Can You Pass This Positional Chess Test?
Try your best to solve these chess puzzles.

Can You Pass This Positional Chess Test?

Silman
IM Silman
Aug 11, 2018, 12:00 AM |
45 | Other

Welcome again to another learning chess experience.

You will look at eight positional puzzles and, as you finish each one, you will click the question mark (“?”) underneath the board next to the light bulb. This will allow you to see all the instructive prose.

If you fail the puzzle, don’t worry! This isn’t a contest, it’s just an enjoyable way to learn new things.

PUZZLE ONE

DIAGRAM

(Black to move)

Black, who has a small edge, has a couple interesting options here. If you’re serious about the game, don’t try to solve the puzzle yet. Instead, write down what those black options are and also write down why they are interesting. Once you do that, it will be puzzle time.

PUZZLE

PUZZLE TWO

PUZZLE THREE

PUZZLE FOUR

The position looks complex with both side’s kings in the center and the center pawns facing off. Also, Black can get rid of White’s light-squared bishop at any time by ...Nxb3. Is chaos the name of the day? Are both players shaking their heads in confusion?

PUZZLE FIVE

PUZZLE SIX

DIAGRAM

PUZZLE

PUZZLE SEVEN

Black’s a bit better here, so my grandmaster opponent wanted to add some complexity by playing 15.h4. The problem is that Black’s king is very safe while White’s king won’t be 100 percent safe on either side of the board. Of course, Black can’t scare White’s king if there are no roads to it, so Black’s move is obvious.

PUZZLE EIGHT

DIAGRAM

Black’s a pawn down but he has serious pressure against White’s queenside pawns. Now let’s take a look at something similar.

PUZZLE

Black had made a positional sacrifice of his a7-pawn (in 1914 it was a shock!). Why is this sound? Think about the Benko Gambit (above), which also sacrifices a pawn for a strong g7-bishop and Black’s rooks taking aim at two half-open files lined up against White’s a- and b-pawns.

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