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Some are easy, while some are hard (not so obvious). What is the best way to solve mate in two? Other than knowing tactics, is there a certain strategy?
Well, composed puzzle are not so much about tactics as about "themes".
You probabl have to approach them differently from regular positions. Many have very little basis in reality. I always say puzzles are not chess, but a seperate discipline using the rules of chess.
I guess if ou understand all or some of the themes, you might spot the patterns easier
I practice mate puzzles to help my tactical vision without moving pieces. How differently?
Lemme give ou an example. This puzzle, (like many others) is more about the composer trying to accomplish a task, and not setting a problem for a solver.
This is a theme called starflights. The black king is on e2 (the centre of the star) d1, f1, d3, f3 are the points of the stars. If the king escapes to any of these squares, there is a seperate and different mate for each square.
Well, mate is when you give check and the opponent can't evade it.
So - the second move has to be a check. Now what has to happen in the first move to get a mate for your check? -> Make sure the checking piece can't be taken or blocked and the king can't run away, either ...
Not that simple. Some mates are forced, meaning you have to check your opponent on the first move then give mate. But alot are not so obvious.
First try calculating all checks, captures, and mate in 1 threats on the board. Write out your calculations, then check your analysis against the answer to see what you missed. Usually it is something pretty basic, like not considering all checks, or say missing a pin.
There are also many good books on solving composed problems/studies. The classic is Howard's 'How to Solve Chess Problems'. I also like Taverner's 'Chess Problems Made Easy'. Nunn's 'Solving in Style' is supposed to be good too, and is on my wish list. I'm sure there are many others.
Even though composed problems are certainly artificial, the solutions are 100% tactical.
my mind is blown that any chess player could be below a 1300
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