I recently acquired a copy of the much acclaimed and long out of print The Best Move by GMs Hort and Jansa. The book presents the readers with 230 test positions to solve. These positions are utterly unlike those in the countless other problem books that are available. There may be a winning combination, a forced mate, an effective positional move, or the reader may have to reject a tempting but flawed continuation. They are simply complex, interesting positions that the reader is asked to delve into.
I have long been wanting to see more of such problems. To that end, I have decided to put together a regular set of such problems. I am calling these problems the Master Challenge. These problems may be tactical or positional, simple or deep. There is some "solution" or insight that is sought in each problem, but there is no guarantee that there is a winning move or even an absolute best move.
Some of these positions may be challenging for masters and better, some are quite a bit simpler. In any case, I believe there may be rewards for most players in thinking about the positions and trying to evaluate the position and identify some of the key ideas at play in the position. There should also be value to all players in playing through the solutions, but I encourage you to at least try to solve the problems before revealing the solution. Several of these are taken from my own games, simply because they are games that I know a bit more deeply.
For each problem, I have awarded a total of 5 points for various insights. These are simply to identify the most important insights in the position. Best of luck!
Problem 1: Is there a way to break through here? (Click to reveal the game continuation once you believe you understand the position.)
Problem 2: How can Black progress? (Click to reveal the game continuation once you have identified your first move.)
Problem 3: What is the correct evaluation of this position? Is Black winning, drawing, or losing? Prove it with a variation.
Problem 4: What is the correct evaluation? Prove it with a variation.
Problem 5: How should White continue? What is the correct evaluation with best play? (Click to reveal the game continuation after you have identified White's continuation.)
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