Tactical Super-Test # 2!
Jan 29, 2012, 12:00 AM
It's been two month since we did our first tactical Super-Test, so now it is time to check your chess skills again and compare them to the best players in chess history! Let me remind you that unlike typical tactical tests, here in most of the puzzles you won't be able to find a clear-cut solution (meaning no check, check, checkmate!). Just like in your tournament games, most of your moves don't lead to a forced checkmate or a win of material and yet you are trying to find the best move in the position. Here is the same situation, except the positions are going to be extremely complicated so you need to base your decision on precise calculation and in some cases on your intuition! I explained the concept of our Tactical Super-Tests in the first installment here : http://www.chess.com/article/view/classical-games-everybody-should-know-tactical-super-test
The game we are going to use today is another famous win by Lasker. This game was played in the famous tournament in St-Petersburg in 1895 and Lasker considered it the best game he ever played! Even though the game was played by two World class players and was annotated by Kasparov, all three Grandmasters made some mistakes (the players in the actual game and Kasparov in his annotations), so you will have a chance to play better then all three of them! But I have to warn you, this is a very difficult task, so please don't be discouraged if you are unable to solve even one single puzzle.
Now, without further ado, let's start our Super-Test!
We stopped in the middle of Lasker's combination on purpose. Chess is not only about an attack. If you want to be a strong chess player, you need to learn how to defend as well. Imagine what poor Pillsbury might have felt during the game when Lasker delivered the initial blows of his brilliant combo. He was unable to find the best defense and went down in flames. Try to find the best defense in this extremely difficult situation for White.
Did you find this defense? Then you did better than Kasparov, who suggested a different way for White to save the game. Unfortunately, he underestimated the strength of Black's attack as was pointed out by a Russian Expert Sergey Sorokhtin. Try to refute Kasparov's defense:
You didn't seriously think that Garry Kasparov could possibly miss a simple checkmate in two, did you? If you did, then I managed to trick you
! The real mistake in Kasparov's analysis came later:
So, Pillsbury didn't find the best defense, but then it was Lasker's turn to err!
After Lasker's mistake Pillsbury had a chance to escape with a draw, but he failed to find it. If you had this position against the great Lasker, would you be able to save the game?
After this final Pillsbury mistake, Lasker finished the game in style and never gave his opponent a chance!
I hope you enjoyed our second Super-Test and did better than in the previous one. If you were not able to solve any of these puzzles, don't be upset; Lasker, Pillsbury and Kasparov didn't pass this test with a perfect score either! Just learn from your mistakes and wait for our next Super-Test to show your improvement!