Can You Solve These Old Time Chess Puzzles?
These games won can you solve them?

Can You Solve These Old Time Chess Puzzles?

| 46 | Chess Players

The old time brilliancy prize games are fun to watch, but for some people they are even more fun if you can solve them in puzzles. Then, when you get little bios for the players too (winners and losers)…well, it’s a good time for all.

If you fail to solve a puzzle, just click the “?” and you’ll see all the right moves and notes.


Friedrich (also known as Fritz) Samisch (born 1896, died 1975). A German grandmaster, he beat strong players like Grunfeld and Capablanca. He also beat Reti in a match, with four wins, one loss and three draws.

He eventually retired from chess, but many years later he decided to play in one more tournament at the age of 73 (1969). He played quite well, but lost all his games in time pressure!

Friedrich Samisch
Friedrich Samisch via Wikipedia.

When I was having dinner with Bent Larsen, he told me a story about Samisch:

Samisch got married, and as they were putting their home together (Samisch’s huge trunk hadn’t even been opened yet), Fritz noticed an envelope on the table. It was an invitation to go to a tournament! He told his wife that he had to go to it, but he would come back as fast as possible. So he took his trunk and off he went. Two months later he returned. She didn’t understand why he was gone so long, but she was happy he was back and made a great meal for him. While they were eating she gave him a letter that came a couple weeks earlier. Sure enough, it was an invitation to a tournament! Since the envelope had been there for a while, he told her that he had to hurry and would be back as soon as possible. Two months later he got home but she was gone, and he no longer had a wife.

AI Schropp (probably a low expert; nobody knows when he was born, but he died in 1926), played in two tournaments that I could find. In Berlin 1919, he was 12th out of 16 players (Samisch came in tied for second). In the other tournament (the German chess Federation Congress 1920) he had a worse performance, coming in 11th out of 12 players, against many weak players.


Siegbert Tarrasch (born 1862, died 1934). Born in Poland, after finishing school in 1880, he left for Germany to study medicine and started a successful medical practice in Munich. Many thought that he was the best player in the world  from 1890 to 1893. Indeed, Tarrasch was offered a world championship match against Steinitz; however he refused saying that he had responsibilities to his patients. After that, Emanuel Lasker took the title in 1894 and that was that (Lasker kept the title for 27 years!). Though he was one of the best players in the world for quite a while, he was also one of the finest chess writers and teachers on Earth.

Savielly Tartakower (born 1887, died 1956) was an amazing man. Born in Russia, he moved to Poland, and ended up in France. He beat many of the world’s best. However, being one of the world’s best wasn’t enough for him, and he was also a renowned chess journalist (I have a couple of his books on my bookcase). But what made him really stand out for me was his wit.

Capablanca (talking to Tartakower): “You are lacking in solidity.” Tartakower’s response: “That is my saving grace.”

Other quotes:

  • “It’s always better to sacrifice your opponent’s men.”
  • “An isolated pawn spreads gloom all over the chessboard.”
  • “The blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made.”
  • “No game was ever won by resigning.”
  • “A game of chess has three phases: the opening, where you hope you stand better; the middlegame, where you think you stand better; and the ending, where you know you stand to lose.”
  • “I never defeated a healthy opponent.”
Savielly Tartakower
Savielly Tartakower via Wikipedia.


However, the judges most likely gave the brilliancy prize for the following note:


Akiba Rubinstein (born 1880 in Poland, died in Belgium in 1961) learned how to play chess at the age of 16, and became one of the world’s best players from 1907 to 1914. In fact, many thought he was the strongest player, period. When World War One began, Rubinstein started to show moments of mental illness aside from the horrible mental imprints of war (some say he heard a fly constantly buzzing in his ear), and after 1914 he was never quite as good as he was before.

Ejim Bogoljubow (born in Russia 1889, died in Germany 1952), in his prime, was a powerful player who could beat anyone at any time. He won two matches (both ended with a 5.5-4.5 score) against Max Euwe in 1928 and 1929 (Euwe finally won a match in 1941). He also played two world championship matches against Alekhine, both won by Alekhine.

Bogoljubov was sure that he was the world’s best player, and in some tournaments he seemed to prove it (for example, Moscow 1925 against Emanuel Lasker and Capablanca), and other times he would fall apart.

His best quote: “When I am White I win because I am White. When I am Black I win because I am Bogoljubov.”

He was also a devoted family man. For example, when he accepted to play in New York 1924, he took out insurance so that if his ship went down his family would be safe.


Karel Hromadka (born in Austria 1887, died in Czech Republic 1956). The opening 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Be7 is named the Czech Benoni, though sometime it’s also named the Hromadka Benoni. He also “owned” Tarrasch, with a 2-0 record.


Oscar Hans Antze (born in Germany in 1878, died 1962). Antze was a chess master who had a doctorate in medicine. He had a doctor’s office in Bremen from 1900 to 1962. He tied a match (1-1) with Bogoljubov, and beat Saemisch.

Carl Johan Margot Carls (Born in Germany 1880 and died 1958) was awarded an international master title in 1951. Though he was a successful banker (which took away most of his time), he did his best to play chess whenever possible. He beat many very strong players, including Teichmann, Spielmann, Treybal, Mieses, Saemisch, Gruenfeld, and Tarrasch.



Geza Maroczy (born in Szeged, Hungary 1870, died Budapest 1951) was a very strong grandmaster who had plus scores against many top players (Euwe, Chigorin, Marshall, Janowski and Bogoljubov to mention just a few). He was a positional player, had excellent defensive skills, and was the world’s best in queen endgames.

In puzzle two, we saw Savielly Tartakower fall victim to Tarrasch. This time Tartakower wins brilliantly by tossing out a sacrificial attack that earns the name immortal game.

This is a long one so most of you should just touch the "?" and enjoy the game. However, I put it in puzzle mode since some players might want to see how far they can get.

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