Can You Solve These Tactics That Won Brilliancy Prizes?
Keep your tactics sharp with these award-winning positions.

Can You Solve These Tactics That Won Brilliancy Prizes?

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After sharing positional puzzles to the raging masses, I thought that it was only right to offer tactical puzzles and sharp attacks.

However, there’s a tiny blip: All these games won brilliancy prizes. Anyway, whether you solve it or not, you should have a lot of fun trying.

As usual, please look at the notes after you try to solve the puzzle.


Wilhelm Steinitz vs. Samuel Rosenthal, London 1883

Steinitz (born 1836, died 1900) was the first official world chess champion. He changed chess by proving that positional chess was just as important as tactical play.

Rosenthal (born 1837, died 1902) became the strongest player in France.


Isidor Gunsberg vs. Emil Schallopp, London 1886

Gunsberg (born 1854, died 1930) was a top player who came very close to winning the world championship in 1891 against Steinitz.

Schallop (born 1843, died 1919). Don’t associate him with a scallop, which is a saltwater clam. 



Jean Taubenhaus vs. Amos Burn, Nottingham 1886

Taubenhaus (born 1850, died 1919) was born in Warsaw but settled in Paris where he played, just about every day (!) at the legendary Cafe de la Regence.

Burn (Born 1848, died 1925) was stronger than Taubenhaus. Nimzowitsch claimed that Burn was one of the six best defensive players in the world. Richard Forster wrote an excellent (and huge) book all about Amos Burn (McFarland & Company 2004).


Henry Bird vs. Nicholas Theodore Miniati, London 1889

Bird (born 1830, died 1908) was an accountant, not a professional chess player. However, he played like a pro and defeated (in tournaments and matches) chess gods like Anderssen, Blackburne, Chigorin, Winawer, and just about everyone. A magnificent book (608 pages, hardcover) about Henry Bird was written by Hans Renette. If you like books like this, try to get a copy.

Miniati (born 1860, died 1909) was known as a strong amateur chess player, but he was a bit more than that since, in those days Miniati (a man with a very aggressive style) was thought to be one of the strongest amateurs in the world. He actually played a match against Emanuel Lasker in 1890, drawing two and losing three (two draws against Lasker is a great success!).

Here’s a fun example of Miniati’s style. He announced mate in seven:

Now for the puzzle:


William Pollock vs. Charles Moehle, USA (Cincinatti) 1890

Pollock, an Englishman (born 1859, died 1896), was a surgeon and chess master. Though he wasn’t able to always hang with the big guys, he did beat quite a few famous names including Steinitz, Gunsberg, Bird, Teichmann, Tarrasch, Pillsbury, etc.

Moehle (born 1859, died 1898) was one of America’s best players, perhaps second only to Jackson Whipps Showalter.


Paul Lipke vs. Dawid Janowski, Vienna 1898

Paul Lipke (born 1870, died 1955) was a strong German player. However, after enjoying the rush of international tournaments, he said enough was enough, quit chess, and became a lawyer.

Janowski (born 1868, died 1927), a world-class player, loved to have two bishops vs. two knights or bishop and knight. He was so famous with the bishop love affair that when he went to the United States American spectators called the bishops the “two jans.” Janowski played a match for the world championship against Lasker, but he got crushed by the score of no wins for Janowsky, three draws, and eight losses.

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