Puzzles #15 - Over 100 Puzzles! - World Blitz Championship 2014 Dubai - Round 1

Aug 11, 2014, 8:12 AM |

Over 100 puzzles in this blog!

Please read the variations in the notes!

For those of you who did the first 10 puzzles: I decided to merge that blog post with this one. 

The puzzles are taken from: World Blitz Championship 2014 Round 1

(Press the solution button after you're done solving the puzzle)

(Note that some puzzles have more than one correct solution. Read the notes!)

(You can find the PGNs for the games on dubai2014wrb.com) 

Time and time again, I find that I have no specific words to describe the splendid beauty that the chessboard provides me with. Truly, the 2014 World Blitz Championship, held in Dubai, was one of the most exciting events of the year!

Again, I really can't begin to describe what a delightful experience it was - both for the players, I am sure, and for us chess fans. I encourage the reader to look at the channels of ChessNetwork, Chessexplained, Kingscrusher, and thechesswebsite for coverage of this brilliant event. Also, watch the live commentary on the official website to get a feel of how this exciting tournament was unfolding round by round.

Anyway, I'll divide the tournament coverage into two parts - in the first part, I'll pick out tactical shots from every round and I'll present them in the form of puzzles (just like this blog post); note that since this is blitz, there are countless tactics you could extract out of these games!

In the second part, I'm not going to do a total game analysis since that would be slightly foolish (knowing that some players are playing over 50 moves purely on increment...it is true that these guys are top level players and their intuition will most of the time be spot on, so you can indeed extract some value from these games, but a complete game anaylsis would mean criticizing moves that are played without much thought).

Instead, I'll analyze a specific opening, give insight on some "blitz openings," blitz opening setups, some endgames, etc. Basically, I'll use the games to extract certain interesting positions and then I'll analyze those positions. Of course, I will note improvements the players could have gone for, but it makes zero sense to criticize their play when they're playing with such limited time. 

OK, so now that we've got the ball rolling, let's feast on some tasty combinations!


Puzzle 1

Nakamura found a good move, but not the best. Can you see what Nakamura did not? (Why not also test your intuition: first find the best move in 10 seconds, then analyze it a bit more and see if there's anything better. Check if your intuition is better than Naka's!)



Puzzle 2

Of course, Nakamura is a blitz monster, and he found a pretty convincing continuation. What is it?
Puzzle 3:

Had Ipatov not resigned, Karjakin would have loved to show the following combination
Puzzle 4

What did Aronian miss? 

Puzzle 5
Can Black survive this position? Play the best defense, then calculate what happens if White doesn't play accurately
Puzzle 6
Can White survive this position?
Puzzle 7
Are intermediate moves always necessary?

Puzzle 8

Anand eventually lost this game, but perhaps White could have won more quickly?


Puzzle 9
Destroy Black
Puzzle 10
Loose pieces drop off..
Puzzle 11

A common tactical motif: block the escape square. 


Puzzle 12

One move!

Puzzle 13

Instead of 16. ...Bf8, Vallejo Pons played the correct 16. ...Be8. Can you find a way to refutre 16. ...Bf8?


Puzzle 14 

To accept or not to accept?


Puzzle 15
Just how strong is a tempo, really?
Puzzle 16

Can you push Black's rook off the board?

Puzzle 17
Is Ra7 a safe move? Play it and find out! (Calculate what happens after Ra7)
Puzzle 18

Now let's take a look at the juicy part! How does White survive the complications after Qxb2?
Puzzle 19
Try to get this one in less than ten seconds. NM Dan Heisman recommends that you build up your tactical knowledge by familiarizing yourself with very basic tactics. Once you are familiar with these tactics, you should be able to spot them in less than 10 seconds - only after mastering the basics can you move on to much more complicated tactics (which are basically an agglomerate of simple tactics).
Puzzle 20

Survive the complications arising after 11. ...g5 (take a moment and calculate the whole line through). 
Puzzle 21

Can you find the best move for White?
Puzzle 22

In the game, you can clearly see that after White let Black's queen enter on c3, he found himself in loads of trouble. However, in the present position, White can make use of a tactical "trick" to save himself and retain some sort of advantage. Can you find it?
Puzzle 23
A common idea when faced with this type of minority attack:
Puzzle 24
Here, White slowly drummed up an attack. Black soon collapsed on move 21; how did White punish Black's blunder 21. ...Nb6?
Puzzle 25
Two strong moves finish White off; which is the stronger of the two?
Puzzle 26
White decides to get mated instead of trying to hold on. How does Black ease White's suffering?
Puzzle 27
A draw is the fair result here. What should Black do after White's Kg5?
Puzzle 28
This game was an up and down fiasco, with advantages swinging left and right (both Black and White had several winning advantages during the course of the game!). Can you find a way for White to consolidate?
Puzzle 29
Only one move will lead to a tactic that nets White a pawn and an attacking position.
Puzzle 30
As usual, Morozevich puts on a stunning tactical display. Find the best move in the position. 
Puzzle 31
Even the great Morozevich can miss tactics in blitz. Of course, White's position is easily winning, but Morozevich could have forced resignation much sooner - find the move that Morozevich missed!
Puzzle 32
Finish him!
Puzzle 33
How does Black get some counterplay?
Puzzle 34
Is Qxa4 a safe move?
Puzzle 35
Is Nxe5 a safe move? Play it and find out!
Puzzle 36
Punish Black.
Puzzle 37
Many moves win, but only one is the best and also the most aesthetically pleasing.
Puzzle 38
Can you find the best move in this position?
Puzzle 39
Black's defenses are falling apart - how do you prove that?
Puzzle 40
Note: White has two very good moves here (and lots of good moves!); the puzzle solution is the one that the engine favors, but don't feel discouraged if you only found the move David himself played!
Puzzle 41
In the game, White missed an opportunity to punish Black.
Puzzle 42
Play like Tomashevsky. 
Puzzle 43
What are Black's threats, and how do you meet them?
Puzzle 44
How do you win this position?
Puzzle 45
And now, what's the quickest way to win?
Puzzle 46
Punish Black for his transgressions!
Puzzle 47
The tale of a wandering rook.
Puzzle 48
Save White's position.
Puzzle 49
White had a very good position, but he overpressed. Can you find a way for White to maintain a decent position?
Puzzle 50
Is e5 a good move here? You might be surprised by the answer...
Puzzle 51
Can you play like Talinet (I'll leave it to you to figure out who that is)?
Puzzle 52
How can White activate his position further?
Puzzle 53
How did White complicate the position immensely (White has many moves in the given position, but only one is truly the "blitz move")?
Puzzle 54
34. ...Qh8 was Black's best defense (which maintains his advantage). How can White take advantage of second rate defenses?
Puzzle 55
To defend successfully, Black simply needed to stay put. Can you prove White's point?
Puzzle 56
Play precisely and win.
Puzzle 57
Can you get Black out of trouble?
Puzzle 58
What is White's threat? Did Black's last move meet that threat?
Puzzle 59
Is Qxh3 a good move? Is White in any trouble?
Puzzle 60
What are White's threats in this position? Does g6 address those threats?
Puzzle 61
Can you find any weakness in Black's position? How do you best exploit that weakness? 
Puzzle 62
Even super GMs like the mighty Caruana sometimes fall victim to time pressure! Can you find what Caruana missed?
Puzzle 63
Can you find a way for White to break through?
Puzzle 64
How can Black put up the best resistance (two moves)?
Puzzle 65
Find the strongest move.
Puzzle 66
How does Black defend?
Puzzle 67
Should Black take with the Rook or pawn? What happens if Black takes with the pawn?
Puzzle 68
Make use of a well known tactical motif (especially prominent in the Pirc defense).
Puzzle 69
Do you think White made the right choice?
Puzzle 70
What can White do in this position?
Puzzle 71
Can you find a way for White to take advantage of Black's awkward position (not necessarily a tactical shot)?
Puzzle 72
How does Black capture the b2 pawn without too many problems? What can White do to at least get some compensation for the pawn?
Puzzle 73
Put an end to White's suffering (two moves)
Puzzle 74
Could a natural move like Nd5 turn out to be a mistake?
Puzzle 75
Black's bishop is tired, so it decides to retreat only one square backward. How can White make use of this physically unfit bishop?
Puzzle 76
How does Black liquidate and prove that White isn't just a pawn up?
Puzzle 77
What happens if White plays 25. Qb4 instead of 25. Qa4?
Puzzle 78
Compare different lines: what happened in Puzzle 74 after Nxc5, and what will happen now if Black plays f5?
Puzzle 79
Is the knight on e5 optimally placed?
Puzzle 80
What is Black's best move?
Puzzle 81
Time for Black to make use of his plusses!
Puzzle 82
Victory is within your grasps...
Puzzle 83
How can White avoid a bad position?
Puzzle 84
Must the knight move?
Puzzle 85
Now it's time for White to make use of a tactical idea Black was relying on
Puzzle 86
Calculate well!
Puzzle 87
Endgame fun (two moves win)
Puzzle 88
Do you have to acquiesce to a draw?
Puzzle 89
What do you do in Sicilians?
Puzzle 90
Another break
Puzzle 91
Yet another common tactical motif - can you find it?
Puzzle 92
Hint: look for the prettiest continuation (wait, isn't beauty in the eye of the beholder?)
Puzzle 93
Is e6 a good move? Calculate it, then play it in the puzzle and find out!
Puzzle 94
Increase the pressure. 
Puzzle 95
How can Black draw?
Puzzle 96
Okay, so let's try something different: I'm going to give you a direct hint to the puzzle. Trap Black's queen.
Puzzle 97
Weak squares...
Puzzle 98
Is Qxb2 a good move?
Puzzle 99
Awkward pieces lead to good tactics!
Puzzle 100
Is Rxb3 a good move?
Puzzle 101
Rg8 was played. Make use of a handy little tactic.
Puzzle 102
The block is mightier than the sword...
Puzzle 103
More common tactical motifs
Puzzle 104
How does Black save himself?
3 more puzzles in the first comment to this blog post