Improve Your Chess With These Puzzles
GM Serper likes a certain type of chess puzzles.

Improve Your Chess With These Puzzles

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When I was a kid, I didn't watch much TV. You see, 40 years ago we had only two state-controlled TV channels in the Soviet Union, so most of the kids spent their time outdoors rather than watching boring news. Nevertheless, there was one weekly program that I never missed. Of course it was The Chess School hosted by famous Soviet chess luminaries.

This program was so popular that even lyrics of one of the pop songs of that time stated that GM Averbakh opened chess school on TV. 

chess tv

At the end of each episode, viewers were given a bunch of puzzles to solve. You could send your solutions on a postcard and after correctly solving a certain number of puzzles you would get a chess category. That is how I got my third category (equal to about USCF 1400).

Back then, I couldn't understand how solving puzzles could help a chess player in a practical game. If you have an extra queen, then who cares if you checkmate your opponent in two moves or in 22 moves?

Only much later did I realize that simple puzzles like "checkmate in two moves" teach a chess player how to create a basic plan and coordinate pieces. Since then, I fell in love with "mate-in-two" problems with a limited amount of material. Sometimes I can even enjoy a "checkmate in three" puzzle, provided that it doesn't have too many pieces.

However, if a position looks like somebody just dropped a bunch of pieces on the board, I don't enjoy it that much. Take for example the following classical problem by Samuel Loyd. Try to solve it, but I warn you that it is a very hard nut to crack!

chess nuts

It looks like everything a chess player can dream about is there: my favorite chess composer (Sam Loyd), a brilliant concept, beautiful checkmates...and yet, I cannot fully enjoy it since it has almost nothing to do with practical chess. In fact it is even further from regular chess than Chess960, and I already described my attitude towards Fischer Random chess

Now let me show you my ideal "checkmate in two" puzzle:

A famous Russian writer A. Chekhov said: "brevity is the sister of talent." I think we can apply this saying to chess too. It takes a real talent to show a brilliant idea with the minimum pieces. Morphy's problem is as good as it gets.

Today I want to offer you a bunch of similar puzzles to solve. They are not very difficult, but our less experienced members can learn something about planning and piece coordination in chess.

I hope you enjoyed today's puzzles and found another useful tool to improve your chess.

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