Tests: Psychology, Tactics, And Strategy

Tests: Psychology, Tactics, And Strategy

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Some of my recent articles were about chess psychology and striving to have a balanced skillset.

This article (all in puzzle form) lets you test what you’ve learned (or what you thought you already knew).

The puzzles can be tactical, positional, or a mix of both. There’s a good deal of instructive prose in the notes to all the puzzles, so please check them out after you try and solve them.


Puzzle 1


Puzzle 2

Find the key strengths and weaknesses of Black’s pawn structure and then come up with a plan for White (the board will tell you if White’s proper plan is brutal or subtle).


Puzzle 3

In the following game, White has just played 7.h3, preventing moves like 7...Bg4 and 7...Ng4. How would you handle Black’s position?


Puzzle 4


Puzzle 5


The g7-pawn is threatened (with check!). What is the best way for Black to deal with this?


Puzzle 6


Puzzle 7

White’s bishop is imprisoned by Black’s pawns. What should White do?


Puzzle 8


Many people think (or insist that) chess is 99 percent tactics, or that tactics are the end all and be all of what chess is about. This is simply wrong (based on innocent, well-meaning ignorance, and the constant sharing of misinformation). I hope you looked at this last (positional) example and thought, “I would love to push someone off the board like that!”

Tactics are very nice, and at times they are amazing. But the same can be said about a wonderful positional concept or plan. Tactics and strategy are two parts of a greater whole: you can’t play well without understanding and respecting both.

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