Can You Find These Classic Combinations?

Can You Find These Classic Combinations?

| 24 | Tactics

This series is all about attacking chess and combinations and fun. And all of them are in puzzle form (some easy, some difficult) so you can see how your tactical IQ stands up to the old, sometimes forgotten greats. And, if you learn a tiny bit about chess history as we go along, you’ll be all the better for it.

You may ask, “How can chess history help me?”

Well, did you know that people who study chess history are visited by little gray aliens far more than those who don’t? Strange but true.

That leaves us wondering, “Was chess brought to Earth by aliens, a gift to a primitive race that has the power to take human beings to a whole new level of evolution? Is chess history, which will show us our true origins, the only way humans can be saved from their violent proclivities?”

I hope you understand that learning as much chess history as possible might be the only way to save planet Earth. Though this series offers a bit of chess history, if you want real chess history (and the friendship of aliens), you MUST read all of Batgirl’s articles. Simply put, ignoring Batgirl’s articles might well lead to an alien invasion.

Finally, after you try to solve a puzzle, don’t forget to look at the notes!


Puzzle 1:

Can you handle the attack as well as Evans did?

Puzzle 2:

A word about Mr. NN. You’ve seen him play in the 1600s and also in the 1800s, so what in the world is going on? How is that possible? The incredible truth is that NN is an immortal who just happens to love chess (No, he doesn’t carry a sword so he can cut off the heads of other immortals. That’s just fantasy. We’re talking reality here!). Sadly, he’s awful and, as far as I can ascertain, he’s lost 99 percent of the games he’s played. He still plays today, of course. In fact, I’ve had him as a houseguest on several occasions (along with my alien buddies).

Poor Mr. NN loses again!

Puzzle 3:

Black has three pawns for a knight, which doesn’t sound so bad. However, his king is a bit short of defenders and White’s pieces are glaring in that direction.

Something classic, something new

Puzzle 4:

In this game the great De La Bourdonnais plays the man that created the fast-food chain known as Arby’s.


Who said tripled pawns are bad?

Puzzle 5:

During this time period McDonnell and De La Bourdonnais were wiping out everyone else. Just like Ali and Frazier had to lock horns, just like Hearns and Hagler had to face off, it became clear to every chess fan on Earth that McDonnell and De La Bourdonnais had to collide so every man, woman and child could finally know who the best player in the world was.

Since we’ll be seeing a lot more of McDonnell and De La Bourdonnais, I felt it would be nice to see a game that didn’t have either of these guys in it.

De La Bourdonnais via Wikipedia

Black managed to smack White with a classic bishop sacrifice. But is it enough to win?

Puzzle 6:

The big dream match finally turned into reality. It featured six individual matches that, when all was said and done, featured no fewer than 85 games in all. There would have been more, but the sixth match wasn’t finished due to the death of McDonnell. De La Bourdonnais died five years later, completely penniless.

The contest was one-sided –- while McDonnell (an Irishman) was a great attacking player, he was a one-trick pony. De La Bourdonnais (a Frenchman) on the other hand, was also a great attacker, but excelled in every other phase of the game. The final score: 45 to 27 with 13 draws. After dominating this match, De La Bourdonnais was universally viewed as the world chess champion. 

White to move and mate in 6!

Puzzle 7:

How should White handle his attack?

Puzzle 8:

Attack the great attacker!

Puzzle 9:
Pawn Power
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