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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 or endgame-esqe position. But a puzzle can also be a chess riddle, chess math, or any other non-normal chess problem. Questions about solving puzzles, puzzle apps and websites, how to understand the idea behind a puzzle, etc. are also on-topic.

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36 votes
13 answers
5k views

What move requires the greatest number of moves before it could be played in a game?

The move e2e4 could be played on move 1. (One half-move) The move e7xd6 could be played no earlier than by black on move 3 (6 half-moves). What move(s) has the latest "earliest possible move it ...
Steve Bennett's user avatar
27 votes
6 answers
13k 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 ...
Sandrine Lorin's user avatar
24 votes
5 answers
4k 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 ...
Xavier Labouze's user avatar
23 votes
7 answers
4k views

Why do chess puzzles need a unique solution?

Why do chess puzzles need a unique solution? This is different from real games, where such situations do occur, but more frequently, there are multiple avenues to success. Contrary to what one might ...
Hauptideal's user avatar
  • 6,192
19 votes
1 answer
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: ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 293
17 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why did I fail this puzzle?

I just failed a puzzle at chess.com, despite being 2 moves away from check mate. I am quite sure that there is no move I could have made to get check mate in 1 move, so I am wondering how I failed. I ...
Lot's user avatar
  • 393
17 votes
6 answers
4k views

How does Black win this position?

I recently ran across notes I made from a book on endgames (I don't remember the book). According to my notes, Black wins this position regardless of whose move it is. I don't see it, and Stockfish ...
Garnet's user avatar
  • 339
16 votes
2 answers
931 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 ...
Milo Moses's user avatar
16 votes
5 answers
5k 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 ...
Dider's user avatar
  • 841
15 votes
11 answers
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 ...
Thomas's user avatar
  • 261
14 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
NM Wesley Falcao's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
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/...
Carla is my name's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
269 views

How long could a player last with all their possible moves written out in advance?

In this scenario: Black plays normally (and optimally). White has prepared a long list of possible moves for each turn before the game starts, then movement is automatic. Each turn, each move for that ...
Steve Bennett's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
792 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, ...
Rebecca J. Stones's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Arun J's user avatar
  • 1,865
12 votes
2 answers
568 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 ...
Gaph's user avatar
  • 179
11 votes
4 answers
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 ...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 2,040
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why can the bishop just take the knight in this Lichess puzzle?

In this Lichess puzzle, after the initial moves [title "Black to move"] [fen ""] [Startply "17"] [StartFlipped "1"] 1. c4 b5 2. cxb5 Bb7 3. Nf3 g5 4. Nxg5 Bg7 ...
hkBst's user avatar
  • 1,664
11 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Favst's user avatar
  • 221
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

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

Try solving the following puzzle (for beginners), where it is white to move and gain a slight advantage, despite being a queen down for a bishop: [FEN "2k1r3/pp6/n5q1/1N3p2/8/3B4/5PPP/5RK1 w - - ...
Amit Dash's user avatar
  • 389
10 votes
5 answers
7k 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 ...
NM Wesley Falcao's user avatar
10 votes
6 answers
9k 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 ...
Marsellus Wallace's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
981 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 ...
bpromas's user avatar
  • 799
10 votes
4 answers
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-...
Alex's user avatar
  • 305
10 votes
3 answers
522 views

Why 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 ...
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
633 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 ...
Rebecca J. Stones's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
611 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 &...
Xavier Labouze's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
3k views

How can I place certain pieces on a 5x5 chess board without any of them attacking each other?

How can I place one queen, two bishops, two knights, and two rooks, on a 5×5 chessboard without any of them attacking other pieces? After placing just queen and rooks, I can't make room for the other ...
Josip Maričević's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Oliver Scholz's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
3k views

White to play and win - only moving the rook once

[Title "White to play and win - only moving the rook once"] [fen "k7/8/8/8/8/8/8/K1R5 w - - 0 1"] This is an exercise in using the opposition and outflanking from John Hawkins' ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 97.9k
9 votes
1 answer
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, ...
GoogIe Chrome's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
505 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 ...
AturSams's user avatar
  • 267
9 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Xavier Labouze's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
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 ...
dictatemetokcus's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Hymns For Disco's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Zhiltsoff Igor's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why does Stockfish recommend this queen sacrifice in this puzzle?

[Variant "From Position"] [FEN "r1b1r1k1/pp3ppp/2p5/2Ppn1q1/1P1Q2B1/4P1N1/P4PPP/R4RK1 w - - 9 18"] [Title ""] 1. Bxc8 Raxc8 2. f4 https://lichess.org/training/fRzq3 The ...
qwr's user avatar
  • 3,792
8 votes
1 answer
625 views

Chess.com daily puzzle question (Gruenfeld's endgame magic)

In today's chess.com daily puzzle, I have no idea why the first move of the solution makes sense. [fen "8/8/8/pp6/P7/7K/1k6/R7 w - - 0 1"] The first step in the suggested solution is Ra3. I ...
Lot's user avatar
  • 393
8 votes
0 answers
226 views

Chessboard Domination from Opening

From the opening position for black (with no white pieces on the board), what is the fewest number of moves in which we can dominate the entire board, that is, reach a position so that each square is ...
hexomino's user avatar
  • 189
7 votes
4 answers
3k views

Most mate options after 6 moves

Found this construction problem from '83 and liked it. I don't know the best solution (yet), and maybe you can top it anyway. Consider the (help) "game" 1.e4 a6 2.Bc4 a5 3.Qh5 a4. Now White ...
Hauke Reddmann's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
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 ...
TSLF's user avatar
  • 325
7 votes
1 answer
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 ...
IanC's user avatar
  • 185
7 votes
2 answers
239 views

What checkmating move takes the most moves to set up?

An extension of this question. What checkmating move requires the greatest number of moves to be played in a game? A move is distinguished by: what colour is moving [unlike the previous question] ...
Steve Bennett's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
457 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 ...
Manuel's user avatar
  • 355
6 votes
3 answers
802 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 ...
Grešnik's user avatar
  • 315
6 votes
2 answers
209 views

2P winning against Q

Inspiration BCLC guessed (see link) that even only 2P can win against Q, even if the Q side has the move, if they are advanced far enough. I quickly checked a few promising position candidates in a ...
Hauke Reddmann's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
207 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 ...
Darren H's user avatar
  • 375
6 votes
2 answers
179 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 ...
Peter Taylor's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
740 views

Help understanding lichess puzzle 274165037

Link to puzzle: https://lichess.org/training/274165037 I got the correct solution first try, but I don't understand what it accomplishes. Seems the king can escape via f2 and rook h1 should deal with ...
Jorgen's user avatar
  • 63
6 votes
5 answers
653 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 ...
user3223348's user avatar