen has put the white king in check, but I'm confused how this is possible if a rook is right next to my ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

Another Unusual Mate in One

Here is another mate-in-one of my own i.e. a not quite usual one... [title "Mate in one"] [FEN "3b4/R3P3/2kPR1n1/P1p1n3/4K1p1/2Nr4/5p2/1b6 w KQkq - 0 1"] Imagine, you ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

How many such positions are there? (chess/math checkmate puzzle)

I'm interested in this kind of position: There are only 4 pieces on the board. If Whites goes first, they can checkmate in one move. If Blacks goes first, they can checkmate in one move. For example: ...
15
votes
11answers
5k views

Where to start with a child learning chess?

From here: What is the best age to learn chess? it seems that consensus is that that kids can start learning chess at almost any age. From around 5 years old they are big enough to learn the names ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

Effectiveness of a spaced repetition system (SRS) for memorizing tactical patterns for long-term skill gain?

After reading Micheal de Maza's article 400 Points in 400 Days and the paper Training in Chess: A Scientific Approach by Gobet and Jansen, I have come to the conclusion that effective gains in chess ...
15
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2answers
4k views

Sherlock Holmes vs Professor James Moriarty, A Game of Shadow-Chess Game Position Reconstruction

The chess scene between Sherlock Holmes and Professor James Moriarty in the movie Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. What intrigued me even more was ...
14
votes
2answers
560 views

How many moves of head start does white need for a guaranteed win?

As we all know, it is not known whether white can always win in chess with optimal play. If, however, white got to make two moves before black made their first move would they be able to win with ...
13
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4answers
3k views

Difference between chess puzzle and chess problem in this episode of The Queen's Gambit?

While a chess puzzle is any puzzle involving aspects of chess, a chess problem is an orthodox puzzle in which one must play and win or draw a game, starting with a certain composition of pieces on the ...
12
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3answers
3k views

Why move bishop first instead of queen in this puzzle?

In this puzzle (white to move), the solution first moves the bishop (to pin the knight) and only then the queen. Why is it better to move the bishop first? [FEN "r2qk2r/pbp1bpp1/1pnp3p/8/3NP3/...
12
votes
3answers
753 views

Chess positions that are easy for humans but near impossible or confusing for computers

I noticed that one student is performing exceptionally well and beyond his level during an online class. I was wondering if there are particular chess positions that I can use during class to find out ...
11
votes
5answers
5k views

Brainteaser: What is the one thing a queen cannot do that all other pieces can do?

A simple brainteaser - A queen cannot do something all other pieces can do. What is that? April 18 2014 9:15 PM GMT. EDIT: In this context, by "doing" I mean making a move that leads to the desired ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How to solve this puzzle of Martin Gardner?

Martin Gardner mentioned the following "chess" problem in his column, Mathematical Games, for Scientific American (he got it from Smullyan, who learned about it from a high school math ...
11
votes
4answers
599 views

Lichess puzzle 87510: How much calculation would a strong player do before playing Bg4+ when white has a range of (all losing) responses?

Lichess puzzle 87510 has this position. [FEN "r1b1k3/pp4R1/2q3RQ/4p3/5P2/bP2P3/2P1K2P/8 b - - 0 1"] The solution is 1...Bg4+,.after which White has 6 legal moves: 1...Bg4+ 2. Rxg4 Qxh6, ...
11
votes
2answers
472 views

Why was 49…Rb4+ played in this puzzle?

I was looking at the answer of today's puzzle in chessgames and see that the reason I wasn't able to solve it because I missed a key move in the solution: Black played 49...Rb4+ note: this is not the ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

How much time you spend on one puzzle?

I know solving tactics puzzles is one of the recommended ways to improve in chess. I spend around 30 min solving puzzles. How much time I should spend on one puzzle? During games we don't think 15-...
9
votes
1answer
436 views

Why is Nb5 a strong move here? Why is there a guaranteed material gain?

Taken from: Chess Academy: A subtle blunder [Title "White to move"] [FEN "r1bqr1k1/pp1nbpp1/4pn1p/2pp4/2PP1B2/P1NBPN2/1P3PPP/R2Q1RK1 w - - 0 1"] White can play Nb5 followed by Nc7 but wouldn't ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How can white gain a slight advantage in this position? (puzzle for beginners)

Try solving the following puzzle authored by me (for beginners). White to move and gain a slight advantage, despite being a Queen down for a bishop at present: [FEN "2k1r3/pp6/n5q1/1N3p2/8/3B4/...
9
votes
1answer
877 views

From Mate-in-3 to Mate-in-1

Here is my new problem in 3 steps - the key designates here the piece that moves first in the solution. An other way to reach a mate in one I hope you'll enjoy... [Title "From Mate in 3 to ...
9
votes
3answers
466 views

Lichess Puzzle 82753: Can white win with a queen and two pawns vs. rook and four pawns?

Lichess puzzle 82753 involves a rook and pawn endgame where white sacrifices their rook to queen a pawn. The final position is the following (with black to move): [FEN "2Q5/6p1/1K3pkp/8/8/4p3/r5PP/8 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Strategic implications in this puzzle by S. Polgar/P. Truong

Usually chess puzzles at my level (beginner) have just one or two forced variations and a clear achievement, like a substantial material gain or checkmate. Once in a while, though, a puzzle leaves me ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Why Qxd5 instead of Rxd5?

This puzzle on chesstempo caught my eye. We play as Black: [FEN "1r1r2k/p4pp/2q/2p1p2P/P1P1Pn/B3NP/4Q2P/R6K w - - 0 1"] 1. Nd5 The White queen is under attack, yet one shall not rush and ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does this puzzle offer f8=R as better than f8=Q?

Here's a chess puzzle that gave a confusing response. https://chesspuzzle.net/Puzzle/52112 [FEN "5R2/1p6/p4Ppk/3r4/7p/1P6/P7/1K6 w - - 0 1"] 1. Rh8+ Kg5 2. f7 Rf5 3. f8=R If you play f8=Q ...
8
votes
3answers
848 views

Why is this the solution to this puzzle?

[FEN "2r3k1/5pp1/1q1bpn1p/pB1pN3/P2P4/5R2/1P3PPP/3Q2K1 w - - 0 1"] 1. Rxf6 Qc7 2. Rf3 This is a puzzle (and its solution) I found on lichess. But I simply do not see the expected logic of this ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Can black convert a +5.6 game into a draw (assuming both players play optimally)?

This shows a +5.6 winning for white at depth 33 (Stockfish 13+). White does have a bit of material advantage (knight) and black has more pawn islands. Can black convert this into a draw (assuming both ...
7
votes
5answers
5k views

Mismatch between my puzzle rating and game rating on chess.com

On Chess.com, I recently passed 2000 in the puzzle section. However, in 10 minute games, I can't reach 1600. How do I bridge that gap and increase my game score? Is 10 minutes maybe too short of a ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the best move in this puzzle rush?

[FEN "2b2r1r/2k1q1b1/2p1p2p/1p1pPp2/pP1P1RB1/P1N5/2P1Q1PP/5RK1 w - f6 0 1"] [starpPly "2"] 1. Bh5? In this puzzle rush from chess.com, it says that Bh5 is the wrong move, ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Square Free Position

[FEN ""] For the purposes of this question, a “square” is a set of four occupied cells on the chessboard whose centres form a geometric square. The cell may have any orientation. For ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Chesscademy Tactic: Is my alternative as good as the right answer?

I've been playing with the Chesscademy app for a while, solving some tactics (which I'm not sure is improving my chess, but it's a good puzzle to kill some time). Today I ran into one tactic that I ...
7
votes
1answer
423 views

How to think this end game puzzle and play this position

I encountered the following puzzle on Lichess. I instinctively knew I had to play Kc4 and then it would be about counting possible moves since neither king can move with out losing a pawn but I was ...
7
votes
1answer
397 views

Mate in One the Missing King

The post "A mysterious mate in one" made me think of one of my last problems which is also a Mate-in-One with no black King: [Title "White to move and mate in one"] [FEN &...
6
votes
3answers
588 views

Is it better to start without a queen or without any pawns?

I think that this question really can be answered rigorously with good analysis. It is opinion-based, but not completely since some results in this direction can be obtained, and strict and general ...
6
votes
1answer
190 views

How can white force a quick win here?

This is from a tactics puzzle I encountered today. The given solution was 1. Qxf6 gxf6 2. Bxf6#,” but to me 1... Ne6 seems to halt white in his tracks, even if it does give up a rook. My moves as ...
6
votes
2answers
162 views

Is my solution to this puzzle wrong or a transposition of the official one?

I saw the following puzzle recently in a newspaper: Black to play and win 6rk/6qp/2Bp4/P1pP1p2/3bnP2/6BQ/7P/5R1K w - - 0 1 My proposed solution was 1. ... Nf2+ and the lines I foresaw were ...
6
votes
2answers
400 views

Can someone describe a good/easy mental procedure to choose the best move here?

This is kind of like magic to me. Once they show you it becomes obvious :) :( Can someone point out a good/easy strategy that a player can mentally train/use to decide what is the best move here for ...
5
votes
1answer
803 views

In this puzzle, why does white play dxe5?

I came across the following puzzle on lichess (black to play): [Event ""] [Site ""] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round ""] [White ""] [Black ""] [Result "*"] [FEN "1k5r/1pp2q2/p2p2n1/4pp2/2PPP1p1/1P2B1P1/...
5
votes
1answer
326 views

Trying to remember a zugzwang puzzle/study position

I am trying to remember a puzzle position, or maybe was it originated from a real game, i dont remember. Something like (white to move): 7R/rp6/pk6/p7/P7/8/1K6/8 w - - 0 1 I would like to know where ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Method to study chess puzzles way above your level

I have a collection of middle-game chess puzzles classified in levels. I can solve most puzzles in the first level after a few minutes, and some of the puzzles in level 2. But for higher levels there ...
5
votes
1answer
266 views

Is there really a checkmate after 1… Bxf5?

This puzzle on chesstempo caught my eye. We play as Black: [FEN "1r1r3k/7p/5Pb1/p2BpRpq/1pP5/1P1Q4/P5RP/7K w - - 0 1"] 1.Rgxg5 Note: the solution is not quite important here, so no large ...
5
votes
2answers
476 views

What is White's motivation to give up the Queen?

I received the following tactics puzzle on lichess.org. Even though, I ended up solving it correctly, I am still not clear about the move 2. Ng5, because this loses the Queen. What prevents 2. Qe2, ...
5
votes
2answers
124 views

Position-jugdment problems simulating actual play

I'm interested in collections of chess problems where we are not told beforehand what is happening in the positions presented, but we have to decide by ourselves, whether something clear exists (a ...
5
votes
1answer
176 views

Is today's chess.com daily puzzle a draw (as hinted at in the puzzle title)?

Today's daily puzzle on chess.com is called Desperation Draw: White to move [FEN "r5k1/P4ppp/8/8/p1p1P3/4KP2/2P3PP/5R2 w - - 0 1"] 1. Rb1 Rf8 2. Rb8 * One of the commentators asked: What draw? ...
5
votes
2answers
332 views

Calculate the first N unknown moves of a chess game

Greetings fellow chess friends, Here is a quick idea that came to my mind. I am interested in writing a software that is able to calculate and/or guess the first n unknown moves of a given chess ...
5
votes
4answers
560 views

Reviewing Chess Tactics Puzzles

Is there somewhere online I can play chess tactic puzzles and redo them whenever I want? I do tactics on lichess but it doesn't store my puzzles. Is there somewhere that stores all my tactic problems ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

As Black, what is the fastest way to beat Gnu Chess on easy mode?

This is more of a puzzle. As far as I can ascertain, Gnu-Chess on easy mode always plays the same movesm What is the least amount of moves required to beat Gnu Chess on easy mode? Just to clarify, you ...
5
votes
2answers
273 views

Why I can't I play puzzles on Lichess?

Lichess is a blind-accessible chess site that I like to play. But for some reason, it doesn't support puzzles in an accessible way. I've done everything that I need to do to make them accessible. But ...
4
votes
4answers
310 views

How can I deal with frustration in not being able to solve puzzles in time?

I've been doing 1700-2000 puzzles for some days now. My problem is that when I cannot find a solution within 10 minutes, it literally kills me inside. I just get so frustrated and angry. Theh I just ...
4
votes
4answers
367 views

Best White Move

I'm building a chess engine and trying to figure out how good are the moves generated. Can you tell what is the best move for white in following position and why? Thanks. [fen "r1b1kbnr/2p2ppp/p1p5/...
4
votes
4answers
502 views

Why should I expect that black moves Rxd2 after I move Bxe3 in this puzzle?

I've been playing a few puzzles for a couple of days, and I see that often the final move to chessmate is easy to spot, but earlier moves aren't (to me). In this case, for instance, why should I ...
4
votes
3answers
285 views

What's the deep idea behind this puzzle?

I'm trying to get better by doing many tactics puzzles a day. This one I found very interesting. [FEN "6rk/6rp/p3pQ2/3pP3/3Pb3/1PP1PRR1/4q2P/6K1 w - - 0 1"] 1. Qxg7+! Rxg7 2. Rf8+ Rg8 3. ...
4
votes
2answers
343 views

Help me with this puzzle

Look at this puzzle: [FEN "r3q3/1pb1rbk1/2pn1p1p/p1Qp1Bp1/3P4/4P1NP/PP3PPB/3RR1K1 b - - 0 1"] The aim of the puzzle is: Black to play and attain a good position. But I can't find a good position ...