History, Brilliant Chess Tactics And You!
Can you solve these chess puzzles?

History, Brilliant Chess Tactics And You!

| 52 | Tactics

Well, I’m back with six chess puzzles, with each game being given a brilliancy prize.

However, a little secret: I like the little bios as much as the puzzles! Anyway have fun, and if you fail to solve a puzzle, just click the “?” and you’ll see all the right moves and notes.

chess puzzle


Peter Romanovsky: Born 1892 (St. Petersburg), died 1964 (Moscow).

He was awarded the international master title in 1950. Romanovsky played in the Mannheim 1914 tournament, but war was declared and he (along with players like Alekhine and Bogoljubow) was interned. After being freed in 1915, he went back to Russia and helped raise money for Russian chess players who were still in interned.

He was a very strong player, as can be seen with his second place in the Moscow 1920 chess championship (Alekhine came in first). Unfortunately, World War Two (1939) brought new horrors to Romanovsky, and in 1941 the Nazis created a blockade against Leningrad (known as the Siege of Leningrad). Sadly, in 1941-42, Romanovsky and his family, desperately huddling for warmth, were trapped in their home. By the time a rescue party found them, Romanovsky was unconscious and his family had frozen to death.

Yakov Vilner: Born 1899 (Odessa Ukraine), died 1931 (St. Petersburg), he was the Ukrainian chess champion three times. He was quite strong, drawing a game with Botvinnik in 1930, beating Botvinnik in 1925, beating Bogoljubov in 1925, and beating Dus Chotimirsky in 1924.

Wikipedia: “In June 1919, Alexander Alekhine was arrested by the Cheka and imprisoned in Odessa. He was charged with anti-Soviet activity and passing on secret information. He was ordered to be shot, but saved by Yakov Vilner, who sent a telegram to the chairman of the Ukrainian Council of People’s Commissars. The chairman knew of Alekhine and ordered him freed.”


Geza Maroczy: Born in 1870 (Szeged, Hungary), died 1951 (Budapest). He 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.

Max Euwe: Born in 1901 (Amsterdam), and died in 1981 (Amsterdam). Euwe took the world championship from Alekhine in 1935, and lost it to Alekhine in 1937 in their rematch. Euwe wasn’t a full-time chess player since he was a professor of mathematics (doctorate in 1926) at the universities of Rotterdam and Tilburg. He was FIDE president from 1970 to 1978.


Efim Bogoljubov: Born in 1889 (Ukraine), died in 1952 (Triberg, Germany). He 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.”

In his prime he 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.

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.

Richard Reti: Born 1889 (Slovakia), died 1929 in Prague. Reti lived for chess, created endgame studies, was a master of blindfold chess (with a record of 29 simultaneous blindfold games), wrote chess books, and (of course) played in very strong tournaments. Like Nimzowitsch, he embraced hypermodernism and changed the way chess was played. He was one of the best players in the world in 1929, but suddenly died from scarlet fever.


Boris Verlinsky: Born in 1888 (Ukraine), died in 1950 (Moscow).

When Verlinsky was young he got meningitis, leaving him deaf for life. However, that didn’t stop him and he became one of the best Soviet players in the 20s and was still strong in the 30s. His strength can be seen due to the players he beat: Alekhine, Capablanca, Bogolyubov, Levenfish, Rubinstein, Spielmann, Bronstein, Saemisch, Spielmann, etc.

Grigory Levenfish: Born in 1889 (Poland), died in 1961 (Moscow). Like Verlinsky, Grigory Levenfish was at his best in the 20s and 30s. However, though Verlinsky was good, Levenfish was very good. Levenfish won the Soviet championship twice (1934 and 1937). He also drew a 13-game match against Botvinnik in 1937 (6.5 - 6.5).


Max Euwe: (See bio above.)

Abraham Speijer: Born 1873 (Amsterdam), he died in 1956 (Amsterdam). Abraham Speijer was a Dutch master who wasn’t a world killer but did have some high moments: He beat Euwe in two games (of course, Euwe wiped him out most of the time), and beat Mieses twice, Znosko Borovsky, Tarrasch, Yates, Breyer, Duras, Leonhardt, and others.

JS: Here is a sad little tale about my youth (no tears, please!): When I was 14 or 15 years old I was told by some of my San Diego chess “friends” that they had just come back from Mexico. It turned out that they heard that Euwe was giving a simultaneous exhibition over the border and off they went…without me! After the simultaneous exhibition they came to my house, showed me their scoresheets (they all lost), and left. So much for “friends.” Ahhhh… I still dream of playing Euwe in that simul!


Dawid Janowski: Born in 1868 (Poland), he died in 1927 (France). He was one crazy dude! He hated the endgame but was a monster if he got an attacking position. He also coveted the bishop pair, and chess fans would call the bishop pair the “two Jans” in his honor. Janowski was very emotional and sometime said things that he shouldn’t have.

Chess was pretty much his life, with the addition of gambling. Sadly, much of his money vanished on the roulette wheel. Like so many people in those days, he died from tuberculosis. Nevertheless, he lived a grand life, battling (and beating!) Tarrasch, Steinitz, Chigorin, Marshall, Rubinstein, Emanuel Lasker, Capablanca, and just about everyone else.

Friedrich (also known as Fritz) Samisch: Born 1896 (Germany), died in 1975 (Germany). 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 in 1969 at the age of 73. He played quite well, but lost all his games in time pressure!

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