Tactics Or Positional Play? The Ladies Return!

Tactics Or Positional Play? The Ladies Return!‎

IM Silman
20 | Strategy

I’ve long insisted that the best way to improve (aside from playing stronger players) is to look at reams of master games. Most games between titled players have some important lesson hiding behind the moves, and I decided to make it easy for you by offering up a series of puzzles that can be either positional or tactical, quiet or dynamic (just like in real life!).

Many solutions are quite hard, but don’t let that worry you! I have annotated all the games and pointed out the key instructive moments. So, give it your best shot, then look over the notes and see what you did or didn’t understand. Please keep in mind that the notes are the key components of this article, so DO look them over!

In our first article on “tactical or positional,” I mined a women’s event that took place in 2013 (all the games were from this one event). In this second article, I’m still highlighting the ladies, and once again have taken all the games from this one event. 

Puzzle 1:

White is better, but can you figure out why?

Puzzle 2:

Black has to make an important decision. Here are three choices; pick the one you deem best: 8...dxc4, 8...Bg7, 8...e6.

Puzzle 3:

Paehtz via Wikipedia

This crazy line is actually theory, though it’s only occurred in a few games! White’s a pawn up but Black has a lead in development. But there’s more to this position than that.

Puzzle 4:

White has a minor piece and a pawn for a rook, but her king is in the center, Black’s knights are very nice, and all of Black’s pieces are aimed at the kingside.

Puzzle 5:

You have to use what you have. So, what does Black have and how should she make use of it?

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