My last article didn’t have any chess puzzles, which I know Chess.com readers enjoy. To make up for that, we’ll have a simple article this week composed entirely of puzzles. And, as I did in Part 2 of this series, all examples will be from games that won brilliancy prizes. If you solve them, you will have every reason to think, “Why can’t I win a brilliancy prize too?”
Hmm… that’s an interesting thought. Perhaps you’re far better than you ever imagined!?
Almost all of these puzzles are very difficult, so I’m feeding you to the lions. But please remember: it’s not all about solving these problems. It’s also about enjoying (and perhaps learning from) the wonderful tactics and attacks that these players somehow conjured up! My notes will help you deconstruct what’s going on.
The Danish-born grandmaster Jacob Aagaard (he now resides in Scotland) won the British Chess Championship in 2007, has written many fine chess books, and is co-owner of Quality Chess, a highly regarded publishing company. Here’s a fun example of his tactical powers.
Jacob Aagaard at the Dresden Olympiad in 2008
The St Louis Chess Club is all the rage nowadays, so I decided to show a fun game from St Louis that goes way, way back to 1884! White has just played 26.Qf3, threatening to take on f7. How should Black deal with this?
The English grandmaster Chris Ward is well known for his excellent books [and commentary at the London Chess Classic last week! - ed.]. My favorites (out of many): Genius of Paul Morphy, Nimzo-Indian Kasparov Variation, his work on the wonderful Dangerous Weapons series, and Controversial Samisch King’s Indian. But, as our puzzle shows, he also plays a mean game too!
In general, Amos Burn was a quiet positional player. However, all good players can do everything well, and if he got the chance to slash his opponent to bits, he would happily take it!
Isidor Gunsberg, born in Hungary in 1854, was a very strong player who lost a close World Championship match [4 wins, 6 losses, 9 draws] to Steinitz in 1891. He died in 1930. Emil Schallopp was born in Germany in 1843 and died in 1919. He’s most famous for the seafood that was named after him.
One would think that a World Championship challenger would beat a player who failed to win even one top event, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, Schallopp more than held his own against Gunsberg in the games they played.
I’m giving the first 14 moves of this game since I feel the extremely wild opening will give you a clear idea about Schallopp’s hyper-aggressive style.
An interesting opening, played at a time when fear seemingly didn't exist. Now it's time for the puzzle:
In Part One of this series, I gave two games won by William Pollock that blew quite a few Chess.com members away. So why not give Pollock fans another taste of his extremely exciting brand of chess?
Born in England in 1859, he was a surgeon by profession, and his chess games were so tactically violent (and brilliant) that he seemed to be wielding a knife on the chessboard too as he sliced and diced his opponents to submission!
He played in several strong tournaments, but rarely beat the world’s top players. But when he faced anyone but the best, he was brutality incarnate. He died at the young age of 37, a victim of tuberculosis.
David Janowski (born in Belarus in 1868, died in France in 1927) loved very sharp chess and his style earned him many brilliant victories. However, those that live by the sword often die by the sword, and this time poor Janowski is the hunted instead of the hunter.
Paul Lipke (born in 1870 in Germany, died 1955), a lawyer, was quite a strong chess master but he wasn’t really in Janowski’s league. I’m sure Janowski was thinking the same thing, right up to White’s 20th move!
Our next puzzle features one of the most famous combinations of all time. It’s nothing less than awesome. Many of you have seen it, but for those that haven’t, prepare to be blown away! I’ve added a full analysis so you can enjoy every single nuance.
I have to admit that I never was impressed by Mieses (born in Germany 1865, died in 1954), as a player (one-dimensional) or writer (dry). But when he managed to get a position that suited him (an attacking position!), he could roll over anyone. His play in this game is sharp, imaginative, and instructive.
Our previous puzzles (with the exception of puzzle 2) were really heavy duty. Here’s one that’s actually solvable. Janowski, who was the victim in puzzle 7, shines with a simple but elegant finish.