Puzzle 1: Intermediate. White to play and checkmate in three moves.
Napoléon Bonaparte, the French military commander, is famous for many of his strategic battles, but there’s another hidden side of his personality that many rarely see. Yes, he was a chess player! A few of his Chess battles have survived for us to ponder over. This particular game was played in the year 1804 against Madame De Remusat. Napolean plays white here and delivers a deadly checkmate in three moves!
Puzzle 2: Hard
A tough nut to crack! White to play and mate in two moves. A beautiful chess composition, but from the hands that have known more stories and poetry than Chess. Vladimir Nabokov, a reputed literary figure and the author of Lolita and other stories, was also a chess lover! He loved poetry and also composing interesting chess positions.
Puzzle 3: Easy. White to play and win.
Vishy Anand’s shortest game! In the famous Biel chess festival of 1988, Anand stumbled into an early resignation following a hasty opening mistake. The story goes like this… Anand followed a game played the previous year by Larry Christiansen and Tony Miles where Bf5 was employed but instead of Qe2, Miles captures the knight on e4 and the game went on for a few more moves before ending in a draw. What Anand did not realize was that the Miles – Larry game was a pre-agreed draw. Poor Vishy. Hasty opening preparation can lead to disaster even among top players.
Puzzle 4: Hard. Black to play and win.
Rubinstein, a legendary Chess grandmaster with a predominantly positional style played this game against Rotlewi, in 1907 where he unleashed a tremendous tactical combination involving an exemplary use of diversion and removal of defense. Black to play and win!
Puzzle 5: Intermediate. White to play and win.
There was a wide speculation of retirement, even among his fans. The former world champion lost his crown to Magnus Carlsen and couldn’t regain it in the return match. This followed a series of bad tournament performances. But the Madras Tiger is not an easy person to give up. He won the World Rapid tournament in 2017 and in 2018 won yet another strong tournament, the Tal memorial rapid tournament. In the following position, Vishy delivered a killer combination involving multiple sacrifices! White to play.
Puzzle 6: Find Fischer’s famous move here (He plays black. His turn)
13-year old Bobby Fischer’s famous move stirred an international chess community’s attention. He plays black here, against his strong opponent Bryne, the then-US champion. The game is an illustration of Fischer’s playing style, which is notorious for several sharp attacking games.
Puzzle 7: Intermediate. Black to play. Are you able to find the sneaky checkmate in three?
In the first round of the world rapid championship, 2016, the world champion, Magnus Carlsen was pairing against Ganguly, another experienced Indian Grandmaster. An opportunity of a lifetime just passed before the Indian Grandmaster in the below position, and he failed to grab it. He played the sloppy Rxa4 here and the game eventually ended in a draw. What did Ganguly miss?
Puzzle 8: Easy. White to play and win!
Magnus Carlsen defended his world title against the former child prodigy and youngest Grandmaster record holder Sergey Karjakin. Karjakin won the 2016 candidates tournament and won the right to challenge Carlsen. The 16-game match was a close battle and the winner wasn’t decided until the last two games, which Carlsen owing to his great experience won outrightly! Below is a final touch to Carlsen’s world title! A sweet finish checkmate in two! Shouldn’t be hard.
Puzzle 9: Hard. Black to play and win!
This famous position between the sharp tactical American chess player Frank Marshall and Lewitsky can be rightly framed as the greatest move of all time! Black to play and deliver a killer blow that will want him to resign immediately! Marshall is famous for his sharp attacking style. He was the US Champion for a record 27 year! There’s a story that following black’s final killer move (hopefully you will find it), the spectators showered the board with gold coins (back then coins were minted in Gold) as a sign of admiration and deep respect for the fascinating move.
Puzzle 10: White to play. Easy
A few years before he died, the former world champion from Riga, Mikhail Tal played this game at the Chicago Open, 1988. Tal, the romantic attacker was true to his style until the end of his life. White to play and checkmate in three moves.