Are you smarter than a Grandmaster ?

Are you smarter than a Grandmaster ?

42 | Tactics

These days you can find a TV game show about anything.  Well, almost about anything.  There is no game show about chess.  Call me a hopeless nerd, but I would love to see the face of the contestant who gets a question “ What chess player having a choice between young Barbra Streisand and chess preferred chess?”


OK, there is no chess game show on TV, at least for now, but thanks to I can offer you a chess quiz. All the positions that follow are taken from the games played by Grandmasters and due to horrible errors ended before move 20. So you have to punish the offenders for their mistakes and prove that you are smarter than a Grandmaster. Good Luck!


In the first game the victim is ex-World Champion Vassily Smyslov. Are you smarter than Smyslov?


Our second casualty is ex-World Champion Boris Spassky.  Are you smarter than Spassky?

It is turn of the next ex-World Champion .  Are you smarter than Karpov?

The next game was played by a very young Veselin Topalov.  Are you smarter than Topalov?

Some people call the World Champion Vishy Anand a chess machine. Nevertheless, he is a co-author of our shortest game today.  Are you smarter than Vishy Anand?


I hope you had fun with these puzzles. If you solved all of them, than you can confidently enter your next big tournament, I am sure you won’t have any problems to avoid opening catastrophes. If some of the positions were difficult to solve, then you know that some work on chess tactics is in order.  The most important thing is to notice the factors that contributed to the quick disasters you just witnessed (hint: unprotected pieces, double attacks, pins, etc). So next time you have a similar situation in your own games, an invisible alarm in your head should go off and warn you about possible deadly tactics.

The ability to see all the warning signs of a coming combination is very important. I’ll definitely cover this very important subject in one of my future articles. If you master this art, then “It’s just a matter of throwing in a few sacrifices, then checkmate!"  as Bobby Fischer used to say.  Incidently, it was Bobby Fischer who (together with Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond) attended Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, NY.  It is said that young Ms. Streisand had a crush on Bobby.  To the great relief of the World Chess community, Fischer preferred chess…


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